Here Comes the Bride... & the Bill

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

"Since we've been little girls, we've wondered what our weddings would be like," toasts the Maid of Honor at her big sister's wedding.
It's the day many girls looks forward to their whole lives, full of love, joy and new beginnings.
I ask the bride to say and spell her first name. She starts: "Shelli Phillips, S-h-e-l..." But stops short cut off by her new husband and corrects herself: "No it's Wandersee!"
It may take the bride some time to get used to her new last name. But for many newlyweds, the hardest thing to swallow is the wedding's price tag. By the time you add up the cake, dinner, a D.J., photographer, decorations and of course the dress, you could be looking at...
"It was about 40, with everything said and done and the honeymoon," Shelli and Matt Wandersee say.
That's just a little more than what one local wedding planner calls the average price today, a generous $30,000. But fathers of the bride don't worry, it doesn't all fall on you anymore.
"The bride and groom are much older when they get married and they are established in their careers and they want to pay more for their own," says Theresa Collier, a wedding planner with Trinity Weddings.
So why are the bride and groom willing to pay that much for one night?
"That's about two cars worth. But it's worth it because we're going to have these memories for the rest of our life," says Shelli Wandersee. "You only do this once," adds Matt.
Shelli's grandparents, married more than fifty years ago, remember spending just a few hundread dollars on their wedding. But they say that's not what counts.
"The cost has changed dramatically, but that's money and that's artificial, but the fact that the love is there. That's what marriages are built on," says Pete Phillips.
In the end, all that glitters may not be gold, but the love at the heart of the modern wedding still is.


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