From an early age, I considered weddings an archaic institution that would probably evaporate as secular societies would dust themselves from pervasive social conservatisms of yesteryear; perhaps only with the exception of royalty, the rich and famous, and the fundamentally religious … how wrong I was.
At the age of 22 my opinions began to change when, due to a shock proposal, two of my friends decided to marry after knowing one another for only six weeks. My friendship group, especially my female friends, were swept up in the theatre of romance, the traditional regalia and, of course, the rip-roaring flow of free booze and schmooze.
But there was an aftermath … a serious aftermath indeed. Many of us woke up in strange, weird, and wonderful places with a heavy head of beautiful half memories.
It was at this point I knew that the tradition of marriage would only reassert itself in different permutations within the progressions and passing of time.
But has Generation Y taken the institution of marriage from a conservative celebration to an expensive show of competitive excess replete with all manner of glitz, bling, fetish, glamour, and glut?
According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the average Australian wedding will set you back $36,200. But according to the Bride to Be magazine’s “Cost of Love survey” the average Australian wedding comes to a blow of $65,482. I’m guessing that the average cost would be about $50,000.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that the average price of a home in 2015 is now over $600,000, attracting a deposit and other upfront costs of close to $80,000.
Obviously, first home buyers purchase property less than the average house price, attracting an estimated upfront cost of $50,000 … the same as a wedding!
Never one to shy away from an audience, and being a musician, I often find myself playing a significant role at the weddings of my friends, which I always consider a great honour.
But the cost of some weddings is another kettle of fish.
When all is added up, sometimes the buck’s and hen’s weekends alone exceed the thousand-dollar mark … each!
Last night, my partner and I sat down and calculated that we attend about six weddings a year.
But destination weddings, photo booths, lolly buffets, choreographed dances, personalised websites, champagne fountains, celebrity chef-designed menus, fairy floss carts, tailor-made gifts and goodie bags, drone photography, matching attire, and most unpleasant phenomenon of all: the evolution of the bridezilla. I simply don’t understand it.
Never one for convention, and only occasional excess, I honestly didn’t expect to have a wedding of my own, but last year when the love of my life unexpectedly looked up to me kneeled on one knee and asked me to marry her, of course, I made an exception.
I’m blessed to have many friends from many different walks of life so, at first count, I wanted to invite 360 people. We wouldn’t be able to afford a wedding for that many people in a fit, and the culling process will most certainly be quite painful.
Falling in love was the easy part but planning and paying for a wedding … holy crap!