Economy

Ridiculous Wedding Costs You Had No Idea Existed

Weddings tend to be ridiculously expensive (a 2014 survey from The Knot found the average wedding costs more than $30,000), and these figures can get even higher if you splurge on outrageous expenses.

Wedding Costs Are Soaring to Pre-Recession Highs

Many people expect to pay for officiants, food, and photographers, but with the explosion of the so-called "wedding industrial complex," there are a growing number of services related to contemporary nuptials that can be deemed highly unnecessary. Here are some absurd wedding costs that you probably had no idea existed.

1. A proposal planning service.

Some people dream of having elaborate proposals that go viral on social media, and proposal planning services can increase your chances of having a headline-making proposal — for a fee.

Proposal planning services can cost thousands of dollars, which is a lot of money to put toward the simple act of popping the question, especially considering all the expenses and demands of the actual wedding ceremony. Plus, if your proposal is rejected, you'll not only have a broken heart, but a thinner wallet.

2. Paid bridesmaids.

Last year, a writer named Jen Glantz made headlines for her bridesmaid-for-hire service, which aims to take the pressure off brides and bridesmaids during the wedding planning process.

"When I was in multiple weddings for friends, I saw behind the scenes for the wedding … I saw there was a lack of a person who is designated for the bride and her personal needs," Glantz told CNBC last year.

While a professional bridesmaid sounds like a great stress reliever, the services Glantz provides don't come cheap.  Glantz's average client purchases a package that costs between $1,000 and $1,200, and some can run as high as $2,000, according to CNBC

3. Engagement hand selfies

In 2014, a woman named Marie Valencis told The New York Times that she spent $3,000 to have the perfect engagement hand photo because she wanted a "smooth, plump and youthful" looking hand, instead of her scaly, sun-spot dotted hand. To achieve the picturesque hand, she paid for extensive cosmetic surgery, including gel injections. Dr. Matthew Schulman told The New York Times that he sees a lot of patients who want pretty hands for engagement photos.

“Once you see what your hand looks like on your computer or phone, you start to notice things you didn’t think were a problem before." — Dr. Matthew Shulman, New York Times

You can spend thousands on the engagement hand selfie process, or you can put that money towards your ceremony by announcing your engagement with a photo you took yourself.

4. Bathroom attendants

Bathroom attendant parody video

You've probably seen bathroom attendants in clubs, bars, or fancy restaurants. Washroom attendants, who make around $20,000 annually, according to SimplyHired, hang out near the sinks in every bathroom and offer you paper towels to wipe your hands, as well as other toiletries you might need during a night out. They also have tip jars, and some people are uncomfortable with the idea of being pressured to tip bathroom attendants when they're just trying to pee

 

 

Though wedding planner Lyndsey Hamilton told Brides.com last year that hiring a bathroom attendant could help keep the restroom clean during one's wedding, it also has the potential to make guests feel uncomfortable or forced into tipping for a service they're not really using.

"I strongly suggest that if you do plan to offer this service at your wedding, please pay the bathroom attendant beforehand and have them refuse any extra gratuity," wrote Merry Brides Tumblr blogger Jasmine in 2012.

Unless you know your guests are going to get so drunk that they can't use the restroom without assistance, you can probably save on this feature. 

5. Shadow Weddings 

Shadow Wedding

Before your actual wedding, you have the option of investing in a "Shadow Wedding," a mock ceremony in which you and your partner talk about your biggest flaws and shortcomings for a price of $2,500 to $7,500. It's easy to wonder why anyone would drop thousands of dollars to lay out all of their negative qualities and even go out of their way to look unattractive in front of their partner, but Shadow Wedding creators Jim and Jessica Benson insist that the process helps couples understand the less-than-perfect aspects of marriage that they can anticipate. A person's wedding day focuses on the positive, so the idea is that a Shadow Wedding can prepare a couple for rough patches ahead with each other.

While some might find this service helpful, there is plenty of time before marriage to experience your partner's true colors, bad days, and shortcomings for free. Jezebel writer Tracy Moore relayed this well in her own piece about Shadow Weddings:

"[T]here is already an existing experience out there that doesn't omit the murky aspects of getting married, that should explore relationship dynamics and family challenges and fear of commitment, and it doesn't require the planning of a second wedding ceremony: It's called dating. Living together. Also: Pre-marital counseling."

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