The comments on my last two posts make me dare to open a can of worms: what does a wedding need? In particular, what are the big ticket items that drive up wedding costs so spectacularly?
When Mrs. G. and I got married, we had a great and cheap wedding. We got married on campus, in the equivalent of the college chapel, on graduation weekend. My mother made the dress, my father lettered the wedding certificate, the bride's uncle took the pictures, the wedding party wore their own clothes, and everyone pitched in to make the food. We had a Quaker wedding (a really great kind -- everyone should be a Quaker long enough to get married :-) ), so there was no minister or other officiant. The reception was in the function room attached to the chapel. We drove away in a borrowed car, and spent the night in a motel. The only thing I would change was that I should have taken her to a nicer hotel.
We bought the rings, license, invitations, flowers, cake, ingredients for reception quiches and finger food, a suit and shoes for me from a thrift store, shoes for the bride, and the motel.
We had a wonderful wedding with 140 guests.
Total cost: about $2,500 in today's prices.
So where were our big savings? The venue for wedding and reception were very inexpensive, because we were part of the church and college. We had a great seamstress who donated her work. We also had a great calligrapher donating his work for the wedding certificate that everyone signed, which is our equivalent of a minister. Our friends pitched in on making the food. A fine photographer donated his work. We had no alcohol, which also allowed us to have the reception at the church. And, of course, no wedding planner.
Except maybe for the dress, the officiant, and the photographer, couldn't everyone do it this way without scrimping? I realize that alcohol is a sticking point for many people, but even doubling this budget, wouldn't that give you enough margin to solve that problem?
I am not (simply) being a curmudgeon here, but trying to get a realistic view of where wedding costs come from - before my own children's someday-in-the-future weddings.