Personal Finance 

Ha! Weddings Are Scams! I Knew It!

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Laura Rowley, a Yahoo Finance columnist, exposes the “Wedding-Industrial Complex” for what it is… a bunch of nice emotional things coupled with a bunch of “traditions” created by companies to sell more stuff. She references Rebecca Mead’s One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding, which you may recognize since I linked to a Devil’s Advocate article about how you shouldn’t get married.

Scam #1: It costs $28,000
It doesn’t have to cost $28,000 but the industry keeps pounding into the minds of brides and grooms to the point where people believe that’s how much you have to spend. I think our wedding is going to cost around that much because we’ll be inviting approximately 200 people and food (including the incidentals like tables, chairs, tablecloths, servers, cooks, etc) will be nearly $20,000 alone. Is that necessary? No. Is it nice to have? Yes, but not 100% necessary which is the point.

Scam #2-#0394820934: All those institutions you thought were cultural, they’re actually commercial.

“The engagement ring was invented by [diamond producer] De Beers in the 1930s and 1940s,” she says. “The so-called traditional bridesmaid luncheon, rehearsal dinner, pre-wedding barbecue, and post-wedding brunch don’t have a basis in history. It’s easier to say no to things like that if you understand that it’s not wrong to not do them.”

Amazing huh? I think I’m going to get that book.

{ 9 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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9 Responses to “Ha! Weddings Are Scams! I Knew It!”

  1. Tim says:

    not entirely correct on the engagement ring. for centuries a ring to signify promise to marry has existed. it was de beers marketing campaign which helped standardized the diamond engagement ring, though.

  2. FMF says:

    Something’s telling me someone is making a case to spend a small amount on their own upcoming wedding. 😉

  3. Lau says:

    I’m glad hubby and I just went to City Hall. It’s not quite up there on the romantic scale, but we ended up with $0 debt as far as this is concerned.

  4. Amanda says:

    Tim’s right. The engagement ring did exist, but if you look at a lot of vintage or antique rings, they were not necessarily diamond. In fact, they were more often other semi-precious nad precious stones.

  5. Jason says:

    When it comes to the cost for weddings it always amazes me what people will pay. I payed $3000 for the whole thing and it wasn’t just some house somewhere catered by my family. It was a old Southern plantation house, horse drawn carriage, catering, flowers, etc. It really comes down to looking around and talking to people. See if you can find a package deal (or negotiate one). The owner of the plantation house I was married at was a fellow I met through work so he gave me a deal and threw in a few extra things (bottle of wine for example).

    That being said, I don’t mind people spending a lot on wedding cakes, since that’s my wife’s line of work. So go ahead and spend big people. 🙂

  6. Ed says:

    I think that is true to a large extent. Weddings are costing more. Where i live in Malaysia, many years ago, the whole family went to a photo studio, have a group picture taken and that was it.

    Now, wedding house allows the would be groom & bride to take 20 or more shots in different outfit together with makeup weeks before the actual wedding. This package cost above 2,500 in our currency. And then, professional video shooting became the fad for the wedding day and multimedia presentation at the wedding dinner is now quite standard. All that adds that to the bill.

    Many of these are definately optional.


  7. I agree with Ed, when couple marrying means they understood each other. So they have to choose whats important or necessary and keep other optional stuff aside.

    When I marry then there will be only family and few friends, because they are important to me.

  8. As you said, just having food and drink for 200 people pretty much puts you in the $20,000 range. The basics are going to cost you that much. It’s not necessarily because it’s a wedding, but because that’s what any kind of function would cost.

    The scam part comes when the vendors talk about “your perfect day” and all the things related to that. They’ll try to upgrade you every bit along the way. That’s where you need to sit down and decide what’s really necessary and what’s not. Some places charge more for extra long table cloths – do you think your guests are really going to care about that?

  9. Eric says:

    For part of my brother’s bachelor party, I took him and two friends out to a $500 dinner. (That’s a LOT for me!) I spent about $1600 on the whole weekend, and it was worth every single penny. Everyone there has nothing but fond memories that will last a lifetime. That money was a small price to pay.

    I then understood the logic behind the bride’s father spending what I’d guess was over $50,000 on the wedding itself. It was the same as what I’d done, just on a much larger scale. And why not?

    I’d be singing a different tune if her dad didn’t have that money. I think it’s all relative to who’s paying, how much they’ve got, and what stage of life they’re in.

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