The Wedding Industry

If you follow me on Twitter you will already have received and read a barrage of tweets ranting about the pitfalls in the wedding industry, particularly if you’re a woman proposing to a man. But seeing as I wrote those tweets during a period of little to no sleep, I thought I’d detail them here with a little less frustration…

Last year the average wedding was estimated at costing approximately £30,111. Please raise your hand if you are in love. Keep your hand in the air if you are considering or have considered proposing. Please continue to keep your hand in the air if you have that amount of money in your bank account.

I, for one, don’t. And I don’t believe for a second that I’m in the minority.

I am, however, in love, and I have indeed proposed. Go me! But £30,111? You’ve got to be kidding me.

When I told everyone at work that my fiancé and I had set our budget to £5000 I received raised eyebrows and smirks. “A cheap wedding is possible,” they said, “but you’ll need at least £10,000.”

Again, I ask you, how many of you in love, having considered or already proposed, have that amount of money in your bank?

I, for one, don’t.

But more poignantly, if I did have £10,000 in my bank, why on earth would I spend it all on one single day when I’ve just agreed to commit the rest of my life to somebody?! Surely with that kind of long term commitment in mind – and if you’re getting married, it really should be on your mind – then I’m assuming poverty is not where you’re planning on starting married life from.

Don’t get me wrong, marriage is – for a lot of people – a big to-do and definitely something you want to celebrate. But why on earth does it need to cost so much? I’ll tell you for why: it doesn’t.

You can find all the wedding money saving tips on a host of websites so I’m not going to bother detailing them here, but what I am going to say is this, what is important to you? Marrying the person you love more than anything else in the world? Or having a party so huge that you spend months afterwards worrying about impending debt?

The fact that the average wedding is being estimated at £30,111 to me only says one thing, that now more than ever we need to fight the consumerist society that we live in. It is one day compared with the rest of your life.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating your marriage and having the party to end all parties, but we live in a world that discourages us from being realistic about what we actually need and want. So stop. Pause. Look in the mirror. Do you need the flashing disco ball and diamanté rodeo? Do you need canapés and a starter? Do you even need a starter? No one expects there to be a free bar, I promise. Your dress or tuxedo does not need to cost an arm and a leg (mine is going to cost just under £100 AND it is something which I will wear again instead of being resigned to a box under my bed after use, AND, I’m going to look bloody phenomenal). It is absolutely ok to buy things second hand (no one will know anyway). As for your guest list, you don’t need a Magimix, Kenwood are a quarter of the price and are actually rated by Which? as being better quality anyway (been there, listed that). If you want a wedding that costs more than you can afford, why not ask for financial gifts instead of material ones? Memories are priceless whereas all commodities will eventually break.

It isn’t for me to tell anyone how to plan or budget their wedding, and I don’t judge those who do take the extravagant route. I’m sure that to some even £5000 is extravagant. But I do think it’s important that in a society which is forever ramming products down our throats and telling us that we need, need, need them, that we really do stop, listen, and be realistic about what we want in life.

Me? I just want to marry and spend the rest of my life with my fiancé. We are having a party, and it will be grand. But if we don’t, it’ll still be the most spectacular day of my life whether I’m wearing charity shop jeans or my wedding gear to boot.

3 thoughts on “The Wedding Industry

  1. RadioFreeCalifornia

    Weddings are overrated. They only exist because of marketing. Marriage is a contract anyway, a property contract. If you love someone just tell them. Share your life with them. Who needs a state or church to “bless” that love?

    1. Hope Sara Post author

      Hi RadioFreeCalifornia.

      Thanks for your comment!

      I agree that weddings are overrated and I hate the way that they have been hijacked by consumerism. But, I disagree that they only exist as a result of that.
      Marriages, or unions, have been going on far longer than capitalism has. And they do not have to be property contracts, as they aren’t in many case both present and past.
      For instance, my father is not going to be giving me away at my wedding, and my future husband and I are going to be walking down the isle (well we’re not actually having an isle per se, it’ll be more of a marquee!) together because we are walking into this union together as equal partners.

      I completely agree that all that is important when you love someone is that they know that and that you share your lives together. And if my fiancé had not been interested in marriage, I would not have been offended, because I agree, it is the emotion that is important and not the law abiding act.

      But we want to make a public declaration of our love and to share that with all of our friends and family in the form of a marriage. We don’t need to, we want to.

      Do you think that maybe in instances such as these, it is different? Perhaps it is the traditions that are misplaced and not the act itself? Or maybe it is different for each and every individual? Or are your feelings on marriage absolute in every instance?

      Let me know what you think, and thanks again for commenting. I look forward to reading your reply.

      1. RadioFreeCalifornia

        Well if a wedding means something to you than do it. I just take issue with the idea that all weddings are “the next stage” of any relationship. Marriage is a property contract, and so many people put an unreasonable amount of weight on the wedding itself, as any kind of indicator of the future. Good relationships go bad and that’s just life. The more honest we are about everything the better off we are. Have a good walk down the marquee!


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