Get it? Did you see the thing I did there in the title? Ahhhh. Classic.
Just in case you DIDN’T get it (in which case: horrible work, you dumb idiot), I’ve got a bunch of friends/coworkers who have been getting married lately, meaning lots of time and money spent in the process. I’m all for memorable experiences and meaningful time spent with the one you love, especially if you plan to spend the rest of your life with them. But honestly: weddings (and honeymoons, for that matter) are a horrible waste of time and money, and they’re not even remotely worth it.
I already know what the common refrain will be for this post: But JSG, who are you to decide what is and isn’t a waste of money for most people? Can’t people celebrate the way they want to regardless of expense? To which I say: hey man, that was a surprisingly valid point considering you’re just a rhetorical voice I made up, but have you considered that I’m still pretty bitter about the whole thing and this is my ridiculous blog? So if you would kindly take your logic and go fuck yourself we can get on with it.
Before we do so, I should probably add some contextual figures. This is the best researched (and best written) article I’ve found on the matter, and it claims the average wedding cost in 2012 was $27,427 – and it even distinguishes between mean and median to account for the ridiculous totals that some couples achieve, listing the median as $18,086. In fairness, considerably lower than some of the “averages” that get casually thrown around. That being said, here’s a quick list of things you can do with that amount of money that are comparably (if not considerably more) productive:
- Put a down payment on a house.
- Pay down a significant portion of your collective debt.
- Buy a new family car.
- Start a college savings fund for your future child(ren).
- Start a college savings fund for yourselves.
- Invest in stock(s) you think is(are) viable.
- Invest in a time machine to go back in time and invest in stock(s) you know is viable.
- Invest in Time Machines Inc. (NASDAQ: TMCC) because, I mean, time machines are a can’t-miss investment.
- Buy your baby this diamond-studded pacifier.
- Start a small business with your partner that, worst-case scenario, doesn’t find success and becomes an ever-present literal and metaphorical reminder of your failing relationship and becomes a point of resentment between you for the rest of your miserable lives – but best-case scenario brings you closer together!
- Donate the money to a meaningful charity (or a lot of not-so-meaningful charities).
- Hell, take the money and put it all down on one spin of the roulette wheel and see if you can double it (but only once – any more would be ridiculous).
These are just some of the ideas that are a better than spending your collective fortunes on one week of celebrating a partnership that has a 53% chance of eventually ending.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but all of the time and money you spend planning – just to make sure things are perfect! – is still predominantly about ONE SINGLE DAY. That’s not a very good ROI. With all the headache and hassle of making sure you and your guests and families are all happy? Honestly, they’re just like proms, except you’re guaranteed to get lucky afterward. Or at least to go home with the girl you went with. Or, you know, to at least feel like you’re generally happy with your life. You know, this actually isn’t much like my prom at all.
And honeymoons? Those weigh in at a much more reasonable but still steep $4,466. (According to, um, RealSizeBride.com, which is now the most embarrassing URL in my Chrome history.) At least those typically have some more positives – they’re longer, they’re exclusive to just the new couple and they’re usually focused on cool experiences instead of one lavish party – but that’s still a pretty good amount of money to throw down on a fleeting thing. Maybe that’s just my anti-travel bias kicking in, but I’ve seen people take pretty insane vacations all around the world for half that price, so clearly there’s still room for improvement.
The key takeaway here is that, as the common refrain goes, money doesn’t buy happiness – but I guess it never hurts to try! I mean hey, at least 47% of you will have awesome memories of it, right?? Happy wedding season, everyone!