SHOW ME THE MONEY – Gen X and Y Weddings



It seems that weddings are a lot more complicated these days than I realised. My son and his bride signed the registration application at an office in Japan seven years ago – ‘much like paying your rates’ I was told at the time, and are happily anticipating a non-wedding party so their little girls can play dressups at some point. My daughter is happily ensconsed with her fella and they see no need to change their facebook statuses any time soon.  My mates have pretty well ‘been there, done that’, and are still either happily hitched after 40 or so years, or ecstatically single – with a couple of exceptions of course. There’s the friend who finds himself in the middle of an unexpected (to him) ‘VCE divorce’, along with a few more of his mates who are all equally bemused by why they are in the same boat. Then there’s another friend who was aware at his second wedding we were all taking bets on how long it would last. After all he was planning to continue living in his own place 20 minutes away from his new bride. He also threw into the betting pot and has just collected a considerable sum from the cynics on the occasion of his 10th anniversary.


But negotiating the intricacies of Gen XandYers weddings seems to have taken on a whole new dimension. My daughter and her mates are all in the midst of their first round of matches, hatches and a few starter divorce despatches. So it was with great interest that their concerns about ‘wedding issues’ drove us all to drink one Saturday evening recently. It began with a ‘we’re not too sure how to tell one of our friends that we don’t feel too happy about forking out over $1000 for our bridesmaid’s dresses. Then there’s the shoes – oh, don’t get me started on the shoes! She’s marrying a bloke who is a millionaire and he’s picked the dresses out, and wants us to pay’.  My comment that I bought the material for my bridesmaid, who then made her own dress, and wore it for years afterward, was met with utter bemusement.’ But we also have to fly to Sydney, pay our accommodation and buy them a present as well. And then there’s the ‘wishing well’.’


Apparently this is the latest thing a Xer’s weddings. Now, the concept is good – young couple, been living together for years so don’t need the 6 toasters we used to get ‘in the old days’, but putting the expectation of your financial contribution on the invitation really got the girls going. Should you put money in the same envelope as a card or separately, or directly into the nominated bank account, how much are you expected to contribute (apparently the equivalent of the cost of your meal and drinks as a minimum), do you have to buy a gift as well as the wishing well contribution? If you’re a bridesmaid do you have to double your contribution when your partner is coming along too?  My suggestion of just stapling money to the bride, European style, was thought frivolous.


In a quick, and clearly definitive survey of my friends, there was a direct correlation between the cost of their weddings and the longevity of their marriages. While the Xer girls found the prospect of 40 years together to be somewhat daunting, until I told them about another couple of old mates who are up to anniversary 66 this year, spending a house deposit on a party for people you hardly know, or like, in the hope they will contribute to your wishing well faded as fast as the champers we were drinking, as a chosen way to celebrate the beginning of a marriage. Well, at least for some of them.