The Economics Of Weddings Continue To Blow Our Minds

Illustration for article titled The Economics Of Weddings Continue To Blow Our Minds

Anyone who's read Das Kapital — or for that matter, Lucky magazine — knows that a market economy cannot flourish without the creation of new wants for things like platform sandals and penis-shaped bachelorette party balloons. This, of course, is the same economic reasoning behind the the modern American wedding biz, which has evolved into a $160 billion industry that (roughly) eclipses the amount of money Americans spend on meat. Which we find — from a detached economic perspective that takes into account that 1) jobs like "wedding planner" and "bachelorette party DJ" are not easily outsourcable to India and 2) we just received a "Save The Date" notification in the mail that clearly cost more than our monthly insurance premium — not at all surprising. However: A keen observer the likes of The New Yorker's Rebecca Mead has managed to find absurdity in even the most predictable scenarios found within the "selling of the American wedding", as The New York Times proves in an article about Mead's new book One Perfect Day:

The wedding special is $720 for 3 ½ hours and includes an aisle runner, Champagne, bar and "horns" that play a recording of "Here Comes the Bride" when the car stops. Ever the experienced shopper, Ms. Mead asks how much the regular rental would be, if there were no wedding. "A four-hour minimum is $576." So you could spend $144 less and receive a half-hour more? Why not do that instead? "You can't," the saleswoman replies. If it's a wedding, you must do the wedding special." After taking a few steps away, Ms. Mead said, "This is the kind of thing that I'm really interested in — that mentality: you're going to get the horns whether you want them or not."


Intrigued, we decided to IM our fellow bridesmaid in an upcoming Destination Weddingpalooza about just what Rebecca Mead is trying to sell us.

Jezebridesmaid: So my question is, what is up with the whole wedding thing?
How much do you think Bridezilla's wedding is costing?
I am supposed to write about this but I am just sort of dumbfounded
You had a nice wedding.
Did you feel societal pressure to do so?
Notbridezilla: honestly, and i'm only telling you this confidentially, i think my wedding cost $65g, not including honeymooon
Bridezilla's must be 3+ million
Jezebridesmaid: ohhhhh....mygod
Notbridezilla: and yes, i felt pressure.
Jezebridesmaid: how do you decide how much to spend?
Notbridezilla: i'd rather own property, but parents want a blow-out
plus, once you're in it, you're in it
you gotta have the best band, the best flowers, the best dress
forget a budget
it's insane
Sent at 4:48 PM on Wednesday
Notbridezilla: and then you're like reading the knot and you hate the knot but you read it because you're spending all this time and money getting thin (and you think i'm obsessed now, last year i ate literally lettuce)
Jezebridesmaid: JESUS
there needs to be a support group for this shit
Notbridezilla: and you just pray that nothing goes wrong because people have been telling you for ages how you just get this ONE DAY
and you're like, um, what about the MARRIAGE
Jezebridesmaid: and you believe them because you are starving?
and your brain is addled by starvation?
and you're like "that's RIGHT, THERE IS ONLY ONE DAY"
Notbridezilla: and then three weeks before the wedding when everything hits the fan (which it will) and your future mother in law is on her like 6th makeup trial because she thinks it's her wedding, you will contemplate divorce
because at that point your future husband's CHEWING is driving you crazy
and you're like, the rest of my life is a LONG TIME
Jezebridesmaid: so boomer parents with excess liquidity are basically driving this industry
they're driving the demand
just like the real estate market!
we just need to raise their taxes
Notbridezilla: it's like the princess phenom among 3 year olds
Jezebridesmaidis the honeymoon at least fun?
what you up to this weekend?
Notbridezilla: friday i've got a bachelorette party — wanna go?
Jezebridesmaid to the maritime hotel?
Jezebridesmaid: sure!
Notbridezilla: yay!!
you should totally come
Jezebridesmaid she loves you.
Jezebridesmaid: how approps! a bachelorette party!
Notbridezilla: it gets better — her fiance's brother is a millionaire (works for that leverage buyout firm, kravis or something) anyway, the bachelor party is on a yacht called "We Won"
Jezebridesmaid: uhhh, we LOST.


Love, Honor, Cherish And Buy [NYTimes]

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