Wedding Money Breakdown
Written by Alli
In May of this year (2017), we got married. It was simultaneously the best time of my life as well as the most vulnerable and scariest time of my life. I felt pressure from friends, Pinterest, and myself to create the “perfect” wedding event. Meanwhile, I didn’t know what I was doing. I was never the girl who dreamed of purple peonies and a poofy dress on her big day.
We received about $24,000 from family members for the day. According to TheKnot.com, The National Average Cost of a Wedding is $35,329 in 2016.
We wanted to be able to have an awesome time on a limited budget, so we opted for hosting the wedding on my dad’s four acre property in Oklahoma. We invited everyone to a welcome BBQ dinner on Friday complete with a photobooth. Because of rain (and a minor tornado scare...eek!), this event had to be tented (an extra $3000, ugh.) On Saturday, the weather and the wedding was absolutely beautiful. We had a homemade floral arch for the ceremony, a cocktail hour full of unique margaritas and a jazz band, a photobooth, a DJ, and (my favorite) a donut truck. We flew our photographer out from California (because I am annoyingly bougie about photographers) and rented farm tables and benches. Excluding the price of the ring and dress, we spent about $28,000 for both events.
This felt like a lot of money to both of us (Matt would’ve been happy just walking down to the courthouse), but I didn’t want to miss out on the wedding day experience. Am I happy we did it? Absolutely. Had we not received money from family, would I have just walked on down to the courthouse? Absolutely. The wedding day was magical and full of love and joy, but having a Pinterest perfect wedding doesn’t equate to a happy, successful marriage and life with your partner. In fact, two economics professors at Emory University used data from more than 3000 married couples in the United States and found, according to the WSJ, “After analyzing their data, the authors found that women whose weddings had cost more than $20,000 (in 2014 dollars) ended up getting divorced 60% more often than those whose weddings were cheaper. And men who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on their engagement ring got divorced 30% more often than those who spent between $500 and $2,000.” The research was published under the title, “‘A Diamond is Forever’ and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship Between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration.”
Based on their findings, the study also suggests:
- DATE FOR THREE YEARS BEFORE DECIDING TO GET MARRIED
- DON’T SKIP THE HONEYMOON (THIS WILL DECREASE YOUR CHANCE OF DIVORCE BY 41%).
- HAVE A LARGE WEDDING, BUT KEEP IT UNDER $10K.
I knew the wedding budget was important, but I didn’t realize it had a correlation to marriage duration! We definitely went outside the recommended $20K, but we dated 2.5 years (close!) and we didn’t skip the honeymoon (In fact, we travel hacked our honeymoon to 4 days of diving at an all-inclusive in Cozumel , 3 nights in Playa del Carmen, including flights (and a bribe to the Mexican federales)- $1500.)
Overall, I’m glad we spent what we did, but I hated the pressure to create the best day ever. I kept reminding myself, “it’s just one day!” And in all honestly, I hope our wedding day wasn’t the best day of our lives. I hope it’s not only downhill from here. I hope there are many more days (like childbirths, writing my first book, founding a successful business venture, celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary) that bring us just as much joy and love as our wedding day did.