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July 25, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Reader responses to my post about expensive Seattle weddings

Last week I wrote this blog post about weddings getting too expensive for couples and their guests. At the end of the post, I asked readers to share their ideas on modern wedding etiquette. After all, times are changing. According to this 2011 Pew study, fewer people are getting hitched. The median age for first-time brides and grooms is creeping up. In Washington and several other states, same-sex couples have only recently been able to legally wed.

In case you missed it, here’s an interesting snapshot of Seattle’s wedding industry in 2012:

(Source: The Wedding Report)

(Source: The Wedding Report)


And as promised, here’s a look at some of your comments on this topic:

’48’er’ hit the nail on the head with this commentary. Every little girl dreams of her big day. I, too, blame Disney cartoon endings. When you go all out for other peoples’ weddings, it’s natural for them to want to return the favor. It’s a vicious cycle. No wonder weddings are such big business.

Splashy televised celebrity weddings and lavish consumerism has translated into a Disney event of epic wedding proportions.

“Destination weddings” for the young wannabees have hit my daughter’s pocket. Struggling with school debt, having not found decent fulltime work for two years after finishing college and then the celebrity-wannabe bridezilla invites her to be a bridesmaid including a bachelorette trip to Las Vegas, a shower gift and attendance with food, a wedding gift, buying the bridesmaid outfit, and paying for the ridiculous updo by the hair stylist hired by the bride but expected to be paid for by the bridesmaids?

There’s a wedding inflation underway. Slavishly acting like Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous while Rome is burning.

I’m glad my ex and I did a DIY wedding and were able to go on a six month honeymooon. Unforgettable.

It’s the “green” weddings I enjoy these days. Different orientation entirely.

‘atheist’, I couldn’t agree more. Down payments over parties!

No one forces people to spend money on other people’s weddings. More Americans need to be honest and say “I’m sorry, but I just cannot afford to attend your wedding.” With the internet, people can stream their weddings live.

People asked to be bridesmaids also need to be willing to tell the bride “If I’m your bridesmaid, I need to do it on a budget; I cannot afford to spend more than $X on EVERYTHING, including parties, showers, dress, etc.” (The same is true if there are to be any groomsmen, but somehow, their expenses never seem to be as exorbitant. I’m sure there are exceptions.)

Those getting married need to be aware of the financial constraints of people they want in and at their wedding. They need to realize that it is more important to have the person, and not all the expensive extras.

Most couples would do far more for themselves to have a small, inexpensive wedding, and use all the $ either to invest or for a downpayment on a house.

‘USS Enterprise’ speaks from experience. The part about Vietnamese weddings is true and should be openly adopted by more American couples. I’d say the amount could be much lower, though. Somewhere around $50 to $100 per guest.

We had a pretty small wedding and still clocked in 25k. If I could do it again, I would just elope and spend the money on the honeymoon and pocket the rest. I have no idea, nor do I care, how much money our guests spent. What we got in gifts paled in comparison with the food and booze our guests got from our wallets. Not that I’m bitter or anything. It’s just a ton of money to spend on one evening that, with enough alcohol, you probably don’t remember entirely.

I think our culture specifically spends FAR too much money on weddings. I have a Vietamese friend that told me in their country the couple getting married puts on the wedding, but the guests pay for it. Guests must buy their seat at the table at $500-1k a pop. It’s an honor to attend. The bride and groom come out of the event in the black instead of in debt. Sounds like a much better gig than throwing a huge party for other people and parting ways with your hard earned money that could be better spent starting your lives together.

‘timbuk3’ has some advice for me (if I ever actually get married). Vegas isn’t my style, but I’ll take the latter comment to heart.

Thanh – when the time comes, if you want to save money, just buy an old convertible Cadillac. Drive it down to Vegas and get hitched. Road trip.

Nobody remembers wedding details after a few years. All that matters is you’re happy. I wish more women would realize this.

‘GB500’ thinks I’m whining. Not so. My general policy is if the bride or groom is a good friend, I am more than willing to invest in celebrating their union. I’ve saved some money by not going to every bachelorette party and bridal shower. Luckily, my pals are practical — not bridezillas.

Learn to say no once in a while. I know you probably love your girlfriends, but you’re not required to attend every engagement and bachorlette party, pony up for a gift at every shower and wedding receiption. Nor should your own vacation plans take a backseat to these events. Go if you want, but don’t feel bad about declining the invitation.


Comments | Topics: marriage, Seattle, summer


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The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

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