In 2017, the average cost of a wedding ballooned to $25,764, according to according to The Wedding Report, the Tucson, Ariz.-based wedding market research company.

Some research shows that number even higher.

“The fundamentals of wedding planning have generally stayed the same over the last few years, as has the national cost for wedding ceremonies/receptions at around $28,000, or $240 per guest,” says Andy Whittaker, Director of Market Insights at WeddingWire.

Yes, that’s a hefty number, but remember that that number is an average, not a target. More than the number is how couples are behaving with the. With couples using savings and on-hand cash — read: not going into debt! —to pay for their weddings, they’re being more cautious on how they deploy their dollars. In short, they want ot be sure that they and their guests get the most out of what they spend.

For exmaple, a groom might decide it’s a better to invest a few hundred dollars in a suit he’ll wear for years rather than spend $100 to rent a tuxedo he’ll wear for one day. Couples might decide not to overdo it on reception decorations and instead invest more in the dinner and drinks

The Basics of the Budget

To establish your magic number, look at your designated savings, contributions from parents or other relatives, and what of your regular income you can devote toward the wedding, without sabotaging your day-to-day budget.

When you’ve come up with your number, plug it in a budget formula to see how much you have to spend in each area of your wedding. Follow these estimates to get started. Remember, the figures are just estimates, so adjust as necessary to fit your wedding’s needs:

• Reception – 50%

• Music – 10%

• Flowers – 10%

• Wedding Attire – 10%

• Photo/Video – 10%

• Stationery – 5%

• Miscellaneous – 5%

Matthew M. F. Miller is the author of “Dad's Guide to Pregnancy For Dummies” (Wiley, 2014)

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