They say love costs nothing.
But that’s certainly not the case with marriages.
In 2022, Couples in the United States spent an average of nearly $30,000 to get married, according to a report from wedding website The Knot.
But it wasn’t always this way. In the 1950s, the “Complete Guide to Wedding Etiquette” advised couples to spend £30 ($38, or $482 when adjusted for inflation) for a reception that included the price of alcohol, according to the BBC.
In fact, it’s possible to get married for even less money today.
What does a $15 wedding get you?
A Las Vegas venue called Chapel of the Flowers only charges $15 for a wedding package including:
- A ceremony on site
- A 10-minute photo session and five 4×6 photographs
- A bridal bouquet and a buttonhole
- A live broadcast of the ceremony
The package price — which is normally $500 — is what couples paid to get married in the chapel in 1953, said Cynthia Sharpe, the venue’s storytelling director.
A photo taken in 1953 of a sign outside the Chapel of Flowers promoting its $15 wedding packages.
Source: The Chapel of Flowers
“Chapel of the Flowers wants to give back and thank all the amazing couples who have helped make Las Vegas the wedding capital of the world,” she said, referring to the city’s brand name.
The discounted wedding package is part of a celebration commemorating 70 years since Las Vegas was first given that nickname, according to a campaign promoting Las Vegas as “the wedding capital of the world.”
The package is offered to 70 couples on a first-come, first-served basis and does not include the minister’s fees, which amount to $70. As of today, all plans are still available, Sharpe told CNBC.
According to the US News & World Report, Nevada had the highest marriage rate in the United States in 2021. Couples can obtain a license and get married on the same day.
Other Inexpensive Options
Other Las Vegas venues are also offering discounted wedding packages, according to the campaign.
Couples can have an Elvis-themed wedding at the Little Neon Chapel for $470 through September 30, complete with a ordained minister dressed as Elvis, photos and room for 10 guests.
An Elvis impersonator performs a remote vow renewal ceremony during the pandemic at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller | Getty Images News | Getty Images
For $700, couples can exchange vows 900 feet above the city’s famous Strip, atop the Strat Hotel, Casino & Tower, the tallest structure in Las Vegas. The package, which includes a champagne toast for the couple and 15 guests, is available until December 30.
The danger of marriage debt
A 2019 report from financial services company LendingTree estimates that 45% of newlyweds take on debt to pay for their wedding.
Additionally, according to the survey, nearly half of people who were in debt when they were married said money problems had led them to consider divorce. Only 9% of couples without marriage debt reported the same, according to the report.
The survey also asked which wedding expense they considered most “interesting.” The most popular answer wasn’t about marriage at all, but about honeymoon.
LendingTree’s survey included 506 Americans, ages 18 to 53, who were married in the previous two years.
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