Wedding Planning Q&A: Why Are Weddings Expensive

Why is everything associated with a wedding so expensive? Is everyone in the "wedding industrial complex" in cahoots?

This is a question we hear a lot, so here is our armchair Freakonomics answer:
As vendors in the wedding industry, we know that there are a handful of wedding vendors who are making great money. We suspect–but don't have evidence–that most wedding profits accrue to big name jewelers and wedding gown designers, party rental companies, popular venues, and a few of the larger catering firms. The rest of the vendors who work in the industry, in our experience, are generally struggling to get by. They are mostly small business owners who have abandoned corporate life to pursue their life's dream of practicing a craft (photography, floral design, event design, etc.) and love the satisfaction of making people happy on one of the best days of their lives.