"People that are spending that little, they're basically just not spending money on certain things"
Despite $34,000 Pnina Tornai gowns on Say Yes to the Dress and the proliferation of social media posts of magazine-quality engagement photos and wedding videos, there's actually a significant group of brides and grooms who are tying the knot for much less than the price of a year's college tuition.
Nearly 40% of couples who got married in 2014 spent $10,000 or less, according to The Wedding Report, a research company that tracks wedding industry trends based on government data and daily surveys of couples. The Wedding Report says the average spent on a wedding last year was about $26,400, in line with other sources, such as The Knot, whose figure is a bit higher at about $31,200. But averages can be skewed by the high cost of services in places like Manhattan.
"Not everybody buys everything," The Wedding Report CEO Shane McMurray says. "People that are spending that little, 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."
The first thing you should do if you're looking to cut costs is cut your guest list, says Sarah Shewey, founder and CEO of Happily, an a la carte wedding planning service. How many people you choose to invite will affect the price of the most expensive parts of your wedding: your venue, catering and any furniture rentals.
Some couples are choosing to forgo the stress of a year of planning and paying professionals to take care of the details to instead put together weddings that resemble small family parties; particularly when faced with the financial responsibility of things like student loans which nearly 71% of college grads have and homeownership.