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Comparing Wedding Costs: the 1930s and Today

ISS_4329_02128.jpgHave you ever stopped and thought about just how much weddings cost today?

Pop quiz: what was the average cost of a wedding in 2013? Did you guess about $30,000? If so, you’d be right! The average is actually $29,548 -- does that shock you at all? Take a second to think about all the things $30,000 could be used for. A new car. A down payment on a house. Even a long, extravagant trip to Europe. Instead, people are spending it on one day. Granted, this day will be one of the most memorable, but after seeing that staggering average cost, you’re probably thinking: when did people start spending this much on weddings?

This article, which references a 2013 survey from The Knot and a 1939 study on the cost of weddings, compares today’s current wedding costs and spending habits to the costs and habits in the 1930s.

So, we already know the average cost of a wedding today is $29,548, but what about the 1930s? The average wedding costs back then were $392.30 (which is $6,481 when adjusted for inflation). Now, that might seem like a large difference, but it’s important to keep this in mind: the Great Depression was happening during the 1930s. During this time, unemployment rates ranged from 17% to 20%, so spending this much on a wedding is still significant.

Today, the average wedding cost is about 49% of the median household income. In the 1930s, it was 25%. This just shows that Americans have been doling out big sums for weddings for a long time.

When you start comparing specific costs from today to the 1930s, the cost similarities are even more striking. For example, a bride today pays an average of $1,281 for a wedding dress. And the average cost of a 1930s wedding dress? $1,092 (in today’s dollars). 80 years -- and there’s only a difference of $189! The difference between the cost of present and past grooms' suits is even more interesting. The average groom suit today is $248, down $505 from the 1930s (which is probably due to mass production more than anything else).

Let’s not forget about our favorite topic: wedding ring sets. The cost of the average engagement ring has shot up significantly. The article notes that one-third of engaged couples didn’t have an engagement ring at all. The average cost of one in the 1930s was $1,824 (in today’s dollars). Any idea on how today’s average cost of a diamond engagement ring compares? It’s staggeringly high: $5,600. And if that’s just for the diamond engagement ring, think about what the average for all three wedding rings must be.

Of course, there’s no reason why you should pay $5,600 for just one ring when you can get one of our gorgeous wedding ring sets for less than $1,000 (which is even less than the average of one ring in the 1930s!). We pride ourselves on being able to offer high-quality products at very affordable prices, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t take advantage of it. Think of all the other places you could use that money, Maybe you’ll put it toward the rest of your $30,000 wedding budget. Or maybe you’ll take that trip to Europe after all.

Planning to get down on one knee? Take advantage of our She Said Yes! special - buy an engagement ring now, and get 10% off a future wedding band set.

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