The Incredible Shrinking Wedding

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The Incredible Shrinking WeddingThese days, more and more couples are following the “less is more” mantra when it comes to getting married.  In other words, wedding ceremonies are becoming smaller, simpler, and more basic over time.   In fact, this is one of the main wedding trends I have been seeing so far this year.  But this begs the question of what is driving this trend?  Well, I did a little research and I think I have the answer.

There are 3 primary drivers of this trend: the increasing average cost of a wedding in this day and age; the increasing average age of brides and grooms; and an increasing desire to avoid an inordinate amount of wedding planning stress.  Let’s take a look at each one in detail, shall we?

The first reason is hopefully self-explanatory – weddings are expensive, period.  The average traditional wedding costs in the neighborhood of $25K – $30K depending on where you are located.  This, coupled with the persistently poor economy, has prompted couples to take steps to slash their wedding budget.  In fact, there are many ways to cut costs: become a DIY bride; get married during off-peak seasons (i.e., winter wedding), days (i.e., Sunday – Thursday), or times (11am for example); and even do a quickie wedding.  But the most common tactic deployed for cutting costs is to minimize the guest list.  The second most common tactic is to forego some or all of the traditional lavish add-ons (such as limo transportation, a fancy sit-down dinner, centerpieces, wedding favors, and even floral arrangements) that add both complexity and costs.

The second reason for this trend is the increasing age of the average bride and groom.  Since 1950, the average age of brides and grooms has increased from the early twenties to approximately 27 and 29 years of age, respectively.  Now, I don’t know if there is an ideal age for first marriage or not, but it stands to reason that older people are less likely to want a Cinderella wedding compared to younger people, as people tend to become more jaded (for lack of a better term) over time.  Thus, the internal desire for a large dream wedding to impress friends and family gets dimmer as we age.  Additionally, older couples are less likely to have their weddings paid for by their parents – and when you’re footing the bill, the reality of the costs and stress tends to trump the desire to impress everyone you know by having the ultimate dream wedding.

Finally, people in general are becoming less and less tolerant of stress over time.  Thanks in part to the internet and other communication technologies, we as a society have grown accustomed to an expectation of instant gratification.  Because of this, we as a society are even more distasteful of stress than we may have been, say, 30 or 40 years ago.  Additionally, as people age, they also tend to become less tolerant of stress.  Thus, a growing number of increasingly-aged brides and grooms are opting to reduce the size and complexity of their weddings in an effort to reduce their overall level of stress about the whole affair.

As you can see, there are clearly some logical and legitimate reasons for the growing trend of smaller, simpler weddings.  Simply put, people are less and less willing to be bothered planning such an exorbitant affair just to please / impress their friends and family.  Fewer people can afford all the bells and whistles of a grandiose affair, and the older people get, the less likely they are to even want this.  And that, my friends, is the bottom line!

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