In case you didn’t know, February is National Weddings Month. Oh yeah, someone decided that was going to be a thing. I suppose they picked February because it’s ~love month~ what with Valentine’s Day and all. I also assume that they assume a lot of people get engaged on Valentine’s Day (which, according to these fancy restaurant professionals, is a *major* faux pas), because they really don’t think people are capable of doing anything interesting with their lives.
According to an internet source, the average wedding in America costs $26,444. Twenty-six thousand four hundred forty-four dollars, American. Actual American dollars. For four hours of crappy food, “crowd pleasing” music, a dress or cumberbund you can’t breathe in, worrying your racist aunt is going to go ahead and be very racist, watered down well drinks, a brain splitting migraine you picked up due to the stress, a half-thawed sugar cube masquerading as cake covered in a layer of sweetened silly putty called fondant, and um, a concrete declaration of everlasting love and commitment that, with a divorce rate over 50%, statistically, satisfies the tort standard as inherently negligent behavior.
You could throw a wedding to bring your families together and celebrate your most perfect union, or you could do about a million other things with $26,444 seeing as so many weddings are precursors to so many divorces. I’m not saying your beautiful, unique wedding, that’s totally not like anyone else’s even though you got most of your ideas from Pinterest and magazines that depict weddings that have already happened, will yield another marriage that ends in divorce. No siree. But, you do have my number right? Your marriage could totally be one of the lucky ones. You could have beaten the odds and found your one, true, forever and ever soul mate. Or you could have found an okay person you’re pretty sure isn’t a serial killer and that’s enough to spend the rest of your life with someone. They’re probably not a serial killer because serial killers are pretty rare. What do I know?
Well, I know $26,444 is a big chunk of change and if you want to spend it on a wedding, fair do’s to you. If you don’t, and would rather elope and save the cash for something else, here are some ideas.
2,647 Months of Netflix. Netflix costs $9.99 a month for the plan that allows you to watch on two screens at once. That’s 2,647 months of Netflix, or 220 years of Netflix, which is definitely longer than you’re going to live, all for the bargain basement price of one wedding. The two screen plan is key to keeping your relationship in tact. You’re going to want to entertain yourselves during the lulls in your marriage and you’re going to want to do it separately. Helen can enjoy Friday Night Lights in the tub for weeks on end while you comb House Hunters International for inaccuracies because that show is definitely not real. The cosmopolitan couple already purchased their international dream home! The other two choices are quite obviously decoys! We’re not dumb, HGTV!
37 Days of the Moon Juice Lady’s Diet. If you’ve been hanging out on the internet the past few weeks, you may have come across this Elle article about Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon’s diet. The Frisky analyzed it and calculated that Amanda’s every day diet costs about $710. You can use your wedding budget to drink silver needle tea before your son Rohan wakes for a whopping thirty-seven days. Oh yeah, Amanda blows through a wedding budget nearly every month on her weird food. The smugness and self satisfaction come free as a bonus.
21,000 Rolls of Toilet Paper. I bought four rolls of toilet paper for $4.99 this morning and that was on sale. More than a buck per roll for a necessity doesn’t seem fair but if you channel wedding money directly into toilet paper, you’ve got yourself over 21,000 rolls. That seems like enough to last you a lifetime. You can also fashion a wedding dress out of a few rolls like they do at wedding showers, and wear that to your fiscally responsible courthouse wedding.
A Hypothetical Child’s College Tuition For Some Amount of Time. If you plan on having kids with your new beloved spouse, instead of blowing $26,444 on a wedding, you could sock it away in a college savings account for the future apple of your eye. In 20 years that wedding sum will be more. How much? I don’t know, it’s pretty complicated and there are a lot of investment options, so just know it will be more. And if Bernie Sanders ends up president, and public college ends up being free, you can use those college savings to redecorate your kid’s room when he leaves for state school, instead of on tuition. Personal gym, home office, meat locker, sex dungeon, whatever you want!
The Best Honeymoon Ever. Remember when you were young and free and didn’t really understand how taxes worked and your back didn’t ache in the morning? That dumb little idealist in the Smiths t-shirt also swore weddings were stupid and that any sane person would go on a kickass honeymoon instead. Well, that dummy got a lot about international relations wrong, but did get the international holiday idea right. You and your partner can book those “around the world” tickets and hit something like a dozen different places for only a couple of thousand dollars for each of you. Then you can spend the rest on accommodations, excursions and tiny Eiffel Tower souvenirs for everyone you would have invited to your wedding.
26 Mont Blanc Pens. Are you an award-winning writer? Have you won a Pulitzer? Are you a best selling author with a large legion of devoted fans? If the answers to the preceding questions are no, is it possible none of those things is true because you haven’t purchased a very fancy pen? How can you write the next great American novel about the outdated tradition of marriage on a MacBook? Mont Blanc pens run around a grand each and you’ll want to buy quite a few. You need one on your writing desk of course. One by your bed for any late night ideas. One in your bag. One in the car. One for your coat pocket. One for your other coat pocket. Just buy them in a bulk set of twenty-six to be sure that when there is an idea to be had, an exquisite pen is lurking nearby to jot it down. They say wedding photos last forever. You know what else lasts forever? The wikipedia page you will have after getting famous off your groundbreaking novel.
A House. Most lenders require a down payment of twenty percent of the home’s value. An average wedding budget will land you in a $130,000 house, which if you’re outside the tri-state area could be a really nice place to live. If you’re in the tri-state area, well, you’re well on your way to saving for a 20% down payment. You’re basically a quarter of the way there. Almost. It’s confusingly ridiculous to live here and I don’t know why we do it.
A Car. The average price for a new car in this country is conveniently just about the same price as an average American wedding. So you can spend a giant sum of money to feed the friends and family you don’t really like all that much in exchange for a juicer and china you will never use, or you can buy a vehicle and drive far, far away from them. If you want to get a fancy car I can tell you, from my own intensive research, that an average wedding budget would cover the down payment and first year of lease payments on a Tesla P90D (with the “ludicrous speed” upgrade so you can go 0-60 in 2.6 seconds!). But, hey, disregard all of this if you think that seeing your uncle and your college roommates belligerently drunk in ill fitting suits, yet again, is more exhilarating than smoking a Bugatti or Ferrari off the line.
A Heck of A Lot of Gas. You can get a gallon of gas for about $1.99 in New York right now. A wedding’s worth of gas can get you 13,288 gallons away from home. You got a Prius? Well look at you, Mr. Conscientious. In that Prius you can drive over 664,000 miles on a wedding budget. Side note: if you get that Tesla we talked about earlier you won’t even need gas!
6 Premium Adele Tickets. Currently, the most expensive tickets on StubHub for Adele’s September 19, 2016 Madison Square Garden performance are $4,445 a piece. The seats are located in “Pod A” and I don’t know what that means but it sounds fancy. You and almost five of your closest friends (one can be your fiance, it’s up to you) could live it up in Pod A, see Adele up close and weep together. That experience will garner more intimacy than any wedding ceremony could.
So Many Bagels. A sesame bagel from my favorite deli costs $0.70. They are heavenly pillows of magical gluten that I dream about. They bring me more happiness than any human being ever has, and I’m not even that ashamed of that statement. I could get nearly 38,000 bagels for the cost of one wedding, which is 38,000 bagels closer to eternal bliss.
Your Electric Bill for 20 Years. The average electric bill in New York is $106. You could run your blenders, cable boxes, modems and light the lamp by your side of the bed in order to read self help books on relationships for twenty years, all for the price of one average wedding. Twenty years under a 60 watt bulb with Dr. Phil’s Relationship Rescue? Where do I sign up!
5 Years of Groceries. The average family of two spends $450 on groceries every month. On that budget you can get nearly five years of groceries for the cost of a wedding. Five years of delicious pre-cut Whole Foods fruit instead of limp, gray salmon that 120 of your nearest and dearest will complain about until you or they die.
1.5 Million Cotton Balls. You can purchase 200 cotton balls for $3.49. You can buy over 1.5 million cotton balls for the cost of a wedding. With over 1.5 million cotton balls, you can build a cotton ball kingdom in your large attic, finally knowing exactly what it’s like to live on a cloud made of cotton balls and live out your life in a fluffy cotton ball cloud kingdom of dreams.
17 Prenups. The internet claims the average American prenup costs about $2,500. As I have explained over and over and over again, the prenup is an engaged person’s best friend. Everyone should do it. People madly in love. People with a few doubts. People with a lot of doubts. People who turn oxygen into carbon dioxide through the process of breathing. Everyone. People are willing to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to dress up in doily covered dresses and rented tuxedos to dance to “We Are Family” in elk lodges around the country, but they scoff at shelling out a comparatively tiny sum to protect their future selves just in case John Lennon was wrong and you in fact do need more in this life than just love.
That’s bananas, people.
Save yourself the possible world of financial hurt that could await you. You can even do it seventeen times for the cost of one wedding, you know in case the first sixteen husbands aren’t the one, and number seventeen is the actual one.
James J. Sexton