Even so, the Big Day will still cost you big money.
These days, it’s no secret that a fairytale proposal comes with a faint-worthy price tag. According to the results of The Knot’s 2017 Real Weddings Study, though, there’s hope. For the first time in the survey’s eleven-year history, the national average cost of a wedding has decreased from $35,329 in 2016 to $33,391 in 2017, including the ring but not the honeymoon.
The annual report surveyed nearly 13,000 U.S. couples married last year to learn they spent almost $2,000 less on their dream day than couples who walked down the aisle the year prior. Though the average is still high enough to leave you with sticker shock, it’s a welcomed trend for brides planning their 2018 budgets.
So, what’s the reason for the slight drop? The survey found couples favored non-traditional wedding locations full of character, such as barns, historic homes, and wineries, in 2017 over more formal, costly settings, such as country clubs and ballrooms. Since the venue is the biggest wedding expense, with a national average of $15,163, the switch from black-tie to barnyard is a big budget saver.
However, just because the average spend is down doesn’t mean couples don’t want to show their guests a good time. Trends show couples are trimming guest lists and increasing the average cost per guest to provide a more personalized experience than ever before. Spending an all-time high of $268 per guest (up from $194 in 2009), newlyweds placed great importance on the ultimate guest experience, incorporating everything from wine and liquor tastings to magicians into their celebrations.
Before new brides scour their budgets to find why their figures differ from the national average, it’s worth remembering these numbers vary by region. The average wedding in New Orleans, for example, was $44,142 in 2017, while Mississippi saw the more affordable average of $22,645. Of course there are also the higher spenders – couples who spend an average of $60,000 or more on their weddings – who spent a national average of $105,130 on their wedding in 2017.
WATCH: Five Ways to Cut Wedding Costs
If these numbers have you breaking out into a sweat, take a deep breath. These days there are more creative ways than ever to keep you cost down (hint: this wedding cake trick is one you won’t want to miss). Read up on where to splurge and where to save, and most importantly, always remember to keep mama on your good side during wedding planning.