The different rituals and customs associated with marriages in many different
cultures are important. They are a way of announcing to the world that these two
are now a couple and people should respect that. How unfortunate it is that some
people want to take advantage of these customs by making a huge profit on them
and raising the expectations. I like the way it is done in the inter-mountain
area with a small group for the wedding followed a light refreshment reception
or two afterward. They aren't cheap but they come nowhere close to these
expensive weddings mentioned in the article.
I'd guess if you're a gay couple Salt Lake would qualify since you
have to include travel as a wedding cost...
Too bad we can't go back to our ancestors traditions. Most of them simply
went to the minister or the justice of the peace, and got married. Or the
officiator went to their home and married them. They wore their own clothes,
usually their best, and may or may not have had their families and friends
there. The whole big party for regular people getting married is a fad driven
by the media since the early 20th century - when folks saw big fancy weddings in
the newspapers, TV and movies. Even if you do have to have a
"wedding", for heaven's sake it doesn't have to cost tens of
thousands. Thrift stores, outlets, and dollar stores for dresses, invitations
and decor. Costco/Sams Club/pot luck for food. A public park or home for a
venue. (LDS of course have the advantage of the local ward house for the
reception and the temple for a no cost option.) 10 years later nobody is going
to remember your reception. They all blur together. It's
marriage that matters, not the wedding.
So which are the least expensive places to marry? I'm betting Utah and
Idaho are on that list.