The average cost of a wedding in the United States hit a record of $31,213 in 2014. Ouch. But before you decide to elope or stay single for life, know this: Many couples tie the knot for far less.
According to USA Today, 40 percent of couples who walked down the aisle in 2014 spent $10,000 or less. That’s based on information from The Wedding Report, a research company that tracks wedding industry trends.
The $31,213 wedding cost figure, which comes from TheKnot.com, is an average, so it’s a little skewed by weddings in large, urban areas, like New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, where tying the knot can cost upward of $76,000 (Manhattan).
Thankfully, if you’re planning a wedding – either for yourself or your child – it doesn’t have to break the bank (or wipe out your retirement).
“Not everybody buys everything,” The Wedding Report CEO Shane McMurray told USA Today. “People that are spending that little [$10,000 or less], they’re basically just not spending money on certain things. They’re not spending $20,000 on the venue. Maybe they did it in someone’s backyard.”
That’s exactly what I did nine years ago when I married my husband. We had our wedding ceremony – for free – at his parents’ beautiful property. We had our wedding reception in the ballroom of a local hotel and restaurant. Because we bought our reception food through the same restaurant, the reception room rental fee was waived.
If you want to join the 40 percent of couples who get married for $10,000 or less, there are a number of ways you can slash wedding costs. For instance, take these money-saving ideas from USA Today:
- Pare your list. A great way to save on your big day is to invite only your closest friends and family to your wedding. You’ll save on invitations, venue fees, food and more by keeping your guest list small.
- Plan it yourself. The Wedding Report says hiring a full-service wedding planner costs about $3,000 on average. Pocket that money (honeymoon, anyone?) and plan the day yourself, with the help of friends and family.
- Just say no to an open bar (or at least hard alcohol). Ditching hard alcohol and limiting your adult beverage offerings to beer and wine can save you some significant cash. Having a no-host bar saves you even more.
- Shop warehouse clubs. You can get everything from beer and wine to flowers and even your wedding cake at stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club.
For more ways to avoid starting your “happily ever after” in a sea of debt, check out “15 Ways to Save Big on Your Dream Wedding.”
How much did you pay to say “I do?” Do you have any tips to cut wedding costs? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.