The Average Wedding Now Costs Nearly $33,000. Is It Worth It?

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by Alonzo on June 13, 2016

Getting married is becoming more expensive than ever. That’s the conclusion of The Knot 2015 Real Weddings Study conducted by wedding planning website TheKnot.com.

According to the study, couples spent, on average, $32,641 for a wedding in 2015. This represents an all-time high for wedding spending. Worse yet, the figure doesn’t even include the cost of a honeymoon.

While a wedding can provide memories that last a lifetime, at this price point, one has to consider if a traditional wedding is even worth it.

Consider, for instance, how else $32,641 could be spent:

  • According to a recent NerdWallet study, the average U.S. household owes $15,762 in high interest credit card debt. That $32K would more than free a couple from the stifling burden of such debt.
  • If a young couple placed $32,641 into a retirement account, earning on average eight percent return each year, and never contribute another penny, they would have more than $750,000 saved by time they retired
  • The U.S. median home price is currently $210,800. That means $32,641 could be used as a down payment on a home, jump-starting a couple on their journey to wealth creation.

Clearly, there are more financially-savvy ways to spend $32,641. But remember, $32,641 is the average amount of money spent on a wedding, meaning many people also spent less money and still fulfilled their wedding dreams.

So how can you keep wedding costs under control so that your marriage day doesn’t undermine the rest of your financial life?

First and foremost, it’s crucial to rein in costs by creating a wedding budget. A budget will force you to prioritize and identify what is most important to you as a couple.

Second, consider alternative wedding venues. According to The Knot 2015 Real Weddings Study, the most expensive part of a wedding last year was the venue (reception hall), which averaged $14,788 per wedding. Non-traditional locations such as a local lake, vineyard, public park, alumni college location or family member’s backyard can shave thousands off your wedding bill.

Finally, don’t be afraid to pare down the guest list. TheKnot.com reveals that couples spent $237 per guest last year. While not easy, inviting fewer guests could have a big impact on your finances.

A wedding is but one day in your life. You shouldn’t have to mortgage your financial future to enjoy the wedding of your dreams.

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