In, shall we say, less enlightened times, it was Burt Reynolds who once quipped “marriage is the most expensive way to get your laundry done.”
Well her was certainly right on at least one point – marriage (or at least the wedding part) – is often eye wateringly costly.
Businesses have long seen the head over heels couple as a great source of income.
Take the diamond engagement ring.
For centuries, a token of eternal and unbreakable love, right?
Wrong. Until the great depression of the 1930’s, only 10% of engagement rings contained a diamond. To overcome the economic slump, an advertising genius in De Beers, the world’s largest diamond dealer came up with the idea that an engagement ring should not only contain a diamond, but it should also cost at least a month’s salary.
Jump forward to the 1980’s and that suggestion had increased to two month’s salary and by then, 80% of rings contained a diamond.
The wedding itself has now become a stage managed spectacular. No longer is a brief reception in the pub function room or church hall the norm. The average cost of the wedding and reception is now nearly £16,000.
With the societal changes in the last few decades, many parents are unable to pay for the average wedding and increasingly the couple pay for it themselves.
The cost of the ring is dwarfed – a wedding is likely to cost not one or two month’s salary, but around ten months. Many newlyweds begin their life with at best, a much depleted bank balance, or worse – a large debt.
Some have been known to sell assets to pay for a dream day. Tom Cranenburgh of sell my house fast estate agent GetAnOffer has been approached many times to purchase a property to release equity for a wedding.
“Sometimes it is a spare property from when the couple were living separately and sometimes we are approached by a family member who is selling a buy to let to fund the wedding.”
“I can understand why people want a lavish event” explains Tom, “but a property can only be sold once, when it’s gone, it’s gone. It seems quite extreme for the sake of one day but maybe I’m just not so romantic!”
There’s no doubt that selling a property is a large commitment, but what price love? Even if there is some laundry to be done!