Contact Sheila Weber
646.322.6853January 27, 2014
More Affordable Weddings can Help the Decline of Marriage
NEW YORK, NY – The rising costs and glamorized expectations of weddings in the United States are causing prolonged cohabitation and financial hardship for couples who want to marry, said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Sheila Weber, executive director of National Marriage Week USA (Feb. 7-14). Anderson and Weber encourage churches and couples to think about innovative ways to create meaningful, affordable marriage celebrations.
"National Marriage Week USA has launched a free video series, with 90-second and 5-minute stories to help people envision affordable ways to have a beautiful wedding experience," Weber said. "Right now many couples are on the verge of getting engaged or making summer wedding plans. This is especially true during National Marriage Week USA, which is the week leading up to Valentine's Day."
In brief video clips available at the National Marriage Week USA website , one bride tells how she created a wedding for $8,000. She bartered her time with a local florist in exchange for wedding flowers, a taco truck placed $3 burritos in chafing dishes, and her friends brought side dishes and desserts. Another couple shared how they got married in a home with an elegant dinner hosting their closest friends. "It was so intimate and moving, and everyone was crying," the bride said.
Anderson said he has seen an increasing number of young couples choose long-term cohabitation in order to save for a one-day wedding event. "When the couple is well suited for marriage, it would be better spiritually and psychologically for them to make the marriage commitment without spending their resources on an event that overreaches their means or puts them in debt," he said. "Churches can provide free weddings with donated wedding dresses and receptions to help people get married."
Weber continued, "This is a stewardship issue. Years ago, couples would have cake and punch in the social hall after a beautiful church ceremony, and instead use their money for a down payment on a home or a car. Maybe it is due to Hollywood or Reality TV, but we have a misplaced value system. Churches and friends need to rethink how we might find ways to help modest income families or couples move forward with more affordable wedding options."
In 1960, 79 percent of adults in the United States were married. Today only 52 percent are. In addition, 53 percent of all babies born to women under age 30 are not married. Research shows that children raised by their married parents have more opportunities and are more successful.
National Marriage Week USA serves to promote the benefits of marriage and provide resources for people to have more success with an online calendar of marriage strengthening activities all across the nation at www.NationalMarriageWeekUSA.org .
Three outtakes from expanded videos further down this page: