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March 02, 2020 / Megan Edwards
How much a wedding really costs

How much a wedding really costs

Turns out that you can put a price tag on “I do.” And it’s a steep one — at least according to The Knot’s 2018 Real Weddings Study.

The national average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $33,931, the digital wedding-planning company’s research shows. Keep in mind, that sum doesn’t include the amount of money couples spend on an engagement ring or the honeymoon. Of course, the price varies significantly and depends upon a wide array of factors, including location, timing, number of guests and style.

jar filled with coins and wedding sign on frontSo, where’s all that money going? Here’s the average breakdown for conventional wedding expenses, according to The Knot:

  • Ceremony venue: $2,382
  • Reception venue: $15,439
  • Rehearsal dinner: $1,298
  • Photographer: $2,679
  • Wedding dress: $1,631
  • Florist/décor: $2,411
  • Wedding cake: $528
  • Wedding planner: $2,002
  • Favors: $245
  • Invitations: $386

How can you manage the cost of your wedding?

If you’re looking to trim expenses as you plan your special day, here are some things to consider:

Head count: The Knot’s research indicates that couples host an average of 136 guests and spend an average of $258 per guest. At that rate, with just eight fewer guests, you could save over $2,000.

Timing: That June wedding comes with a price. Venues usually offer lower prices during the off-season, which falls during January and February.

Reception entertainment: The reception bank, according to The Knot, costs an average of $4,247. You can save thousands by skipping the live entertainment and opting for a DJ. Better yet, make your own playlist and plug your phone into a speaker.

Day of the week: Choose an off-peak day, like a Friday or Sunday, and save thousands on venue costs.

Limit alcohol choices: The Knot’s study found that the average couple spends $2,564 on alcohol for their wedding. Alleviate that expense by having a cash bar or opting for cheaper booze.

Bottom line

Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture as you plan your big day. Yes, you can make it special, but a wedding should not ruin you financially. Think about what comes after it, like purchasing a home, having children and, eventually, retiring.

Megan Edwards is compliance and security support specialist at F&M Trust

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