"Pay attention: These are our values." That’s what we’re saying when we make decisions about spending money or ask others to spend money on our behalf. For an engaged couple, it all starts with the wedding. Brides magazine reports that the average cost of a wedding today exceeds $19,000. That amount includes more than $4,000 for rings, $7,500 for a reception, $1,500 for flowers and—much lower on the budget list—$250 for clergy.
The wedding industry involves florists, jewelers, invitation printers, restaurants and country clubs for receptions and wedding meals, as well as limousine companies, wedding shops, travel agents, photographers and professional wedding singers. Professional photographers are available for videography (average cost $1,311 and up) and photography ($1,500 and up), which provide a permanent record of the occasion even as they turn a religious event into a photo shoot. Couples once rode in the best man’s car; now they rent a limousine ($400).