This article originally appeared in The Northern Daily Leader on 23 June 2012.
Recent events brought to mind a quote I was sure I had read somewhere, which went along the lines of ‘May You Have Many Beautiful And Obedient Daughters’. It’s apparently meant more as an insult than a blessing; left unstated is the fact that the father of these many beautiful daughters will one day have to fund a considerable number of dowries as each daughter marries. Fortunately paying a dowry is not common practice in Australia, though it’s fair to say that we do have our own modern equivalent of a dowry payment – paying for your daughter’s wedding.
I’ve started thinking about weddings following the revelation that baby number 2 is going to be a girl. At least, I think so. Figuring out whether a baby in the womb is a girl involves looking for an absence of proof, rather than absolute proof that the baby is definitely a boy. Nevertheless, it seems as though the battle of the sexes in our household will be evenly poised once Kate pops out in late October (yes the name has already been chosen, and I guess ‘Rocky’ is sadly no longer an option). Getting back to weddings, did you know the cost of the average wedding in Australia is now $36,000? That’s roughly what you might expect to pay for a brand new Jeep Cherokee. Rather than outlay that amount of money on a single night, the bride and groom might be better off throwing a tent in the back of their new Jeep and heading off for a six-month trip around Australia, all for around the same cost.
It’s also important to remember that a wedding in 20 years is going to be a lot more than today’s average cost of $36,000. Ignoring the possibility that wedding cakes and dresses probably increase in price faster than the inflation rate, applying an annual inflation rate of 4% means that in 20 years the average wedding will cost around $79,000. I’ve known people to buy small houses for less money. The best approach to dealing with a significant future expense is to start early, start small. Assuming a 5% return on your savings, which can be achieved even with just a high-interest bank account, you would need to save only $192 per month. So it’s quite straightforward; less than $50 per week and you’ll have enough money in the bank to meet the cost of a wedding in 2032. Unfortunately making sure your daughter chooses the right man to marry is not as simple, but I’d encourage you to consider favourably any bloke called Rocky Baiocchi, in the very small possibility that he should one day appear at your front door.