Monday, June 17, 2013

NEWS: “Average Wedding Cost” Figure is Grossly Misleading...

Remember the terms mean, median and mode from math class?

In Slate online magazine's 2013 wedding issue, writer Will Oremus lays out why the oft-quoted, oft-cited  'average wedding cost' figure should really be based off the median, or middle value, and not the mean, or average, amount spent.

Think about it: the higher the 'average', the more a couple will feel they're falling in line with other couples in their area...assuming they use other couples to compare their own weddings' costs. In the Slate piece, Oremus says quoting only the average makes sense in the interest of benefiting the wedding industry: "...If you’re in the wedding business, one big-spending couple can make more of an impact on your bottom line than 10 typical couples". Even The Knot's editor-in-chief insists “Couples (should) calculate their budget based on a variety of factors and those factors are the only things that should be considered—not what other couples did or spent.”

"The Wedding Industry’s Pricey Little Secret" shows why median could be a much more accurate number. For example, according to the article, in Manhattan the widely reported average is $76,687, whereas the median is $55,104. And in Alaska, the average is $15,504, yet the median is a mere $8,440.

The actual median is probably even lower: often, studies survey the upper economic scale of weddings, and only include the subset of couples who sign up for wedding websites and respond to online surveys. In other words, the sample is skewed and not a true sample of to-be-wed or newlywed couples.

All this is why i will now rely on for different figures. And i apologise for spreading the "average" around in the past.

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