I’m lucky to be alive.
A couple of days ago I thought, for sure, I was about surrender my mortal coil. I was driving on I-35 and came this close to death. It was totally operator error on my part.
Yet it wasn’t due to distracted driving because I wasn’t looking at my phone or even talking on it. I was listening to the radio when a news report mentioned that the cost of an average wedding is now 40 grand. Forty-flipping-thousand dollars! That statement severely sidetracked my brain so much I almost didn’t notice that traffic was coming to a standstill.
Please everyone try to wrap your brain around that fact that people are spending $40,000 for an average wedding. What qualifies as above average — a reception with an open bar and martini station on Mars?
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When you do the math that figure becomes even more staggering. Let’s say the average wedding lasts six hours (and that’s being generous by two) so this means you’re spending almost $7,000 an hour on your wedding. Now factor in the fact that 40 to 50 percent of all marriages fail and your return on investment on that 40 grand is dismal.
I told myself the radio news report must be flawed with sub-par research and that made me feel better for a hot minute. Then local wedding planners started calling in and sharing that $40,000 was a “sort of OK” to “mediumish budget” and that a “decent” reception venue is upward of $10,000, and that doesn’t include anything extra like food or booze. We’re talking just four walls, tables and chairs.
But wait, it gets worse. It’s not the parents footing the bill for most weddings. It’s the couple. Where are these young people getting that kind of cash and why do they feel the need to fete themselves to the tune of $40 K? (And two words for you: student loans. As in, have you paid off your student loans before you drop a couple of years worth of college tuition on your wedding?)
This AMAM (advanced middle-aged mom) has the answer. OK, not an answer exactly, but I have a theory about why we have this whacked out “average” wedding cost. Social media. (Longtime readers know that social media is my go to for almost any problem. I suggest you don’t question it and just assume I’m correct.)
I believe, no scratch that, I know that weddings have become an Olympic sport. The competition to be the couple that has the best nuptial celebration is fierce. And the judging happens on social media with the wedding picture palooza throw down.
Lucky for the world at large this problem solving AMAM has a solution. If the wedding is all about the pictorial splendor you’re sharing on social media, than I say ditch the reception and rent some green screens. This would allow the couple and their bridal party to stand in front of a green screen and have the photographer digital overlay anything they want.
The love birds exchanging vows in front of a 13th century castle in Scotland — no problem. The bride throwing her bouquet off a yacht in a tropical paradise — done. The reception taking place at the Palace of Versailles — fait accompli.
The magic of green screens would allow any couple to have an “vintage” reception in the church fellowship hall with cake, punch and everyone’s favorite wedding candy, pastel Jordan almonds, for a couple of grand.
Then for social media accolades they can green screen it up and share their faux wedding. I’ll leave it totally up to the newlyweds if they want to mention that the pictures of them in a gondola in Venice are “digitally enhanced.”
But you know what would be real? You would be legally married and it you wouldn’t have cost you $40,000. That’s the wedding gift that keeps on giving.
Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkyinthesuburbs@ gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.