Weddings these days big, scary business

It isn’t June, but weddings are making a lot of news these days.

First, the story in the Washington Post said the average wedding cost nowadays is $31,213 not including the honeymoon. This terrifies me, as I am the father of a daughter, who, while young at the moment, will someday be of marrying age. Yikes.

The $31,000 figure came from a survey of 16,000 brides conducted by XO group, which runs the website Something tells me that they didn’t interview a lot of brides who got married in their parents’ backyards.

The most expensive place to get hitched was Manhattan, at an average cost of $76,000. The least expensive? Utah, at $15,000. I shall refrain from joking about discounts for polygamists.

But $31,000 for a wedding? My goodness. I once bought a four-bedroom house for $27,500. Granted, this was back in the Jurassic Era, but still … 31,000 clams is an awful lot of shellfish for two recitations of “I do.” Then again, buying a house didn’t require catering, a band and a rented suit.

I have seen the wedding industry at work, up close. Excuse me while I shudder.

Once in Hawaii, I stayed in a hotel that doubled as a Japanese wedding factory. It hosted weddings by the dozens, and they came off like clockwork, and I do mean clockwork: Every 15 minutes a new bride and groom, gowned and tuxedoed to the fare-thee-well, would descend the staircase for wedding photos on the veranda. You could set your watch by it.

And once I was in Orlando, where certain theme park people do a huge business in making couples overdressed royalty for a day. They weren’t cranking them out like Hawaii, but I will say the horse-drawn Cinderella carriage needed new tires and a lube job when the day ended.

Now, there is some good news attached to the wedding price number. First, the brides and grooms are paying about the same amount as the bride’s parents (43 percent of the total cost), with the groom’s parents chipping in 12 percent. The problem is, that leaves 2 percent unaccounted for. I guess that money comes in an envelope from grandma.

And speaking of 12 percent, the survey found that 12 percent of brides and grooms are paying for their own nuptials. One day I will point this out to certain members of my family.

I shall also point out the statistic that says those who spend $20,000 or more on a wedding are three times more likely to end up divorced than those who spend $10,000. No word on the likelihood for those who elope, but I think it’s only smart to keep that option open.

Speaking of options, I like the story from India where a bride walked out of her wedding when she discovered that her intended was a nincompoop who had lied about his education. Seems she asked him — at the ceremony, mind you — to add 15 plus six. His answer was 17. The bride walked.

Boy, do I like the idea of a pop quiz at the altar. Seems you could eliminate a lot of problems that way. So believe me, on that far-off day when my daughter comes home wanting to marry some jasper and asking for 31 grand to do it, I’ll be the pop doing the quizzing.