Thanksgiving and the Inflation of Things Other than Macy’s Parade Balloons


I love this time of year. I always get excited about having a day or two to not worry about what’s on my plate (figuratively) to enjoy what’s on my plate (literally).

Thanksgivings, much like weddings, don’t seem to be getting any cheaper. You may have seen reports that  the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner has skyrocketed 13% this year compared to last, with our favorite bird being the worst offender at a staggering 22% increase!

It prompted me to wonder how much I would have saved should I have quit procrastinating sooner and planned my wedding in 2010. Interestingly enough, no index exists to give us a breakdown of how common components of a wedding have increased due to inflation over the years.  So I compiled my own from the Consumer Price Indexon the Department of Labor website for October 2011 vs. October 2010.

Food and Beverages 

The sharpest gain could be seen in the prices of lamb (25.3% increase). The level of cuteness of  proposed dinner choice must be proportional to rate of price increase each year. Fiance and I never really considered lamb; however, steak, which was initially an option, saw an 8.4% increase over last year. I’m certainly thankful we passed on the steak and decided to go with pork (5.9% increase), fresh fish (6.9% increase), and chicken (a real bargain at only a 1.6% increase over last year) instead.

The major increase in egg prices (22.8% increase) probably lead to a signficant increase in cake prices (5.1%).

Side dishes are more costly as well. Potatoes, anybody? Yes, that’s costing us 11.9% more this year than it would have last year.


The women always get the short end of the stick. Dresses are up 2.4%, but men’s suits are actually DOWN -1.1%. Don’t worry ladies, they’ll pay for it where it counts. (Women’s underwear is up 4.9%).


There’s nothing on the CPI that measures invitations, so I went with Household paper products (2.5% increase). I know we aren’t making invitations out of paper towels and toilet paper, but paper is paper. I’m going to venture a guess that the labor costs to put together invitations might be lower than they have in the past given the current state of the economy, but that’s just a hypothesis.


Photographer fees (yes, I was as shocked as you are to see this actually on the list) are up 2.5%. Thankfully, haircuts and other personal care services are only up .8%.  I wonder if my stylist will roll back to 2010 prices if I cut my hair .8% shorter.

We Might Be Paying More But…

Our guests will certainly make out just fine. Dishes and flatware, if we decide to put it on our bridal registry, are going to cost our guests 8.9% LESS this year than it would have last year.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Have an extra slice of pie for me – only seven months left for me to squeeze into that dress!

Did I read the CPI correctly? Feel free to poke holes in my research here.

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