Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gram Parsons: Answering David Hepworth's question

$1000 in 1973 is roughly the equivalent of $5289 in 2013. [Source: Wolfram Alpha/US consumer price index]

The average spending on a wedding in the US today is $28,082 [Source: Association of Bridal Consultants]

So, cheap by modern standards.

But what of 1973 itself?

Steven Rubio has shared the costs of his 1973 wedding - $111.53. But...
It was an inexpensive wedding, even in 1973 dollars. She saved money by making her own wedding dress (and my wedding shirt). We got married by a friend who was a judge, in a public park, so no expenses there.
So, the $1000 wedding wasn't expensive compared with modern weddings, but it certainly wasn't a barebones budget. Flash for the time, then?

But there's more...

The piece on the song suggests the $1000 was just the cost of a dress:
The longer version probably had very little of the mystery that distinguishes the surviving version. Fong-Torres links the lyrics of the song to a specific biographical circumstance: Parsons was engaged to Nancy Marthai Ross and took her to his favorite couturier--Nudie Cohen of Nudie's Rodeo Tailors--to have a dress made, but Ross had reservations about and never paid for the $1000 wedding dress.
If the song really is just about the dress costing a thousand, given the 2013 average price of a dress is just $1,211 [source: The Knot survey], that makes it a very expensive wedding indeed.