When my best friend got engaged a year and a half ago, she joked, “I’m already drowning in debt from my education — what’s another few thousand, right?” We laughed, cried, and shared a moment of silence to let the reality of that statement sink in. Since then, I’ve learned that the amount of money spent on a wedding is not proportionate to how enjoyable, beautiful, or memorable it is. But what’s the overall cost of a wedding? As it turns out, it varies, like, a lot.
According to The Knot’s 2018 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding in 2018 was $33,931 and it’s worth noting that doesn’t include the honeymoon. Before you start panicking, however, consider this: The Knot reports that the average cost varies vastly depending on the location, unsurprisingly, it’s far more expensive to tie the knot in a big city like New York or Chicago than it is in a smaller, rural locale. The most expensive factors, according to The Knot’s study, were the reception venue ($15,439), ceremony venue ($2,382), engagement ring ($5,680), and photographer ($2,679). And clearly, there are ways to cut back in all of those categories, for example, by having a friend take the photos, or having the reception in your parents’ backyard. Not to mention, the average couple hosts 136 guests, spending $258 per guest, and the cost of a wedding will obviously be lower if you keep the invite list tight.
Need proof that you can plan a baller wedding on literally any budget? Read on to find out what a handful of brides spent on theirs, as well as some deets on how they pulled it off.
Truly, I’ve seen it all when it comes to wedding budgets. I’ve been to a glamorous black-tie reception with custom cocktails, luxe decor, and extravagant floral displays, but I’ve also been to one with family-style meal whipped up by the groom himself, and vintage table linens found at thrift stores by the bride. And let me tell you, I had a blast at both.
Clearly, the cost of one’s wedding is a super personal matter, and what works for one bride may not cut it for another. Remember: It’s not about how much or how little you spend. It’s about planning a celebration that you and your life partner will never forget. And that, folks, is priceless.
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