The wedding industry has been accused in the Lords of “ramping up expectations” for the big day.
The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, said marriage itself mattered more than the “commercial trappings” of the wedding day.
At question time, she said weddings did not have to be an “expensive extravaganza”.
The bishop’s comments came as peers urged ministers to back the institution of marriage and recognise National Marriage Week next month.
Commending marriage week, she said one of this year’s themes was that weddings did not have to be an “expensive extravaganza” and pointed out that fees for a church wedding or a simple registry office ceremony were “very modest”.
The bishop said: “The wedding industry is busy ramping up expectations of what a special day should involve.”
She urged the Government to encourage couples to understand “that marriage itself matters far more than the commercial trappings of a wedding day”.
For the Government, Baroness Scott of Bybrook said she agreed with the bishop on the “ever increasing cost of weddings” but was not sure it was an issue ministers should get involved in.
Lady Scott said the smaller weddings due to Covid restrictions had “perhaps made people think they do not need the huge weddings that they have had in the past”.
Tory Baroness Eaton said it was 10 years since a minister last recognised National Marriage Week.
Many peers regretted this and would welcome recognition of the “stability bound in marriage” and the benefits this brought to children, Lady Eaton said.
Lady Scott said ministers had no plans to recognise the week but did acknowledge the role marriage can play as the basis for family life.
She said families came in “all shapes and sizes” and the Government wanted to ensure that “any type of family can provide a nurturing environment for children”.