When wedding bells ring, cash registers cha-ching!

With the average cost of weddings topping more than $30,000, it’s no wonder grown men turn into whimpering weenies at their daughters’ weddings.

According to The Knot, in 2017, the average cost of a wedding was $33,391. The parents of the bride pick up 45 percent of the tab or $15,015, which is enough to bring even the most imperturbable dads (and moms) to tears. The rest of the tab is picked up by the bride and groom (41 percent); the groom’s parents (13 percent); and others (2 percent). For the past 11 years, The Knot has asked several thousand couples how much they spent on their weddings.

The results of their 2017 survey are reviewed below and are available at https://xogroupinc.com/press-releases/the-knot-2017-real-weddings-study-wedding-spend/.

Wedding spending trends

The chart, which is based on The Knot’s annual survey of wedding costs, shows spending on weddings fell during, and one year after, the Great Recession but rebounded in 2011.

In her comments on The Knot’s 2011 survey, Carley Roney, cofounder of The Knot said, “For the first time since 2008, wedding budgets are on the rise … in 2011, one in five U.S. couples spent more than $30,000, and 11 percent spent more than $40,000 on their weddings. Our research shows that couples and their families are less concerned with the economy and are increasingly comfortable investing more in the once-in-a-lifetime occasion of their wedding.”

The chart also shows wedding spending increased for seven consecutive years from $26,984 in 2011 to a peak of $35,329 in 2016. In 2017, wedding spending fell nearly $2,000 to $33,391.

Weddings are not what they used to be

According to The Knot, “formal weddings have steadily decreased (20 percent in 2009 to 16 percent in 2017), as couples look to nontraditional venues such as barns, farms, historic homes, wineries, museums and parks to bring their personalities to life on their wedding day.” As an example, a couple weeks ago, my wife and I attended a niece’s wedding ceremony and reception that were held at Wolf Oak Acres in Madison County, which is touted as “a truly magical and historic estate boasting of ponds, gorges, woods, streams, meadows, waterfalls and gardens amidst the breath-taking grounds.” Likewise, my daughter, Alissa, and her fiance are holding their upcoming wedding ceremony and reception at the Lyman Estate, which is “a grand country estate in Waltham, Massachusetts.” The Lyman Estate is a museum owned and operated by Historic New England an organization whose mission is to “engage diverse audiences in developing a deeper understanding and enjoyment of New England home life by being the national leader in collecting, preserving, and using significant buildings, landscapes, archives, stories, and objects from the past to today.”

Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor in chief of The Knot, said “weddings in 2017 showed us that couples are focused on guests, as we see them pulling out all the stops to create a truly memorable experience for their wedding attendees. Couples are also shifting away from formal affairs to create an experience that’s truly reflective of their personalities and infusing more unique and unconventional ideas — from their venue and invitations to food, entertainment and more.”

Interestingly, The Knot’s 2017 survey also showed “time-honored wedding reception traditions are also seeing a decline, with less than half (49 percent) of brides doing a bouquet toss (down from 53 percent in 2016); 37 percent of grooms doing a garter toss (down from 41 percent in 2016); and 85 percent of couples doing a cake cutting (down from 88 percent in 2016). Unlike her mother, my niece did not do a bouquet toss, and, unlike my wife, neither will my daughter. Unlike my niece’s father, my niece’s husband did not do garter toss, and, unlike me, neither will my daughter’s fiance. Still, my niece did do a cake cutting, and my daughter will, too.

Unfulfilled promises

I promised my daughter I would not get all emotional and choked-up when I walk her down the aisle at her wedding or when I give my speech at her reception, but men like me, who are so, so in love with their beautiful, beautiful bank accounts should know better than to make promises they cannot fulfill. Sniff, sniff.


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