Is Chelsea Clinton Setting a Bad Example?
By BRETT ARENDS
I'm constantly amazed at how much some money people blow on the Great White Wedding.
But Chelsea Clinton's forthcoming extravaganza takes the cake. The $11,000 cake, reportedly.
So in honor of this weekend's crazy Gilded Age circus, here are seven financial messages for would-be brides, grooms—and their parents.
1. Yes, the wedding-industrial complex marches on. The Age of Austerity? Ha. If you thought the recession was going to kill the GWW, think again. "We're in a recession-resistant industry," says Carley Roney, editor-in-chief of Knot Inc.'s TheKnot, the weddings website. The company's data suggest that the price of the median wedding, which dropped from $19,000 to $17,500 from 2008 to 2009, has now stabilized this year. Revenues rose 16% in the first quarter of 2010.
2. Spending a fortune on a wedding is a choice, not a necessity. Chelsea's wedding is likely to cost $2 million to $3 million, says Ms. Roney. But first daughter Jenna Bush managed to hold a somewhat quieter affair for a lot less when she got married two years ago. She invited about 200 guests and held the wedding on her parents' ranch in Texas. It was hardly cheap, but at $100,000, the tab wasn't even in the same ballpark.
3. Spend what you can afford. Sure, the Clintons are spending a lot, but they are rich. Their net worth was estimated at $35 million not long ago. Chelsea is their only child. And Bill gets paid about $250,000 a speech. After taxes, that's about $160,000. So he could clear a $3 million tab for Chelsea's big day with 19 speeches. Even at one speech a day, that's three weeks' work. The average family maybe earns $3,000 in three weeks. Yet they spend about $17,500 on a wedding.