Marriage Rate Down but Cost is Up

The Langham Hotel in Chicago recently introduced an “ultimate luxury wedding package,” priced at $500,000 — which includes hotel rooms for 32 guests, ceremony and reception for 200, pre- and post-nuptial events, a $15,000 wedding gown, an $8,000-per-night presidential suite for the bride and groom plus more.

No takers yet, but it’s just a matter of time.

While the marriage rate has gone down dramatically (from 9.8% in 1990 to 6.74% in 2015), the price tag has gone up in equal measure.

Nationally, the average wedding in 2019 is estimated to cost $29,858 — higher for: Manhattan ($88,170), Metro Chicago ($49,151) and Los Angeles ($36,745).

Everything about weddings is more elaborate than it was in 1964 when Jack and I got married. We never heard of destination weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, wedding hashtags or the purchase of two wedding gowns.  (FYI, the latter is a new trend that saves the bride the humiliation of showing up at the reception in the same old thing.)

Jack and I were married at noon on a Sunday, followed by a luncheon at a lovely French restaurant.  My parents planned it and paid for it. Jack and I had virtually no say in any of the arrangements.

I do think it’s somewhat ironic that weddings have become more lavish and costly at a time when the bride and groom are older, already share a home, often have one or more children and own all the dishes, glassware, pasta makers and garlic presses  they’ll ever need.

And, of course, a big, fancy wedding is no guarantee the marriage won’t end in tabloid tragedy.

Delphine Arnault, heiress to the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy empire, married Alessandro Vallarino Gancia, heir to a dynasty of Italian winemakers, in a $7 million celebration billed as the “wedding of the year” in September 2005. The couple divorced five years later.

Liza Minnelli’s fourth marriage, in 2002, to David Gest featured a 12-tier cake, a 60-piece orchestra and a wedding party starring Elizabeth Taylor as matron of honor and Michael Jackson as best man. Presumably, the $3.5 million invoice was paid in full prior to the divorce a year later.

Actor/model Elizabeth Hurley’s eight-day wedding to Arun Nayar, an Indian businessman, began in a 15th century British castle and then moved to a palace in Jodhpur, India. The cost: $7 million. Length of marriage: four years.

The marriage of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries lasted only 72 days despite the $6 million price tag, which included a $2.5 million diamond headpiece and three different Vera Wang dresses. Kim’s next marriage to Kanye West was a bargain at $2.8 million but appears to be doing better.

I don’t think the price of a wedding can predict the success a marriage, but perhaps shelling out all that money would be more palatable if it could be amortized over a lifetime.

Come to think of it, the Langham Hotel might be more successful selling its $500,000 wedding if it offered a money-back guarantee. Please comment here.

Subscribe to Blog
Order Book
Please follow and like us:
By |2019-03-13T21:52:13+00:00March 13th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

A former marketing executive, Judi Schindler, is a past president and founding member of the Chicago Area Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. She is a member of the Leadership Team of Engaging Speakers and the Advisory Board of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. She’s listed in “Who’s Who in America,” “Who’s Who in American Women” and “Who’s Who in the Midwest.” Follow on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Subscribe to “The Toilet Seat Must Go Down!”

Leave A Comment

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)