Weddings Have Become A Nightmare For Young People

May 25th 2015

With wedding season in full swing, at least once a week I'm asked when my long-time boyfriend and I plan on making "a certain announcement." I usually provide the practical answer: We'd like to get settled into our respective new jobs first. However, that's not the sole reason we're holding off a little longer. There's also the financial aspect and the all-consuming process of planning.

As soon as we're engaged, we'll immediately be mauled with questions about setting a date, our choice of venue, which of our friends will be in the wedding party, where I'm buying my dress, who will walk me down the aisle, etc. I want to savor the time before the all-consuming madness of wedding planning potentially turns me into an uncompromising monster who won't shut up about "my day" like so many brides before me. I've always been low-key, but these days, getting caught up in the spectacle of weddings seems inevitable.

In a culture where engagement ring photos regularly flood our Instragram and Facebook feeds, shows like "The Bachelor" stay on the air for more than a decade and consistently maintain high ratings, and proposals go viral on the Internet, getting married is equal parts a reality show and lifelong commitment. This puts pressure on men and women to come up with creative, over-the-top proposals worthy of their own headlines in the news. Wedding site The Knot found that nearly 70 percent of people had a private proposal in 2009, and that number dropped to 57 percent in 2011.

"People get so wrapped up in planning, but really it should just be something that represents you as a couple," wedding blogger Aubrey Secrest told the Eastern Iowa Gazette in February. "It shouldn’t be about looking good on social media or looking good to your friends."

Even the business-minded Kim Kardashian couldn't deny the financial benefits she could reap from televising her 2011 nuptials to Kris Humphries. Kardashian reportedly earned millions from tying the knot with the well-known basketball player, from whom she filed for divorce 72 days later.

When your proposal isn't enough of a fairytale to interest people

The craziness surrounding weddings not only alienates those who aren't getting married, but also couples without a showy proposal story. In February 2014, Louise Hung wrote in an XOJane piece that people were disappointed by her future husband's laid-back proposal in their shared living space.

"No whales, no fireworks, just us," Hung wrote. "Not everybody is my husband and me, and creativity and big declarations of love can be magical. However, what I don't understand is how the proposal has come to overshadow the actual idea of marriage...Asking someone to legally bind themselves to you is such a massive thing to ask in the first place, does it really need all the histrionics?"

The average wedding cost is climbing

In 2014, the average cost of a wedding was $31,213, according to The Knot. As ATTN: previously pointed out, however, Slate's Will Oremus found the median cost of a wedding was closer to $20,000 when the Knot released their 2013 survey results. Even $20,000 seems like a lot, but plenty of people have gone into debt for weddings, which seems like an awful way to start a lifelong partnership.

High wedding costs are also associated with high divorce rates. Last year, Emory University researchers found that folks who spend $2,000 to $4,000 engagement rings are more likely to get divorced than those who stay below a $2,000 budget. If you drop more than $20,000 on a wedding, you're 3.5 times more likely to end the marriage than a couple that spent less than $10,000.

Though sociologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz told PBS you can't necessarily blame failed marriages on post-wedding debt, she admitted that “the wedding has become the highlight rather than the beginning of something.”

Check out more on the high cost of weddings in our video:


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