But there’s a funny thing about average statistics: they reflect all weddings and none, not any one specific wedding.
You see, those numbers include things like Kim Kardashian’s recent multi-million-dollar extravaganza that resulted in mere weeks of actual marriage… and it includes that couple who couldn’t wait for the end of grad school and held a potluck in a friend’s back yard with ten of their closest peeps in attendance.
It includes the women I see on Say Yes to the Dress who don’t blink at the idea of spending fifteen grand on just the dress, and it includes the couples I see on Rich Bride, Poor Bride who present their planners with a budget of less than ten thousand dollars for the entire wedding. It includes the couples on Platinum Weddings who pay half a million dollars on a three-day blowout for six hundred of their best friends like it was pocket change, and it includes couples who borrow the money for a license from their folks and ask a friend to get ordained by the Universal Life Church so they won’t have to come up with a way to pay the officiant.
It includes the people who paid cash on the barrel for everything, and the people who went into debt it will take them years to pay off to have the day they want.
There are statistics and there are handy tools like Cost of wedding.com where you can learn what the average amount spent on a wedding is. Chances are you can find some sort of breakdown of what the ‘average’ couple spends specific items, too, like photography or cake. These things are interesting to know, and if you’re looking into a particular kind of item, service, or look, they can be helpful to you in figuring out what that might set you back.
But there’s one thing they cannot tell you: what you as a couple are able to comfortably spend on your individual wedding. You are not an average. And while your wedding will most likely involve a lot of the expected trappings in one form or another, your wedding is not average. It’s unique to you.
Here’s the bottom line on what weddings cost: your wedding will cost what you are willing to spend on it. That could be anything from the cost of the marriage license, followed by a quick lunch for the friends who married you and witnessed the event to a price tag that would make a Kardashian blush… if such a thing is possible.
My advice? Take a little time to price things you like out; consider carefully what you need, what you want, and what you don’t want; brainstorm a little about how to source things you can’t afford the ordinary way. Then ignore what everyone else is paying, and have the wedding that is the best intersection possible of your style and your available budget.
After all, do you really want to be average?