Couples that live in or travel to Brevard County, Florida spend between $17,732 and $29,554 on average for their wedding. We are a popular destination spot with our lovely beaches, so about 43% do spend less than $10,000, I'm assuming because they are eloping or are inviting fewer than 50 guests.
At the national level, Americans are spending $25,656 for their wedding with the majority of couples spending between $19,242 and $32,070. As I suspected, we are slightly below the national average, but still pricey! Although I find the price tag steep, that is not what concerns me most about the wedding industry today.
I visit wedding planning sites and participate on bridal forums to keep current on wedding trends, gain advice from colleagues, and share what I have learned over the years. Consequently, I think I have a grasp on what couples are facing when planning a wedding today and I am appalled. I certainly recall being concerned with the budget and experiencing the natural anxiety that comes with decision-making. I was not, however, completely wrapped around the axle over endless details and a sense of overwhelming obligation I detect in brides (and grooms) today.
Many times a day I wish I could reach through my computer, put my arms around a panicked bride, and reassure her that whatever she decides to do for her wedding will be just fine. No, she does not have to provide favors for her guests. No, there is no requirement for an open bar to accommodate drinkers when all she can afford is beer and wine. No, she does not have to have a single bridesmaid, let alone five! People will not remember if she had personalized napkins or not.The notion of the window dressings of a wedding being requirements is absurd.
The excess is distressing. Particularly since the reception has far outstripped the ceremony in terms of focus. While I love a good party as much as the next person, I am concerned the reason for the occasion is being somewhat obscured with this obsession with detail. And the detail has to be contributing to the hefty wedding price tag.
2. Valid Marriage License
4. Witnesses (though not required in all areas)
I am by no means opposed to a lovely wedding complete with gorgeous designer gowns, spectacular flowers, plated dinner, horse-drawn carriage, and dancing until dawn. If a couple can afford it and this is their idea of a dream wedding than go for it!
My concern is with the sense of obligation or regret I detect when I see sincere questions like:
I recently saw this comment on-line "...My wedding isn't until 2016, but I am already feeling so stressed. There is so much to do and so little time.. I, like every other bride, want it to be perfect,..." She has two years to plan and already is overwhelmed. She's also setting herself up for an impossible expectation. No wedding is perfect, and I fear her concept of perfection has been shaped by popular media: bridal magazines and "reality" television shows being notable culprits.
Perfect these days, seems to mean having a wedding that looks like a production fit for a Hollywood blockbuster complete with endless minute details unheard of when I was married twenty years ago.
My advice to couples (okay, really the brides) would be: