The Poolboy and I were married 21 years ago today*. Recently, I found out that the average cost of an Australian wedding in 2014 is more than $36,200. I can’t remember what the total budget was for our wedding back in 1993, but I do know that, despite us keeping a lot of things simple and not being extravagant, it still seemed a lot of money at the time, and our parents paid for the bulk of it (thanks Mum and Dad and Poolboy family!). With the benefit of 21 years hindsight though, is a wedding worth the cost?
I wonder whether now, if $36,200 was put in front of me and I was given the option, would I choose to spend it on travel instead?
Queenie recently did some work experience at a bridal couture salon. Dresses… sorry, gowns… in that establishment started at around $6,000. As she told me about them, dollar signs were ticking over in my brain and I kept thinking about how far you could go on $6,000. Definitely two return economy tickets to Europe or New York. If you shopped around, you could even do around-the-world fares.
The average $36,200 wedding includes almost $2,900 in flowers. If you were prepared to take the chance on an Expedia mystery hotel deal, that could get you 5 nights in a 5-star New York hotel.
The photography budget in the average wedding is $3,983. There’s your spending money for the five days – $796 per day goes a long, long way, even in a city like London or Paris. Live frugally and that spending money could stretch out for a few weeks!
Flash wedding cars can cost upwards of $1,000 for the day. That would get you five whole days of park-hopper Disneyworld tickets (if that floats your boat) and you’d still have a bit of change for snacks.
That’s not to mention the $18,683 spent on the average wedding reception (food, alcohol and venue). That’s more than enough for a young couple to do a month-long package tour of Europe.
But could I really give up the opportunity to create memories of that single day where all the important people in your life (at that point in time) come together to celebrate the milestone of your marriage?
I don’t think so.
(But I would certainly be looking for all the ways to trim down the costs…)
Tell me what you think? Is a wedding worth the cost? Or would you prefer to spend the cash on travel?
* Yes, that’s right, we were married on September 11…but eight years before that other September 11. Back in the 1990s, it was significant to us only because it was our wedding anniversary.