NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Weddings in the movies are especially beautiful when the moviegoer isn't paying the bill, but wedding planners across the country get a box office boost every time Father of the Bride plays on TBS (Stock Quote: TWX).
If movies didn't affect the wedding industry there wouldn't be YouTube video of would-be Princess Buttercups dressed for their Princess Bride-themed weddings to their Wesleys in waiting. There wouldn't be clips of officiants trying to replicate Peter Cook's "mawage is wot bwings us togevah" line from Buttercup's aborted marriage to Prince Humperdinck. Part of the reason weddings are a $74 billion industry in the U.S. and couples lay out more than $24,000 for the average wedding, according to market research firm The Wedding Report, is because they want a little part of that big-screen romance.
For Sharon Naylor, author of more than 35 wedding books, including 1001 Ways to Save Money and Still Have a Dazzling Wedding, it all boils down to one simple truth she's learned from years in the wedding industry: "Brides fall in love with wedding images in the movies."
"I think we all caught our breath a little bit when we saw the wedding ballroom in the Steve Martin remake of Father of the Bride ... but we also fell in love with how gorgeous the Banks family house was!" Naylor says. "Disney (Stock Quote: DIS) showed us how it's done, and countless brides wanted that wedding so badly they brought images to their coordinators, and many went to Disney to have their fairy tale wedding created with all of those magical touches."
That attention to detail can turn a small production into a big-budget affair in a hurry. As it is, 42% of engaged couples who responded to wedding site TheKnot.com's (Stock Quote: KNOT) Real Weddings survey said they went over budget on their weddings last year. Another 16% did away with budgets altogether to ensure their big day finished happily ever after. Couples should realize, however, that most movie weddings require studios with deep pockets and sponsors willing to chip in for product placement. Your wedding may be lovely, but it's just not going to get a can of Coke Zero in front of enough eyeballs to justify an investment from Coca-Cola (Stock Quote: KO).
"It's not a mistake to be inspired by movie weddings, but keep in mind that movie-creation budgets are a lot higher than what a wedding couple or their parents can afford. Falling in love with movie magic very often grips the bride's and groom's emotions, as well as their film-loving parents' emotions, boosting those impulse add-ons and elevating the wedding's cost," Naylor says. "Just pull out one or two elements from the movie you love, and adjust your budget to make room for it."
To give brides and grooms some idea of what goes into movie weddings, TheStreet called in three wedding planners and event designers to look at some of the most iconic movie weddings of the last few decades. They looked at four of the heavyweights and put together detailed breakdowns of what those weddings would cost today. From Julia Roberts' splendid Southern ceremony to Jake Ryan waiting outside with his Porsche 944, our wedding professionals put a price tag on each of these priceless movie wedding moments: