Like it or not, the cost of living just keeps on skyrocketing, and right along with it is the cost of starting a life with someone you love ... According to the annual "Real Weddings" survey from TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com, the average amount spent on a wedding in 2012 was ... (go on, guess!) ... $28,427. Yup, that looks about right. Oof. They note that grand total is the most dough couples have spent on all aspects of their Big Day in the past four years.
But really, that shouldn't exactly come as a surprise to anyone. The price tag on anything and everything wedding-related has always been inflated, and now, thanks to wedding culture getting even more crazed (gee, thanks, TLC and Pinterest!), it seems to be even more so. This very "Real" bride knows the reality of attempting (key word!) to stick to a wedding budget all too well.
When my fiance and I first started planning and drew up our budget, I threw out some roundabout, ballpark numbers for various aspects of the wedding from a wedding website. I guessed we would spend no more than X on rings, Y on photography, and maybe Z on the DJ/percussionist. I thought we could get away without many flowers -- other than the bridal party bouquets -- at all, and I didn't expect to even have to think about some aspects (like lighting and linens). Ha, silly naive, newly engaged me!
While we've tried our darndest to stick to that original plan and also cut corners as much as possible, there is a LOT involved in a wedding you simply didn't see coming. You learn a chuppah costs more than you bargained for, because it actually needs to be constructed in your venue. You realize you really would love to have a videographer or you fall in love with a gown that's $500 over your estimated budget. You find out loved ones will be seriously offended if there's no rehearsal dinner/transportation provided to the venue/extra albums for the parents ... or whatever.
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Sometimes, sure, you're just falling victim to the Big Wedding machine, but then others, it's a matter of getting what you pay for. Sometimes, you're dealing with getting nickeled and dimed, because that's the nature of the beast, but other times, you find you can negotiate or pare down the florist's or the planner's proposal and actually get somewhere!
It boils down to picking your battles. Prioritizing what you're willing to spend bigger on. What you need, what you don't. And ultimately, you might just throw your hands up and say, "It is what it is!" But whether you spend $27K, more, or less, as long as you've done what you can to make the day your own, I'm convinced: Every well-thought-out penny spent will be worth it in the end.
What wedding aspects did you skip and splurge on?