Is a wedding worth the cost?

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?

My dress, headpiece and veil were made by a friend and my Auntie made all the bridesmaids' dresses.
The dress, headpiece and veil were made by a friend and my Auntie made all the bridesmaids’ dresses.

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.

1993 wedding flowers 2
Flowers for the ceremony and the reception were grown and arranged by our mothers and their friends.

1993 wedding flowers

 

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.

1993 wedding 5
Our photographer set up the most ridiculous poses. Especially this one. But now we love this photo.

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!

We used cars from the local Motor Museum to get to the ceremony, then  The Poolboy and  I went around the block in this one after the ceremony.
We used cars from the local Motor Museum to get to the ceremony, then The Poolboy and I just went around the block in this one after the ceremony.
Because...in fact...we had photos taken after the ceremony at the same place. Afterwards, we just walked across the main street of town to the hotel for the reception.
Because…in fact…we had post-ceremony photos taken at the same place. Afterwards, we just walked across the main street of town to the hotel for the reception.

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.

The cake was made by my mum and iced by the town's cake decorating legend.
The cake was made by my mum and iced by the town’s cake decorating legend.

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.

 

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