They say love doesn’t cost a thing.
But that certainly isn’t true of weddings.
In 2022, couples in the United States spent, on average, nearly $30,000 to get married, according to a report from the wedding website The Knot.
But it wasn’t always this way. In the 1950s, the “Complete Guide to Wedding Etiquette” advised couples to earmark £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 tie the knot for even less today.
What a $15 wedding gets you
A Las Vegas venue, called the Chapel of the Flowers, is charging just $15 for a wedding package that includes:
- An on-site ceremony
- A 10-minute photoshoot and five 4×6 photographs
- A wedding bouquet and boutonniere
- 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 director of storytelling.
A picture taken in 1953 of a sign outside the Chapel of the Flowers promoting its $15 wedding packages.
Source: The Chapel of Flowers
“Chapel of the Flowers wants to give back and thank all of the amazing couples who have been a part of making Las Vegas the Wedding Capital of the World,” she said, referencing the city’s trademarked name.
The discounted wedding package is part of a celebration commemorating 70 years since Las Vegas was first given that moniker, according to a campaign promoting Las Vegas as the “Wedding Capital of the World.”
The package is available to 70 couples on a first-come-first-serve basis, and does not include the minister’s fee, which is $70. As of today, all packages are still available, Sharpe told CNBC.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, Nevada had the highest marriage rate in the U.S. in 2021. Couples can obtain a license and get married in the same day.
Other inexpensive options
Other venues in Las Vegas are also discounting wedding packages, according to the campaign.
Couples can have an Elvis-themed wedding at The Little Neon Chapel for $470 until Sept. 30, which comes with an ordained minister dressed as Elvis, photos and room for 10 guests.
An Elvis impersonator performs a remote vow renewal ceremony during the pandemic at 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 comes with a Champagne toast for the couple and 15 guests, is available through Dec. 30.
The danger of wedding debt
A 2019 report by the financial services company LendingTree estimates 45% of newlyweds incur debt to pay for their weddings.
Furthermore, nearly half of those with wedding debt said money issues led them to consider divorce, according to the survey. Only 9% of couples without wedding debt said the same, the report showed.
The survey also asked which wedding expense they deemed the most “worth it.” The most popular response didn’t concern the wedding at all — it was the honeymoon.
LendingTree’s survey included 506 Americans, aged 18 to 53, that had been married in the previous two years.