How much should it cost to get married?
According to the most recent Real Weddings Study by The Knot, couples in 2016 spent an average of $35,329 on their weddings — and that figure does not include the cost of the honeymoon.
Considering the fact that $35K could make for a nice down payment on a house, or could buy a fully-loaded, brand new Honda Accord, or could pay for a few semesters of college, it’s fair to argue that people are spending too much on their weddings. But how do you avoid the high costs of wedding planning? (See also: How to Save $5,000 Off Your Wedding Expenses)
Here’s what you can do about trimming those costs for your own nuptials.
Breaking down wedding costs
A full breakdown of how couples allot their wedding budgets can help you figure out where you want to spend your money and where you are comfortable pinching pennies.
This is generally the largest expense for couples, costing an average of $16,107. It is possible to lower the cost of the venue without sacrificing any of the beauty or elegance that caught your eye in the first place.
Get married on a weekday
A dear friend of mine saved 80 percent off the cost of her preferred venue — a historic house in Boston — by getting married on a Monday. This choice also helped them to have a smaller and more intimate wedding, since not everyone was able to attend a weekday wedding. They got the small wedding they wanted, and were able to trim costs. Even if you can’t schedule a weekday wedding, choosing a Friday night or Sunday afternoon wedding time can save you money.
Get married out of season
Venues offer discounts for bridal couples who get married during the slower times of year, which generally include: January, February, and March.
Have your ceremony and reception in the same place
This not only saves you the additional cost of the ceremony site (which cost an average of $2,197 in 2016) as well as transportation costs, but your out-of-town guests will also appreciate not having to navigate their way to two different unfamiliar locations.
The engagement ring
I still remember the commercials I saw as a child that asked, “How else can two months’ salary last a lifetime?” That question was asked (and answered) by the De Beers company, and it made the idea of spending two months’ salary on an engagement ring the standard requirement for a marrying couple.
Which helps explain why the second largest wedding expense is the engagement ring, at an average cost of $6,163. Marketing by the De Beers company has clearly done its job.
But engagement rings (and wedding rings) are a new phenomenon, and there is no need to feel like you are bucking tradition by choosing not to spend money on one. If you do want to mark your engagement by putting a ring on it, there are some great engagement ring options to choose from without spending a fortune.