In Defense Of Expensive Weddings

by Zoe Pollock

Even though he didn’t have one himself, Noah Berlatsky believes there may be some merit to a $27,000 wedding, currently the average cost in America:

In his book Debt: The First 5000 Years, for example, David Graeber notes that “for most people in the world…the most significant life expenses were weddings and funerals.” It’s not like we’re the first civilization on the planet that has ever gotten it into its heads that marriage is a big deal, nor the first people to commemorate it, in one way or another, with a large outlay. Major life events are major life events. What are you saving for, if not for them?

Along those lines, Eugene Genovese points out in Roll, Jordan, Roll, that there is something more than a little indecent in the eagerness with which middle-class folks have, throughout history, chastised the poor for paying too much for funerals. Genovese argues that “respect for the dead signifies respect for the living—respect for the continuity of the human community and recognition of each man’s place within it.” Similarly, it seems like wedding expenses—whether totaling $1,000 or $27,000—aren’t extravagant waste but a way of showing respect for the community, and of the place of love within it.

Ann Friedman proposes other life events that deserve a big bash.