Price of weddings, cohabitaion


Please do not assume I am attempting to make an excuse for couples living together before marriage. I am only reaching out to see if this thought has crossed anyone else’s mind.

Modern day weddings are extrmemly expensive I think most here will agree. I think most here will also agree that cohabitaion has become a widely acceptable cultural lifestyle. Furhter more, most young adult Catholics have had a very poor catecheisis.

I feel this makes for a recipe of young Catholics who intend to marry but have little money to choose to cohabitate.

Our societies ideas of what is important (such as lavious expensive and allow me add, unnecassary, weddings) contributes to poor choices.

I’m really not asking a question here. I am just venting I suppose. There are people I love, living together and it hurts me deeply. Not being able to afford a wedding is partially to blame. I’m not making excuses for them, only pointing out that societies warped ideas of what is important also leads to poor decision making.


One of the most fun wedding receptions I ever attended was in someone’s backyard. It was potluck, bring a dish to pass. And best of all … Bring a swimsuit to enjoy the above-ground pool. All present appeared to enjoy the event. :slight_smile: :thumbsup: :cool:

Another memorable wedding reception I found enjoyable was a “middle class” firehall reception, where decorations were a combination of balloons, crepe paper, and crafts made by the bridesmaids and dinner was buffet-style of tasty normal foods. Again, much fun was had by all, as captured on video. (Nice to have photographers in the family.) :slight_smile: :thumbsup: :cool:

~~ the phoenix


Oh no problem…Vent away!!!:slight_smile:

If you do a search, you will find old threads where people, both young and old, have suggested that instead of huge weddings that take years to plan and costs at least tens of thousands of dollars, young people think about sacling down the event. It has even been suggested in some of these threads, when it’s been discovered that a couple is using their extreme wedding plans as an excuse for living together in every sense of the word, that perhaps they get married simply and save the money. And when young people complain about the fees parishes charge for use of the church for a wedding, yet there are other expenses for the reception that run much more, people point out to those that they can always get married before a priest and two witnesses between weekend Masses.

So- you’re in good company!:slight_smile:


I think it’s lack of catechesis. If a person is well catechized, they will find a way not to live together.


Weddings don’t have to be expensive… ESPECIALLY Catholic ones! There is no hall to rent…you have it in the church! The fees for the priest and the cantor were very reasonable for our wedding.

Our reception was the VFW hall, which we got free or nearly free as my dad knew a member. The food was BBQ chicken and tri-tip with beans and garlic bread, which we got at cost because my dad worked with the guy who owned the catering business. I chose modest flowers, a simple gown that cost less than $500, and simple dresses for the bridesmaids (MOH +2) that they could wear again. The guys all rented their tuxes. We got a discount on photos by using the photographer who gave parish members a percentage off his prices. I think the most expensive parts were the rings (less than $2000 total), the bar (no idea), and the DJ (again, no idea, but couldn’t be more than a few hundred).

There is no reason anyone has to break the bank for a wedding. People choose to, but they do not have to. Using community connections is a great way to save.

People said ours was the nicest wedding they had been to in a long time. There was nothing pretentious about it.


Totally agree with Chicagoburbs… Here is a post I wrote some time ago about doing a wedding and reception cheap:

We had a total blast… there was something for everyone at the reception… imagine this… The U of I womens basketball coach (Theresa Grenz) came up to my boss at a tailgate party 2 weeks after my wedding and asked him if he had heard of my wedding!!! I was standing right there and when I told her she was talking about my wedding she was amazed… and I was amazed that a famous person had heard about and was gossiping about me! We became good friends after that.

Theresa Grenz is starring in a movie about her life when she was a student athlete at Immaculata College… will be out on DVD soon!!!


Hmmm, back in the day, when I was in college and a few years out of college. And I was only attending Mass on holidays and funerals. And I was cohabitating. Had nothing to do with the cost of a wedding or poor catechesis. Had more to do with just being young stupid and little guidance from my parents. I guess the “cultural norms” were also in there somewhere.

As far as expensive weddings. DH and I were married for under $2000 and that included everything, we were married in a Catholic Church also by the way. Personally, I would recommend a small simple wedding to everyone. Really brought home to DH & I what the day was REALLY about!!

I guess in some ways I can understand your rant, I just look at it a bit different.


I hear what you are saying :slight_smile: You definitely have a point. There is no need for a lavish wedding.


any stupider reason for not marrying than the cost of the wedding would be hard for me to imagine. sadly, I think you are exactly right that this is the thinking of many couples–and their families, even more shocking.

Cost for DD#1, shared on a per guest ratio (they have 3 times as many relatives than we do) by mutual agreement and planning, about 60% of the national average at that time for a “modest” wedding (300 people) catered in our new parish hall, dresses purchased off the rack and tailored, but everything elegant and nice.

Cost for DD#2, Cathedral, nothing, they were parishioners, so we gave a generous donation. Flowers, dresses, photos, cake and rehearsal dinner (picnic actually) were all gifts by various relatives. Reception for 30 in a hotel with whom groom had a business relationship, less then half the going price per person for a prime rib dinner in their restaurant, and they piped in nice music at no charge.

Cost for DD#3 dressy business attire by the bridal party, vows exchanged after Saturday afternoon Mass, with immediate families present, no charge for the church (again we made a donation), no cost for flowers, it was summer and the church was nicely decorated. photos donated by a relative, picnic in groom’s parents large backyard, everybody pitching in with food prep and cost, I bet the whole thing 6 yrs ago was under $500 for each family.

Your wedding is as lavish as you want it to be, but to use the cost of what you want as an excuse for extended time spent in mortal sin is simply ghastly and reflects absolutely zero concern for the sanctity of the sacrament.

I am proud to say all 3 daughters and their intendeds lived apart before marriage and have since stated that even tho it was hard to buck the trend they now understand the benefit of it and are deeply grateful for it in so many ways.

just attended the wedding of a coworker last week, on a weekday morning in church after daily Mass, so no charge for the church, and priest would accept no fee, his gift to the bride. the party was on the weekend at her parents home, a pool party, so all the kids on both sides of their huge extended families had a great time too, and it was a typical sotex affair with bbq brisket, chicken, sausage, and even cabrito. best food bar none I ever ate at a wedding (no I did not try the goat). She just finished college, he is still going so they did not want to spend a lot, so they could afford to get an apartment and furniture. Family donated all the food and fixins.

I have counselled 3 families just this year alone about their grown kids moving in with bf or fiance and strenuously repeated what these kids were taught about this in their confirmation class. Each of those families put on lavish quinceneras for these daughters less than 4 years ago that would buy you a nice new economy car.


Most on here will not agree that weddings are extremely expensive. See this thread:

To be perfectly frank, me and my wife used that “excuse.” It really wasn’t an excuse. It was just putting other things before the Sacrament.

Anyways, when we did get married in 1999, the wedding cost about $4,000 and we got $5,000 in wedding gifts. In short, we made money, so it was a very poor excuse indeed.

And before anyone comments, I did resolve this matter in the confessional.:rolleyes:


Here in Britain the civil ceremony can cost 20 GBP(about $40) for the marriage certificate (proof that you are married), if you just nip down to the registry office (if you’re not Catholic) you can just put a nice dress on, and I’m sure the groom will have slacks and a blazer and, hey presto: 20 GBP and you’re husband and wife!

For a Catholic wedding, again 20GBP for the marriage certificate and a donation to the priest for marrying you, and if you want a proper wedding dress you can borrow one, hire one or look in a second hand shop, I’ve seen 'em for 50-100 GBP in Oxfam and St Margarets Hospice shops!

Reception? How about a BBQ in the garden? Or rent a community hall (our local is 10GBP per event!)

Photos and video? Let a relative do it! Cheap and probably just as good!

Weddings can be CHEAP! Really, ours 7 years ago cost less than $1000,- in total and we had a reception and a meal for 45 guests!

People who don’t want to marry/can’t see the point will ALWAYS come up with an excuse:shrug: !



I know of two beautfiul weddings I attended that had really reasonable budgets, but beautiful none the less.

My one co-worker was married 18 years ago in a Protestant church. She had the reception at the condo clubhouse where they lived (yes, they were cohabitating and she was pregnant). They had very little money. Clubhouse for Reception - free, friends helped make floral arrangements from silk flowers bought at a warehouse, she made her dress and the maid of honor’s (I remember how excited she was to find the fabric on super-clearance.) The refreshments were lovely relish trays, sandwiches, beer and wine. It was a very fun afternoon. I think the total cost was around $100 +. Hard to imagine that would be possible today, but an inexpensive wedding is possible.

My SIL was married in AK 12 years ago. She too had a lovely Catholic wedding at a beautiful old church. She wore a beautiful ivory dress that was not a traditional wedding gown. The flowers and music were lovely, yet simple. The reception was held at a Cabin and was a casual barbecue. It was great fun…the food served caribou and venison the groom and friends had hunted.

The whole question reminds me of the master card commercial that lists the prices of everything, bottom line…the price of the sacrament of marriage to bind a couple for life - “priceless!”


I found this in my Hotmail account:

While I would like it be about about the return to old-fashioned values and respect for a hard-earned dollar, it it more of a whine about the “poor” bride and groom, who have a mortgage to pay, and bills (as if those of who came before them had no bills!).

The wedding industry has long been considered one of most recession-proof. Most brides, grooms and their parents see the “big day” as a once-in-a-lifetime event not to be skimped on. But unlike Cinderella and Prince Charming, who didn’t have to worry about a mortgage on the castle, more couples are finding it hard to swallow the average pricetag of items like wedding cakes (about $500), bridal gowns (around $1,300) and flowers (near $2,000).

Well, surprise, surprise! The bride and groom are not fairy-tale royalty, but real people!!! Who knew?:rolleyes:

I recently made a First Holy Communion cake for a special guy who did not want flowers, ruffles, or all that other “girly” stuff on his cake. It was two tiers, with gingerbread cookie angels as the decorations, because my young friend is African-American, and the angels had to be “brown like him”. I was very pleased with the result, as I had not made a truly special occasion cake in a decade. More importantly, the First Communicant was pleased, his parents were pleased, and everybody had two or three pieces. The leftovers were carefully doled out to the young man over the space of a week- and his mother says he had the cake for EVERY dessert; in fact, insisted on it.
It did not cost me $500 to make it. It did not cost me $100 to make it, even calculating time and effort. The actual cost for materials negligible, just three cake mixes, a package of gingerbread cookie mix, a little oil, a couple sticks of butter, some eggs, some powdered sugar, a little food coloring, a small angel cookie cutter, and the upper tier cake plate (I cracked my old one). It maybe cost me $15 to make the cake, and about 8 hours total hands-on time. If it had not turned out well, I was going to go to our local Sara Lee outlet, and “doctor” ala Sandra Lee some premade Market Day cakes. This would have cost me maybe $50 tops; more likely, about $30.

I don’t get people who want to live together in order to save for “our special day”. “Our speical day” does not have to be a sit-down reception for 300 at the country club with a choice of steak or salmon, open bar, and two bands.


pp is correct, using “cost of a wedding” as an excuse to cohabit is just that, an excuse, not a reason.
so is the excuse "we are living together to save money"
The fallacy of “two cohabiting people can live together cheaper than two married people” is ludicrous.

in a similar vein is “cost of pregnancy, childbirth and raising children” as an excuse to contracept. It is an excuse, not a reason. The purpose of marriage is to have a family, and if you say “we can’t afford a family” you mean “we cannot afford to marry”. the actual cost of of what you need to have a baby vs what you want to make your baby’s life look like the magazine, is also a stupid comparison. you need diapers, a few shirts or other garments, and a safe padded baby-sized container for her to sleep in, and two functioning breasts. all else is extra (let grandma buy it).

children need 2 or 3 outfits, and 2 or 3 basic toys. their parents want them to have enough clothing and toys to outfit the inhabitants of a 3rd world orphanage. and so on. I remember our old Slovenian neighbor lamenting about the mountain of toys in the home of her grandchildren, “In all of Slovenia, when I am a girl, is not so many toys as in this room.”


Agreed. It makes zero sense for FH and I to live separately in the same city from an economic standpoint. It’s annoying that I have to explain MYSELF to others when the realize we do not live together. One girl said, “Oh, it’s nice that you’re so traditional”. :rolleyes: What do you say to THAT?!

Yes, it is an accepted cultural lifestyle. Catholics must be counter-cultural on this issue,especially since it would lead most to conclude the couple is engaging in premarital intercourse and contracepting. :nope:


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