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Weddings: are they worth it?

by Rev Donald Geddes — last modified May 15, 2015 05:30 PM
According to a recent survey, an average wedding in Australia will cost $36,200! No wonder 30% of couples choose to live together before marriage simply because they cannot afford to get married. This is a matter of great concern.


WeddingIt means that many of those who do splash out on a formal wedding start married life with a burden of debt as few parents can afford to shoulder the total cost.

For many others, they have been living together and raising a family for years before they have saved enough for a wedding. This situation is one of the reasons why fewer and fewer weddings now take place in a church building.

For Christian couples, the cost of a wedding poses a real problem. This is a problem which churches must face.

If cohabiting is the result of economic necessity, is this a problem? New research shows that the try-before-you-buy approach of young Australians to married life is damaging the quality of their relationships. A survey by the Edith Cowan University found de facto relationships were more strongly associated with insecurity in the relationship than other factors such as poor health, poverty and work stress. Only 7.5% of married people doubt their relationship will last compared to 21% of de facto couples. Likewise, 42.5% of marrieds said their partners treated them very well compared to 31.2% of de facto partners.

As a result, cohabiting relationships are more likely than marriages to break up.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies reported that “in the early 1990s, 40 per cent of cohabiting relationships of women had ended within five years of commencing the relationship. Over the same period just 12 per cent of marriages ended within five years of marriage.”

The breakdown of relationships has serious consequences for the children. A High School Principal told me most of the discipline problems in his school came from children who came from de facto relationships.

From a Biblical point of view, marriage is considered essential because it involves a covenantal relationship based on strong mutual commitment. Sexual relations outside of marriage are regarded as immoral and wrong because there is a lack of life-long commitment. Sex without commitment is self-centred.

Paul instructs the Ephesian Christians: Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Eph 5:1-3

So, what is the solution to the high cost of weddings? The answer is clear: have a simple wedding without the expensive trappings. The most important part of the wedding is the taking of the vows before God. The celebration is good but secondary. It is not necessary to spend a fortune to have a joyous occasion. Nor does an elaborate wedding secure a lasting marriage.

Perhaps churches could help by offering a simple buffet or BBQ wedding breakfast where other Christians can join the newly married couple in celebrating God’s gift of marriage.