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Weddings … are they worth it?

By Steven Bailey 8 December 2015 45

Steven and partner

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?

Bride and Groom

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!

What’s Your opinion?

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45 Responses to
Weddings … are they worth it?
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HenryBG 9:18 pm 17 Dec 15

I have been to many weddings. Some of the worst ones – by far – are the sit-down ones.
(One exception was a sit-down wedding I went to at a lodge at Thredbo – that one was really very good – live music by proper musicians, excellent food, and a very good wine list. Rumours reached my ears that some of the best hanky-panky ever occurred during this wedding, too.).

Mostly, the best ones – by far – are the cocktail-party ones.

Mostly, those ones involved hiring a good venue – a big guesthouse or a winery or somesuch, and then providing info well ahead of time to your guests enabling them to book local accommodation.

If you can only afford a cheap wedding, then the worst thing you can do is cram a bunch of people into a crap venue and feed them a crap menu.

I’ve been to very cheap weddings in people’s backyards that were *way* better than most weddings at (cheap) formal venues.

If you can only afford one thing, then invite everybody to your backyard, run a barbie, tell your guests to BYO and front up for the cost of some live music – the band will be very eager to please, the guests will appreciate drinking something they chose themselves, they will always remember the live music, and they will relax and actually have fun.

They won’t judge you if they have fun.

chewy14 7:36 pm 13 Dec 15

justin heywood said :

chewy14 said :

As I said, you think you know what they want and need better than they know themselves. It’s not really meant to be about you.

I’m pretty sure if they’re asking to have a wishing well, what your friends and family would really like is………money.

Well I’m pretty sure that a wedding is one day that isn’t (or shouldn’t) be about….money.

Fully agree with you, which is why the vast majority of people who have a wishing well aren’t judging or ranking their friends on how much money they gave. I’ve honestly never been to a wedding where the couple would do anything like that.

But maybe what they really want as the best gift is some help affording a romantic trip for their honeymoon or affording the fun wedding reception that they’ve always dreamed of?

Then they can look back nostalgically at the best gift that all their friends and family helped give them……..exactly what they wanted.

justin heywood 12:59 pm 12 Dec 15

chewy14 said :

As I said, you think you know what they want and need better than they know themselves. It’s not really meant to be about you.

I’m pretty sure if they’re asking to have a wishing well, what your friends and family would really like is………money.

Well I’m pretty sure that a wedding is one day that isn’t (or shouldn’t) be about….money.

We still remember and joke about some of the spectacularly awful gifts we received, as well as the touchingly thoughtful ones.
Some gave us money, but I couldn’t recall who gave us money or what we did with that money. It never made us smile or cringe anyway.

london 12:05 pm 12 Dec 15

Go for the big one and then start whinging you can’t get on the property ladder.

Or maybe you are one of the couples who have been engaged for years and have children to attend your wedding party.

Could also be already settled into a home so ask for wishing well money to pay for honeymoon.
Strange customs these days

pink little birdie 10:04 am 12 Dec 15

We had a wishing well/flight centre account to pay for the honeymoon. Everyone was pretty generous but those who were really close to us gave us physical presents instead of that. Fancy linen, champagne, wedding plush, camera (accidentally dropped in ocean on honeymoon)

What the couple really wants is for people to spend the day with them. We had a couple of friends who said they couldn’t afford a gift and it doesn’t matter. Id much rather have you at the wedding- thats why we invited you than a gift. Your gift is you at our wedding and you having a great time

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