Lion of the Blogosphere

Are engagement rings and expensive weddings preventing people from getting married?

Gucci Little Piggy linked to “Girl Talk” blog post that raises this intriguing question. It seems that poor people aren’t getting married because they feel that they can’t afford to get married. With the idea out there (created by the De Beers cartel) that men are supposed to spend two months of their salary on an engagement ring, and with the median wedding costing $18,086, marriage seems to be totally out of reach of minimum wage workers.

But this is totally the wrong way that people should be looking at marriage. Marriage, minus the engagement ring and the expensive wedding, is a smart economic proposition for poor people because it allows them to pool their resources and the social sanction of marriage causes people to act more responsibly which results in higher future income.

People who are actually pro-family, maybe religious leaders, maybe Republicans, maybe even Democrats, ought to be out there on the front lines getting out the message that you don’t need an expensive ring and a big wedding to get married. No one should ever feel that they can’t afford to get married.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Males and Females

73 Responses

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  1. Progressives Incorporated can’t promote marriage because a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. Actually, they can promote gay marriage, but not hetero marriage, which is just slavery for women.

    The fact that poverty rates are dramatically lower for married people is meaningless, since Prog Inc wants to encourage poverty, not get rid of it, despite their rhetoric to the contrary.


    January 14, 2014 at 3:14 pm

  2. On paper, marriage makes no economic sense for lower income people. A single mom can get way more free stuff from the government because she doesn’t have to put a husband’s income on her taxes. And the baby daddy can still hang around.


    January 14, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    • The problem with that scheme is that the baby daddy almost never hangs around that the mother ends up with multiple children from multiple baby daddies. No amount of welfare makes up for that.


      January 14, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      • That’s not necessarily true. The baby daddies may not be “around” in terms of being a father or man of the house, but they are most usually in the same geographic area and do slip the baby mama a couple of bucks. That incentivizes the mom to not report the dad for child support. It’s a rational system if your poor. But marriage blows that whole scheme apart.


        January 15, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      • Completely untrue. A welfare mother with several kids is earning a pretax income equivalent to $60,000 a year.


        January 15, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      • Map,

        Do you have a cite or link for the $60k claim.


        January 16, 2014 at 4:52 am

      • here is the data that single mothers are better off being on the welfare dole then working harder.

        eric Cartman

        January 16, 2014 at 9:00 am

      • Thank you, eric cartman.

        My experience is also anecdotal. I used to rent property to section 8 tenants.


        January 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm

  3. One suspects that those who could be opinion leaders on this actually think that their large ring and their expensive wedding are marks of high status and look down on those who don’t have that kind of marriage.


    January 14, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    • No, the thought leaders on this wear only a slim gold or sliver wedding band. You won’t find any diamonds on their fingers.

      The marbles in Lou Holtz mouth

      January 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm

  4. It seems to me that the reason the avg cost of an engagement ring and wedding have risen so much is that the underclass no longer get married. They’ve got cause and effect backwards.

    Bitter clinger

    January 14, 2014 at 3:21 pm

  5. Marriage is an expensive proposition because the single mom (the baby begets the question of marriage, in most cases) is at risk of losing her $30K/annual basket of goodies from BigGov.
    Low income men must compete with BigGov on the marginal utility of their incomes. When the squabbles start, he is dispensable.

    The current expansion of Medicaid in 14 states is a step toward gender equity. Now the noncustodial fathers will be eligible for Medicaid , just as the custodial mothers are.
    In my state, the newly cobbled Medicaid*HMO is worthless for accessing care, but at least the beneficiaries are protected from medical bankruptcy.


    January 14, 2014 at 3:28 pm

  6. Agree 100%. The idea that you should spend 2 months’ salary on an engagement ring is stupid. When I got engaged 9 years ago, I gave my fiancé a ring that cost me only $3500, and she was happy with it. Granted, we’d both been married before, but I “sold” the idea to my fiancé that she did not want to have a large, gaudy rock on her hand because it would be considered tacky and in poor taste. Our wedding was similarly low key; we got married in the clubhouse at the local public golf course, and had a small reception for about 60 of our closest friends.

    I think it would be great if influential people of either political party would get the message out that you don’t need a big, expensive ring and a costly party in order to get married, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. If the GOP were to do it first, the media would jump on it immediately, spewing nonsense about how it’s misogynistic to rob young women of “their special day.” Democrats aren’t going to say anything like this either because marriage tends to push people in a more conservative, self-sufficient direction. Single women, after all, are a big part of the Democrats’ base.

    Sgt. Joe Friday

    January 14, 2014 at 3:42 pm

  7. The marriage earnings bump only happens for men. They make 11 percent more than single men on average, but after paying all their family members’ bills, end up with far less discretionary income than the bachelor.

    Of course, if your plan to make child support voluntary for single people ever came to fruition, then married men on average would shoulder even greater spending burdens vs. carefree bachelors.


    January 14, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    • I never really understood why single guys should be off the hook, while married guys get the shaft under the lion plan? Or did he just not think it through?


      January 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      • Because a married man is implicitly agreeing to become a father when his wife gets pregnant.


        January 14, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      • “Because a married man is implicitly agreeing to become a father when his wife gets pregnant.”

        But doesn’t the exculpation of the single father become a de facto disincentive to marriage? I don’t see how pro marriage sentiments can be reconciled with releasing unmarried fathers from support obligations.


        January 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm

  8. “The Family Man” (2000), starring Nic Cage and Tea Leoni, and one of the most blue-pill movies ever, has a perfect vignette of how discretionary income, not total income, really matters.

    The bachelor Nic Cage wants to buy an Ermenegildo Zegna suit, then buys his Ermengildo Zegna suit.

    The alternate-universe married Nic Cage wants to buy an Ermenegildo Zegna suit, then is subjected to a lecture from his wife Tea Leoni, “What about the KIDS’ college FUND?!!11!”

    Of course, in the “happy ending,” Nic gets a second chance to woo Tea Leoni, who is question-beggingly depicted as oneitis-worthy despite all evidence to the contrary.


    January 14, 2014 at 3:55 pm

  9. The poor would also get a benefit from the married tax brackets. Dual earning SWPL couples get the shaft when $150k plus $150k=higher bracket, but two $30ks getting married is a lower bracket, but then again I dont know if all the earned income tax rebates negate that.

    Monroe Ficus

    January 14, 2014 at 3:59 pm

  10. Speaking of cheap engagements, I see that your Charles and Colvard moissanite engagement ring stock pick from back in the day turned out to be fairly prescient.


    January 14, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    • OH NO, it was a ten-bagger and I didn’t invest in it. If only I had put all my life savings in there, I’d be retired and wealthy now.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 14, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      • You should write a newsletter on stock-picking. Forecast the ebbs and flows of the markets using your unique insights into HBD and classes in modern America – Lion of the Wall Streetosphere.


        January 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    • CTHR is trading @ $4.75 now.

      What price did LOTB recommend it at, 40 cents?????

      Wade Nichols

      January 15, 2014 at 1:26 pm

  11. If we simulated 10,000 virtual Catherine Rampells, I wonder what the min, max, median and modal income of her husbands would be?


    January 14, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    • Her fiance is a professor at Columbia, so he will make a lot more money than a Walmart worker, and a lot less than an investment banker.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 14, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      • Walmart managers earn more than 50K a year. College professors who work for the Ivies, pittance wages for many years until they earn their dues.


        January 15, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      • @ JS

        The Ivies pay pretty well — assistant professors average about $85k/year, and associate professors average about $105k/year.


        January 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      • Someone starting out with a PhD at Columbia shouldn’t make 85K a year. More like 50K. I was just refuting Lion’s comparision with Walmart workers. Store managers at Walmart earn more than 50K a year. And that’s Bumblef*ck wages. The dime a dozen Walmart full time employee probably pulls in about 15K less than a freshly minted PhD who teaches at Columbia.

        Rampells’ fiance looks he just started his job. He probably needs to reach middle age until he makes over six figures. Of course, he will have some side gig like consulting fees to supplement his income.


        January 15, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      • He’s a professor, but the odds of a newly-minted PHD getting a professorship (a sopposed to adjuncthood) are lower than ever, aren’t they? That 50k at Walmart is looking pretty good these days.


        January 16, 2014 at 7:50 am

      • Average salary for a Walmart Store Manager, which is probably the highest grade of all their retail employees, is about 80K. Sounds unbelievable. And more unbelievable, given the fact that there are no Walmarts in NYC, so 80K is exceedingly high for Smallville Bumblef*ck, compared to 80K earned by a Columbia University professor in the Big Apple.


        January 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      • Looking at Chris Conlon’s resume and his Curriculum Vitae again, it seems this person basically has no social value whatsoever in the real world. And if Columbia is paying him at least 85K, people should be up in arms with people with “bum” professions.


        January 17, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    • You guys are clueless, so let me clue you in – a first year assistant professor of finance at Columbia will pull in about $220K in wages (plus 10% matching 401K and other benefits).


      January 16, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      • How much does a first assistant professor in English Literature at Columbia pulls in?

        No wonder it’s such a hot major!


        January 17, 2014 at 10:37 am

  12. When people say they can’t get married “yet” for whatever reason and end up being years-long fiancees, it’s just an excuse to cover up emotional ambivalence or trepidation from one or both parties. On top of that, “living together” tends to delay and/ or damage marriage since (usually) the man sees it as a delay tactic to marriage while (again usually) the woman sees it as a step *towards* marriage and these conflicting views come to loggerheads and spill into the marriage if it ever materializes. This is arguably why the divorce rate is higher for people who lived together beforehand, even when you account for attitudes toward marriage, education, income, etc..

    If you ever watch “Say Yes to the Dress” it’s pretty obvious that the women who can’t find the perfect dress after dozens of fittings actually have cold feet about the guy they’re engaged to.


    January 14, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    • I really really enjoy “Say Yes to the Dress.” I’ll turn in my ManCard tomorrow.

      Speaking of reality shows. A show called “Rich Kids of Beverley Hills” debuts Sunday on E! I look forward to LotB pointing out rich proles.


      January 14, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      • Another one that I happened to glance at last week is, “I’m pregnant and so is my teenage daughter.” 100% prole.

        E. Rekshun

        January 15, 2014 at 4:32 am

      • Are man cards surrendered at the same bureau that accepts vegan cards?


        January 15, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      • Speaking of reality shows. A show called “Rich Kids of Beverley Hills” debuts Sunday on E!

        This sort of trash TV is right up Lion’s ally. Watch as these young heathens are indoctrinated to the life of materialism, douchebagery, and wanton value transference

        The Undiscovered Jew

        January 15, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    • For a guy, there isn’t much reason to marry in an age when it’s far easier to get the milk for free rather than buy the cow. In ye olden days, you generally had to either buy the cow, or promise to buy that cow at a later date to get any milk, even a milk job.

      One of the ironies of feminism is that sexual liberation worked out much better for guys than it did for girls. They lost most of their relationship power.


      January 15, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      • It worked out better for the top 20% of guys. For everyone else, not so much.


        January 16, 2014 at 7:52 am

  13. $18,086 is absolutely asinine. I can’t believe people are that foolish.

    I’m glad I’m married to a level headed near-Ivy educated woman. Stellar human being. She detested the idea of an elaborate over-the-top wedding when we decided that our relationship was solid and it was worth being with one another for a long time.

    We spent around $1900 for everything. We had the wedding in our backyard and everyone looked nice. My wife is wearing one of my grandmother’s rings, re-sized. My grandmother had good taste. We had dinner for 19 at one of the best hotel banquet rooms in town. Unbelievable service, drinks, and food. Everyone had a great time.

    Spending an obnoxious amount of money on a wedding is unnecessary. What do you get for that $18,000? Dogs jumping through flaming hoops and Chinese acrobats?

    Mexican Drug Cartel

    January 14, 2014 at 5:02 pm

  14. In 1985, I paid $1400 for a nice 1 carat diamond engagement ring. Six months later, after that engagement failed, I sold the ring for $1200.

    In 1992, I paid $1000 for another nice 1 carat diamond engagement ring. That engagement, too, failed; though I still have the ring. One jeweler declined to make me an offer on it, but I think I’ll try to sell it again.

    E. Rekshun

    January 14, 2014 at 5:20 pm

  15. Also, perhaps increasingly more men are MGTOW, given the disincentives to marriage for men in today’s society.

    Oswald Spengler

    January 14, 2014 at 5:25 pm

  16. We had a blue-collar wedding, helluva party that cost about $1000, and all I wanted was a gold band. Now I wish we hadn’t even gone that far, just gone over the border for a quickie wedding.

    Weddings really are attention-whorish, though we did have a lot of friends and family in the area back then and it was fun to get them all together.


    January 14, 2014 at 5:41 pm

  17. As other commenters have pointed out, marriage is a net negative financially for working class. But I don’t think most of the elite of society has any idea what it is like to be a working man. To the elite, everyone has 18,000$ to throw away on a wedding. This is only one more reason why we need redistribution.


    January 14, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    • “To the elite, everyone has 18,000$ to throw away on a wedding”

      Heh. The elite spend ten times that on a wedding.


      January 14, 2014 at 8:28 pm

  18. Wedding porn (such as the show Say Yes to the Dress) has been horrible for marriage. Such shows end up encouraging people to have big, gaudy weddings instead of simple ceremonies. It is amazing how women lose all long term planning and thinking when it comes to getting married.


    January 14, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    • And of course just about everything wedding-related is grossly overpriced.



      January 14, 2014 at 10:09 pm

  19. Weddings are the culmination of the princess fantasy for women. She looks pretty much as good as she’s ever going to look, and all the attention is on her. The groom is normally a sideshow.


    January 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm

  20. Marriage is an outdated institution.

    If the future, the only people that will get married will be the gays and the upper-class (for status reasons).


    January 14, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    • Well if you look at the numbers, women with 4 year degrees+ never stopped getting married nor has their divorce rate, or out of wedlock birth rate, gone up much. So there is a sliver of society that still values marriage and doesn’t appear prone to change any time soon.


      January 15, 2014 at 1:24 pm

  21. I think you wrote about this story some time ago, but the reason this idiot gave for not marrying her black baby-daddy was because they were saving up for a $25,000 wedding reception. All she ended up with is three kids and no daddy or husband.


    January 14, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    • Don’t know where I got the $25,000 figure from. I just re-read the article and it merely says there were waiting to have a “big” wedding and reception. Oh well, same difference.


      January 14, 2014 at 7:28 pm

  22. OT,

    Alright Lion, we need either your review of Girls or we need you to copy and paste Peter’s always stirring analysis of how hard the show sucked, or did not suck.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    January 14, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    • I agree. I’ve been looking forward to the return of the Lion’s “Girls” reviews even more than I’ve looked forward to the return of the show itself.

      Anonymous Bro

      January 15, 2014 at 12:08 pm

  23. A wedding should be a modest religious affair. It should be about a man and a woman making serious vows to each other, not some asinine party with douchebag DJ.


    January 14, 2014 at 9:40 pm

  24. Look, you conservatives, folks who pride themselves on being less dopey-eyed than liberals about the world, are rather naive about this whole topic.

    Pumping the marriage rate will merely pump the eventual divorce rate. Further more, you will have more people living in acrimonious marriages. And nothing you hope to accomplish will change. Child outcomes won’t be better, breeding will not be more eugenic, etc. In fact, not much else would change; women won’t leave the work force, so the employment situation will remain. All you will have is a transition from more de facto to de jure baby daddies and not much else.


    January 15, 2014 at 4:11 am

  25. Along with absurdly costly marriages, another contemporary phenomenon that is quite disgusting is the public marriage proposal, though these are driven by attention whoring males rather than women. It’s very hilarious when they go wrong and the woman says no or just walks out. But a lot of times they say yes, and the whole thing of course is captured on video so we can all see their happiest.moment.ever.

    Apparently, this is not just an American phenomenon, as this remarkable video from Glasgow shows a Dutch actor stopping a theatrical performance in mid-stream (Peter Pan, no less) so he can propose in front of the entire theater. Watch me! Watch me! Watch me! At least she says yes, and she’s very cute, and neither is a fat American style pig. But still…. sooooo ghey.


    January 15, 2014 at 10:48 am

    • I’m sorry, I don’t buy into certain aspects of the red pill mindset, but a gigantic theatrical proposal just screams Gamma to me. Either the guy is a dandy attention whore (poor husband material, unlikely to be able to deal with stress well) or he’s breathtakingly whipped and she’ll get bored of him quickly.


      January 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm

  26. Maybe it’s a forlorn hope, but I look forward to 3d printing making exquisite diamond rings cheap.

    Joseph Moroco

    January 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    • Without the approval from De Beers the ‘exquisite rings’ will be worth the materials put in.


      January 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm

  27. Great post, Lion. As much as I enjoy the posts where it’s hard to tell if you’re being serious or not, it’s nice to see one about an important topic where you seem completely sincere.


    January 15, 2014 at 5:24 pm

  28. 18K is pretty cheap these days for a first wedding. I suspect that most women have in mind $50k plus-type wedding. So they might as well have a kid first. But then they’ve got to lose all the baby weight first.

    Steve Sailer

    January 16, 2014 at 2:39 am

    • Ordinary women who believe they deserve multiple years of the average American’s disposable income for a one-day affair should be dodged. Their tastes won’t get cheaper over time.


      January 16, 2014 at 1:54 pm

  29. I mentioned last year on glpiggy that the jerk who married my 2006-07 oneitis smooth-talked her into just a little cheapo JP wedding with the promise of a big ceremony as a reward for her getting her associate’s degree, lol.

    Obviously the big ceremony never happened yet they’re still married…Mister Studmuffin works at a call center for Allstate, for cryin’ out loud.

    But apparently if you have solid frame control you can scam a great girl into an average life AND avoid the pedestalization/princess insanity.


    January 16, 2014 at 9:46 am

    • Hmmm. This brings up the question: are Big Fat Weddings a response to the increasing feminization and beta-fication of men? Usually on those wedding reality shows the groom is a typical beta schlub. You don’t often see bad boys or obvious alpha men. Are women having larger weddings because they are, in their scabrous little hearts, actually unhappy with the chump they are marrying, so the wedding is their compensation?


      January 16, 2014 at 1:20 pm

  30. OT but…. here is the sound of countless millions of low-skill jobs disappearing.

    The Cathedral response to this? Moar immigration!


    January 16, 2014 at 10:06 am

  31. Marriage is for suckas!

    E. Rekshun

    January 16, 2014 at 11:03 am

  32. “People who are actually pro-family, maybe religious leaders, maybe Republicans, maybe even Democrats, ought to be out there on the front lines getting out the message that you don’t need an expensive ring and a big wedding to get married.”

    * If you are white and have a “religious leader”, chances are pretty good you’ll get married and the wedding will not be overly ostentatious.
    * If you are black man and have a “religious leader” and he’s not your prison chaplin, chances are ok you’ll get married and the wedding will not be overly ostentatious.
    * If you are neither of those, no amount of pleading from a Republican leader (say, John Boehner) or a Democratic leader (say, Nancy Pelosi) or even a “religious leader” (say, Jesse Jackson just for s&g) is going to do a fucking thing.

    Culture wins. Black and Hispanic cultures over the last 50 years have clearly turned against marriage. White culture is mixed – those who are religious or are upper-middle class or greater get married. Those who are not, do not.

    Bob Sacamano

    January 16, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    • Blacks attend church at a much higher rate than white but get married at a much lower level. The idea of church attendance is connected to marriage is not supported by the evidence.


      January 17, 2014 at 3:11 am

  33. Young men and young women (especially) need to put away the price ranges of yesteryear. Get a used, discount wedding dress; have the wedding at home; 2 zirconium rings. And then START POPPING OUT THOSE WHITE BABIES PLEASE.


    January 16, 2014 at 4:49 pm

  34. I’ve known a number of couples who were living together and said they were planning to get married as son as they had time/money for a good wedding. They always eventually broke up, leading to my theory that the expense is just an excuse.

    Sheila Tone

    January 16, 2014 at 10:31 pm

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