Blow US$25,000 in a casino and you’re a gambler. People will advise you to get help for your problem. But blow the same amount on a wedding, and you’re having a “special” day. It never fails to amaze me how willing people are to throw cash at something that doesn’t even last a day, and frequently ends in an equally expensive divorce. That’s the kind of financial attitude that got us into the present mess. But $25,000 is apparently the average cost of a wedding in the U.S.

I just can’t understand the widespread wish to have the perfect day, however much it costs. What is the point of it? Okay, you’re sharing your special day with family and friends, etc. etc. That bit I get. But why the need for all the window dressing? Why the white dress, flowers everywhere, a posh venue, a classic car, and 200 guests? Newsflash: you’re not a princess, so stop playing dressing-up games with yourself as a human Barbie.

Wave goodbye to your money

Why do people queue up to throw vast amounts of cash at a disposable day that will end up nothing but memories and a set of photos? A wedding can be memorable even if it only costs $1,000. Indeed, you can grab a couple of friends, head down to City Hall, and spend a few dollars on a license. Why not invest that $25,000 in a house, a beautiful painting or your children’s education? It’s even more stupid when people take out a loan in order to fund their wedding. You’ll be paying off the loan long after the cake has gone stale (and possibly after you’ve signed the divorce papers).

Perhaps we should thank the people who have these expensive, pointless weddings for kindly – and visibly – removing themselves from the pool of available partners. They’re also giving the economy a much-needed boost – well, vendors of expensive dresses and flowers, anyway.

There does seem to be a growing backlash against the conventionally spendthrift wedding, however. More people are opting for a budget wedding that is more about having fun with the people you really care about, rather than inviting everyone down to your aunt’s neighbor’s postman’s dog. It’s also far more meaningful to focus on the important aspects of a wedding. So if you’re contemplating getting hitched, resist the wedding propaganda that insists you have to spend, spend, spend. Have a damn good party but don’t fret about the details. Your marriage will probably last a lot longer.

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