Sarah Geraghty on..
The expense of weddings
L ove is patient, love is kind . . . ” It’s probably the most popular reading in the wedding liturgy. It also prompted one regular wedding-goer to rage that she’d “go effing mad if I hear it one more time this summer”.
She’s doomed. One man – lucky enough to be “lying in another expensive hotel bed with my wife the morning after a wedding” – counted 68 weddings in the last seven years.
That’s more than €40,000 at an average spend of at least €600 for an out-of-town, hotel-based wedding. It adds up pretty alarmingly; travel (€30), the gift (€150), the hotel (€80 per night per person sharing), the dress (€100) plus hair, tan, shoes, Spanx, manipedis, hatinator (€150 easily) or suit-hire (€90).
And hold on . . . there’s still two full days of carousing to be accounted for.
Asked if he had any holiday plans this summer, another engaged 30-something said no, he hadn’t. He had no time or money for anything else but weddings.
At 19, I worked in a “wedding-factory” hotel, where every Saturday two receptions were held at the same time. The trick was to get the first bride up the red carpet as fast as possible so as to avoid an awkward stand-off with the second. Guests from both weddings would end up fighting in the residents’ bar at 5am. One woman famously peed in a flower pot.
My next hotel wedding was as bridesmaid in Texas – “the bigger the hair, the closer to God” – for an American friend. Lovely. Culture alert : in America it costs to be a bridesmaid. Suddenly, my inbox was flooded with emails containing dress payment details, the cost of the hotel suite and hair and make-up. Plus gifts for the bridal shower and the lingerie shower (“first-fight lingerie” or “baby-making lingerie”?), never mind the wedding. The cost of entrance to a nightclub for the “bachelorette party” on New Year’s Eve and oh yeah, the flights to Texas.
US wedding bible, theknot.com, pronounces on this: it’s perfectly acceptable to turn down a bridesmaid invitation on financial grounds. You can admit you’re not solvent enough to be bridesmaid but you could just stretch to being a member of the “House Party” aka the B Team. You – and up to 14 other BFFs – don’t get to stand on the alter or wear as nice a dress as the A Team and your duties might include serving cake, but you’ll still make it onto the “Bridal Party” page of the wedding website.