Since I became engaged at the end of 2017, my household has been in constant wedding planning mode. From creating guest lists - we possibly know way too many people - to seeking out and touring venues to general discussions about budgets, one thing has constantly kept coming up in our talks: just how in the hell do people afford to have weddings?
Admittedly, I’m not excited about spending huge amounts of hard-earned money on anything, so dropping 20 to 30 stacks on a one-day experience is a harder sell than I’d like it to be, though I’m willing to do so for my woman, somehow. In my head, I have to contend with the fact that in this area - Washington, D.C. - that’s just what weddings are hittin’ fo’. Even with my good job that pays well in a city full of way more money than the vast majority of America, I’m still baffled that people are regularly dropping $30k-$50k for ceremonies and reception. I mean how does anybody afford a Canada Goose parka AND a wedding?
For instance, we went to check out a venue recently that I really like, especially for nostalgic purposes, and this spot COMES with a $20k minimum. Now, considering that their costs figure at roughly $175/person, it’s not hard to hit that minimum. Once you add in service charges, any small extras, you get to $20k+ REAL easy. Our wedding looks to have roughly 200 people - between my family, her family, and all of our friends, we could get much, much higher - which means that most venues alone we’ve looked at are going to hit us for over $30k. In this area $175/person isn’t even high. That might be average for a lot of the places we saw. At this point, I’m ready to call Olive Garden and order everybody unlimited salad and bread sticks. Because I’m a generous chap, I’d even spring for unlimited raspberry lemonades. grey prom
Not to mention that you have to pay for a good wedding photographer, which is totally worth it. Your pictures are going to be the lasting memory so it makes sense to spend dough here. But let’s say that’s going to run you around $5k. Once you add in florals, a wedding dress, decor, a DJ, and other miscellaneous things that my fiancée, who is a wedding planner, knows of, and NOT counting the venue, you get over $10k, quick, fast, and in a hurry. When you add in venue and reception, if you see me stripping don’t say nothing. But, if you Gemini Peters on the program, that’s me, please tip generously. I start lifting weights tomorrow.
Which, again, begs the question, how do people afford this? Is everybody going into debt? Do folks parents really have that much money in savings to drop on a wedding? Are there wedding GoFundMe’s running amuck on the internet? Are more people eloping or doing the reception at Popeye’s than I realize?