Why are US weddings usually more expensive?

posted 1 year ago in The Lounge
Post # 17
Member
458 posts
Helper bee

megkate87 :  She might have been referring to household income, not individual salaries, which makes sense because it usually takes at least 2 people to pay for a wedding. The median household income in the US is approaching $60,000. I’m not sure what European country OP is referring to, so I can’t find say specifically, but according to Pew Research Center, it looks like most western European countries lag behind the US in average salaries (Pew also estimates average US income around $60K). I can imagine that Eastern Europe would be even lower, just given their economies. If you earn around $30K, and (assuming you have a partner, since you’re on WB) your partner earns at least as much as you but likely more due to the gender pay gap (unless your partner is not currently working outside the home), you would be the average American household.

Post # 18
Member
1368 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

megkate87 :  Haha right? I wish I made 30k in only a few months. 

socalgirl1689 :  I had my wedding for $5,000 I live in Virginia. We had about 80 people at my wedding. 

Post # 19
Member
458 posts
Helper bee

socalgirl1689 :  Yup, in the US there are a lot of extra fees associated for every large thing, from weddings to buying a house to paying for college. Again, labor costs are high, gratuities are high, there are a lot of union rules, sales taxes are high, etc. Not saying those are bad things necessarily, but they do contribute to high wedding costs. My fiance (who is Indian) keeps telling me we could have 5x more of a grand wedding in India for the same cost as a smaller wedding here, which is why his sister and cousin prefer to have weddings in India. Again, labor cost is really low there comparatively, even though in local context weddings are getting way more extravagant there.

I think in the US there’s also a tendency to account for every minute of time a vendor spends on you, even if it’s not directly related to your day-of event. Every minute a vendor spends emailing you, meeting with you, going on walk-thru’s, etc before your actual wedding day. are overhead costs which factor into the total cost, just like any consulting firm would do. A florist also needs to pay her storefront’s rent, which has probably risen if it’s in a major city. Lastly, weddings tend to be seasonal. Hence, wedding vendors make the bulk of their earnings from April to September, leaving them with little earnings the rest of the year. So they have to increase their costs during peak season.

Hope that helps! Other than that, it’s probably just “If there’s demand, people will pay for it.” 

Post # 20
Member
1757 posts
Buzzing bee

socalgirl1689 :  I’m having a destination wedding in Europe and VAT was not included in anything so it depends on the country. Also when I first started planning the exchange rate was 1.08 and now it’s 1.18, I budgeted for a 1.25 exchange rate which was where it was just recently.

Post # 23
Member
246 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2019

glutton :  She said that $30K was only a few months salary. Not a year’s salary. Like. No. That’s ridiculous.

 

Post # 24
Member
1718 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I can’t speak for everyone but my cousins had very typical weddings in Canada. The venues weren’t even that great. They had your standard 150-200 guests. Each of their weddings will have been around TEN TIMES the expense of mine, and I’m in the United States. Still being thrifty, but my wedding will be around 15k-20k. My cousins spent 190k-210k on each of their weddings. One had a barn rustic wedding, another had a modern bar-themed wedding. 

But they were married in the city of Toronto. I’m in Upstate New York in simple wine country.

I guess my point is, I think it matters greatly where you get married, but not by country. America’s statistics are probably higher because prices between city and country are so POLARIZED. And more people live in the cities. Also, don’t forget, America has a LOT of people. That skews statistics.

Post # 26
Member
1718 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

socalgirl1689 :  I wouldn’t be surprised at all to hear that, and to be honest, I expected it to be more than 80k. I’m only five hours from New York City and my wedding will be a quarter of that price. 

Polarization, man. I tell ya, the poor city folks are being sucked dry.

Post # 27
Member
8826 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

socalgirl1689 :  It’s not useful to take the average of a country the size of the US and compare that with the average of a small European country. In fact, it’s questionable how useful averages are for something as discretionary as this anyway. According to another bee’s link, MOST couples in the US spend under $10k. So how is the average so big? One 1%er circus skews the whole thing, that’s how. Rich people easily spend $3million and more on weddings. One $3M wedding takes 119 10K ones to average out to $35,000. So although the average is $35k, 99.2% of those couples had a 10K wedding. A $10M wedding is not unheard of — how many $5000 weddings does it take to average that out to $35k? I have no idea and I’m not doing that math. “Average” does not always give the best or most realistic picture, especially for things that are so discretionary.

Post # 28
Member
7415 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

socalgirl1689 :  I saw where you got the US average from but was curious what you were basing the overall assumption of US weddings being more expensive on. I saw you have your own experience but that’s just one area so I thought maybe you saw an article stating averages in other countries.

Another article I read said you really need to look at the median cost. There average in the US might be $30k but the majority spend $10k or less. I didn’t save it but can look for it again if you’re interested in seeing it. So that’s another factor to consider I think.

Post # 29
Member
3563 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

socalgirl1689 :  it’s really hard to have this convo when you won’t specify where exactly you’re comparing the US to – “europe” is not a country and varies widely; and just claiming that your costs are average for your country is rather anecdotal and unreliable. why don’t you tell us what country you’re comparing the US with, and then we can have an actual conversation about WHY there is such a difference in cost.

and just to respond to your last comment about NYC – it is the HIGHEST average wedding cost of the entire country (i live in NYC and recently got married). $75k-80K is the average cost of an averaged-sized (125people) NYC wedding. it’s also one of the highest cost of living cities in the country, so it’s not that unexpected. these weddings aren’t crazy swanky – people aren’t walking away with swarovski crystal favors or anything – it’s just that it’s an area of wealthy people with limited resources, and so you can charge a shitload for very basic services. hell, we pay $5 for just a half gallon of milk.

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