When did wedding’s start to become such a huge money maker event?

by DIY wedding planner on April 13, 2012

I was talking to grandma about when she got married which was during war times. She was married at the age of 20. Wedding’s back then were so simple. You got married in a church, wore a nice outfit, and had a nice reception after the ceremony. At her wedding she invited all her family and her fiances family. She couldn’t invite her friends because it related to the war. Three of her friends went to her wedding because they knew they couldn’t miss out on her big event. They cared so much about her. My grandma had a nice reception lunch and there was dancing. She even had three bridal showers.

When my mom and dad got married weddings seemed simple then too. My parents had a beautiful wedding for $3,000. They invited a lot of people to their wedding. They got married in a church, had their reception at a golf club resort, hired a band, had appetizers for food, hired a photographer, etc. My grandma made my moms dress as well and her dress too. She also made other wedding items for my mom.

Someone in my family had about 200 people at her wedding back in the early 1990′s. She had a nice wedding, with food, music and more for only $1,000.

Couples nowadays seem to loose the idea of what a real wedding should be like. I’m getting married in 9 months and I just want a simple wedding like the one my grandma and my parents had. Nothing fancy, or over the top. We will be getting married in a church. Our reception will be at a cute little old hall. We will have cocktails, dinner, dancing and dessert plus a photographer, etc.

My fiance and I are having a DIY wedding and our goal is to have this wedding cost way less than $10,000 dollars. Were inviting our family and closest friends to our wedding. I’m not going to cut back on our guest list just because the wedding industry tells me I should. Back in the old days you could have as many people as you wanted at your wedding. It so sad to think that were being told nowadays how to plan our wedding. When my fiance and I get married next year were going to be saving a lot of money. Our cater owns his own business and his prices are super low. Our DJ has all the fancy equipment and again his price is very low. Yet, everyone we’ve hired for our wedding loves their job. There not out to make money. That makes me so happy!

I’m having so much fun planning my wedding without having the wedding industry tell me how my wedding should be like. I have not purchased any wedding magazines or even a fancy gown. My wedding dress is beautiful and yet it could be worn to another event in the future.

When did weddings start to become such a huge money maker event? What year did the trend start? I’ve heard so many stories about couples who couldn’t wait for the wedding planning to end. I actually, will miss the wedding planning when our wedding is over. I want to make memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. That is why I’m enjoying the wedding planning. I’m having so much fun planning this simple wedding because I’m doing what I want and not what the industry tells me to do. :)

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Diogenes April 13, 2012 at 8:37 pm

All of this for a simple question?

You thought we would not understand you outrage?
You think you are the only one to get married on this site?

It got outrageous when brides started to think more about the wedding than the marriage.
When this became a party about the little princess and not the joining of two adults.
When she just had to have the horse drawn coach ($800) the platinum buckled shoes ($1500)
and the specially designed eight layered wedding cake ($2250).

The groom still rents his tux.
You ladies pay $5-15,000 for a dress you only wear once.


Kaper April 13, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Weddings have always been a money making event, although it was pretty much limited to those with wealth. Take a look at Victorian wedding gowns. Even the trend of wearing white as a wedding gown was intended to show wealth (it was expensive to produce and maintain).
Not every couple nowadays gets carried away with an expensive wedding, that is a broad, incorrect statement. Yes, there is a new trend of wanting the type of wedding they can’t exactly afford, but there are still many of us who plan the same type of wedding you want.

The wedding industry does not tell you to cut back the size of your wedding, if anything, they encourage ignoring etiquette to invite more. For example, several sites encourage the use of A and B lists, as in, send your first round of invites to see how many decline, then invite people from the B list in place of those who declined.
Etiquette tells us to limit the number of guests to a number that you can afford to properly host and I see nothing wrong with that.


Lizabeth April 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm

It is ridiculous. The industry has taken advantage of all holidays, personal or not, and blown them into money makers. Christmas, Halloween, birthdays, WEDDINGS. It probably became like this when television became very popular and advertising got cozy in our brains. Once they realized the power commercials had they used that to their advantage. Its kind of scary lol.

That’s awesome you can re-wear your wedding dress, I plan to do that as well. I actually prefer smaller weddings to the extravagant expensive ones because they seem more about the couple than the decor. I’m sorry I can only guess to as why the wedding industry is so crazy, but I enjoyed reading your question.

Good luck, and happy wedding:)


diamondcollector April 13, 2012 at 9:59 pm

i blame the knot website for a lot of the bad manners and over the top expectations, also reality TV.

i think it insane to spend more than 5000 US dollars (houston economy) for a wedding. but then again i have never understood the whole prime rib reception thing either.


truefirstedition April 13, 2012 at 10:39 pm

You’re ranting more than asking a question, but I think you’ll like the book “One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding” by Rachel Mead, about the evolution of the wedding industrial complex over the past few decades.


The Original GarnetGlitter April 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm

A relative of mine payed out over 60,000.00 dollars within five years for two weddings ( their two adult children) And they themselves were financially stressed.

One marriage ended after less than two years…the other may not make it after five years.

My mother, who’s a Corker of a Lady in her 80′s said to me the other day that with the attitude the young folk have now a days towards marriage and divorce, any parent who shells out a substantial amount of money to help pay for a wedding is an idiot…let the couple pay for their own weddings and when a generation of youngsters start taking marriage seriously and not as an excuse to have a pretty princess party…then Mom & Dad can once again help foot the bill.

YOU, my dear are in the vast minority…Kudos to YOU! While my first marriage/wedding was the white church wedding back in 1974 ( & I got 22 years and four great kids out of it) my second marriage/wedding was a simple home style one with a beautiful outfit I indeed can wear again….planned it all by myself and yes, the memories this time around instead of being a blur of anxiety and stress are ones I can close my eyes and relive easily, happily, wonderfully.


iloveweddings April 14, 2012 at 12:03 am

Weddings have always been a money making event. The thing is….it costs more now only because of inflation. When I married (in 1977) my dress cost $150 and my veil $50. They were very nice. In today’s market, that same dress would be about $1,000. Ditto for the food; the venue; the music, etc. My daughter married in 1999 and I can even see the difference between then (12 years ago only) and today’s prices.

It is all what you make of it. YES, you can go over the top with decorated chairs, decorated aisle runners; an exquisitely wrapped favor for everyone; a cake topper that looks like the couple; 16 bridesmaids, etc., etc. You get the picture. As you are finding, though, weddings can STILL be inexpensively if that is what you choose.

Also, the bridal industry (which is a billion dollar a year industry) has fed all the brides the story of “it’s YOUR day”; “it’s a once in a lifetime thing”, etc. so they can sucker them into favors; programs; etc., etc. You don’t need all of those things.

It’s great that you have found things within your budget, but it doesn’t mean that your wedding is any better than someone elses. If others choose to spend $25K on their wedding….so be it.


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