This year, 2.3 million couples will get married in the US. If they married in Manhattan, the average cost of those weddings would be about $78,000. Oregon couples are more restrained at an average $21,000. Falling in the middle, Californians spend on average $42,000. (And this does not include the honeymoon.)
Before I moan about the high divorce rate or scoff at the Wedding Industrial Complex, I'll say this: I once watched 8 episodes of Say Yes to the Dress in a row. I believe in rituals and celebrating big events with people you love. But weddings - one day of your life - have almost nothing to do with the marriage itself. They don't prepare you for the first big disappointment in your partner, the rough times when you don't like her and you don't much like yourself, either. The glitter and excitement -- and the money spent - don't speak to the tedium of paying bills, waking up on the wrong side of the bed, those times when you wonder why you married this jerk. Nor do they say much about the deep, quiet joy of loving someone through thick and thin, through your best and your worst--and being loved and accepted in the same way.
Think about this before you decide on your wedding color scheme or whether the napkins match the flowers:
1. Marriage is a commitment to hard work. You won't know really understand this until you're in the middle of the worst of it.
2. Sometimes you won't like your spouse; that's ok. Tomorrow is a new day.
3. It's a partnership; you'll bring something new and necessary to the mix, and you'll also be a difficult partner in some ways (sex, money, your family, your need to have 14 chihuahuas...)
4. You'll never completely know the person you're marrying, so stay curious and don't assume.
5. It's easy to find out who you are while being single; the real challenge is learning who you are while living with another person--kind of like learning to juggle while jumping on a trampoline. (see #1)
Warning: watching this may convince you to elope...