A wedding in America currently costs, on average, about $29,548

Via Quartz, which is in turn via a 2013 survey done by the good folks over at The Knot, we now have an idea that the average cost of an American wedding is about $29,548. In the 1930s, a wedding cost $392. Before you scream “The good ‘ol days!” from the rooftops, consider that $392 U.S. in the 1930s is about $6,500 today (goddamn inflation), but then consider this: the 1930s total typically represented 1/4 of average American income for the people paying for it (usually the parents of the bride). Today’s total can represent 1/2 of the average income. That’s a big jump.

One ridiculous thing from the Quartz article: some couples currently hire “social media coordinators” to make sure the right stuff is getting posted on the weekend of / big day. That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Let your friends post what they want; keep those communications to the outside world — including those that couldn’t be there — as organic as possible. A “social media wedding” seems like a totally forced thing. I could be wrong there, though. I typically am.

I had a church wedding last March (well, March 2013) and I learned a few things about costs and priorities in the process. I don’t really want to outline them all here, but I will say this: if the average cost is about $29K (which in some respects might seem low), then this basic fact needs to be re-considered: it’s not really about “anything the bride wants.” Rather, it’s about that — to an extent — and also about making sure the parents of the bride have their core friends and peoples there. I mean, would you spend 30K on a party and not invite your friends? Probably not, right? That’s always one thing that has gotten me about weddings. I do believe it’s primarily “the day” for the couple involved, and specifically the bride … but to think it’s just a party for the peer group of the married couple is utterly misguided, and that can sometimes lead to fights with other weddings I’ve seen planned (with mine? Only a smidge).

Considering most people in the United States make somewhere between 25 and 50K, this whole wedding cost thing has kinda pushed “the traditional wedding” idea to the middle-to-upper-middle class.

Ted Bauer