For most women, their wedding day is something they dream about ever since they were little girls. The venue, the dress, the cake, the flowers and the groom are among the many things women have planned for this special occasion. But have weddings become something more than a celebration of marriage? Has materialism affected people’s wedding making decisions?
According to ASIC’s Money Smart Guidance, the average money spent on a wedding in Australia is $36,200. I’ll hold for a minute if you need to lie down.
When we think about it, that’s quite a ridiculous sum to spend in a day no matter what the occasion may be. However if you look at the info graphic below, a lot of couples are willing to spend good money on unnecessary expenses such as a professional photographer or a wedding band.
So why do couple spend such a significant amount of money of their big day? It’s simple. Well according to those wanting a big wedding at least. A wedding is supposed to mark the beginning of a union between husband and wife as they take their big step into adulthood. Due to this, families were willing to spend thousands of dollars because there wasn’t going to be another one for their child. This usually meant couples stayed together for the remainder of their lives.
This has changed significantly in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 113,595 marriages were registered and 48,517 divorces were granted in 2015. These rates make the price tag of a wedding even more ridiculous considering the median length of a marriage is 12.1 years.
So since marriages are not as sacred as they were before, why spend so much money on something that has a bad chance of making it to the end? This may be hard to hear for some people but materialism and competitiveness do have an effect on a couple’s decision making process. Look at the info graph above. On average, couples spend 53% extra than there original budget. In addition, women spend almost $2,000 on their wedding dress (something that will unlikely be worn again) and 100.4 guest are the average amount of people that are in attendance. How can anyone who has any sort fiscal responsibility even overspend by that much?
People are naturally programmed to feel envy for one another whether it is wealth, partners or something as simple as someone receiving more food. Now put that into a wedding context and you’ve got chaos in your hands. This is because many people try to chase wealth and a huge sign of this wealth is to have a ‘better’ lifestyle than others. So for example, when a woman sees their friend purchase a $3,000 wedding cake, she is immediately inclined to spend $4,000 on hers. This emphasis on material goods causes unhappiness for consumers as this competitiveness only results in bigger purchases. Due to this, the wedding price tag will only rise if the motivations remain the same.
I know this piece is very negative towards weddings but even I have fallen into the trap of materialism before. I would like to take you back in time to my formal. This ‘special’ night cost me over $1,000 which included $500 on a dress, $100 on shoes, $50 on a purse, $100 on jewelry, $200 for hair and make-up, $150 entrance tickets and about $20 for my group limo ride. To put it nicely, I had a mediocre night.
So yeah I know it’s tempting to empty out your life savings for your wedding but I encourage having a think before you spend, spend and spend some more. Here are some top tips to save money on your big day.
- Purchase a pre-owned dress: Most of the time wedding dresses are only worn once. This means that you can purchase an almost new dress for a fraction of the price.
- Purchase local flowers: I understand the perfect flower for your wedding may not be available at your local florist but you’ll be able to get something similar and for a much cheaper price.
- Have the wedding cake as dessert: This will save you the dessert fee and still give guests someone sweet at the end.
- Be picky with your guest list: I know this one is hard to do but by only inviting the people you love, you’re going to have a more intimate celebration.
By using these tips, I guarantee you an amazing wedding without fainting at the final cost. Who’s ready to save?