Friday, March 02, 2012

Weddings as Economic Privilege, part XV11

A Practical Wedding posted a week back about a study that showed that women in lower income brackets/without college degrees were getting married in lower rates than women who made more money. Meg posited that marriage was becoming an economic privilege, and I thought about it, and I've concluded that it's not marriage, it's weddings.
The first question in my Ask Liz Column today was from a bride who didn't even have $5,000 to spend, and was afraid that her wedding would be a horrible tacky affair in her backyard. To society at large, marriage = a wedding = an event that represents the $20,000 national average cost of a wedding. The fluffy princess dress and the cake, and the chiavari chairs. Those are the first things that come to mind when anyone says "wedding".
Marriage? Marriage will cost you $90 for the license and you can have a ceremony wherever you want (see yesterday's post). You can have a friend get notarized for free and marry you. You can hire someone from Craigslist to marry you. You can get married anywhere you want, and build the wedding you want with you have, but that's not the first thing that people think of.
To have $20,000+ to spend on a wedding, wherever it comes from, is an economic privilege. It takes a fair percentage of that to even hire me.
Can you have a wonderful wedding for less than that? Of course you can. But you have to be willing to do what it takes to do it. Every wedding takes patience and work. Smaller budget weddings take more determination, too. And an open mind.
Everyone deserves to have the wedding they want. A big part of that is determining what that really, truly is.

See y0u at the end of the aisle,

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events
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