Using Questionable Statistics to Drive Up Wedding Costs?

What is the claimed average cost of a wedding in the U.S.?

$35,329 in 2016, says “The Knot” (not including costs of a honeymoon trip). More on their press release.

This value is *widely* distributed in the media, on social media, and in online forums.

Other estimates come from Conde Nast Bridal Infobank and The Fairchild Bridal Group.

How can an average wedding cost $35,329 when 62% of American have less than $1,000 in their savings account and only 10-20% have more than $1,000 in savings? (Perhaps this is because they spent it all on weddings and are now complaining they have no money?)

In my state, about 1 in 4 children live in poverty. More than 1 in 4 citizens qualify for Medicaid, which has extremely low income levels for qualifying.

The only way these numbers can all be true is a small number of people spend a huge amount on weddings or a large number live in poverty because they spend a lot on elective luxuries like high end weddings. Or the wedding estimates are bogus.

Propaganda Benefit

This survey is likely designed to produce a high dollar figure for the purpose of “anchoring” brides and grooms into an expectation of how much they should spend: The wedding industry wants you to believe you must spend a small fortune on your “special day”.

By anchoring this value, this “grounds” brides (especially) into how much is appropriate. But this is propaganda designed to set your expectations as to how much you should spend! Once this value is in mind, one’s costs will soon grow to fit with in this “budget”!

Undoubtedly there will soon be a Federal program to provide loans and direct subsidies to needy couples!

2 thoughts on “Using Questionable Statistics to Drive Up Wedding Costs?

  1. I think our neighbor said their grandkids weddings cost around $100K. We paid about $13K I believe for our kids wedding which included dinner for 100 guests and lodging which we paid for for some extended family. Fortunately the venue, a state park, was very reasonable and the “kids” truly wanted a taco bar/Mexican food which is the most reasonably priced. But, I think you are right, there are some ridiculously expensive weddings which make the average appear higher. And, the industry wants people to believe you need to spend that much. However, I know plenty who use justice of the peace/courthouse followed by a small party.


    • I suspect they use a biased, non random sample to get their high estimate, for the purpose of “anchoring” a high price in people’s minds.

      TheKnot, for example, surveys a sample of their own membership. Since their focus is on creating elegant weddings, their membership likely excludes those with simple weddings. Why sign up to TheKnot if you are not looking for elaborate trappings of a luxury wedding?


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