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Couple, flower confetti and outdoor wedding with event, walk and happy laugh in nature. Bl
By Nuala Woodall  Dion Woods

If you're planning a wedding, have been in one, or just celebrated your wedding, you know how expensive love can be. According to a study from Zola, the average wedding in the United States will cost $33,000 in 2024, a 14 percent increase from 2023. This news isn't what younger couples who are dealing with student loans and high rents want to hear, but it's the reality they face.

Forbes says that the wedding industry, worth $70.3 billion as of 2023, is continuing to grow and so will the costs for engaged couples and their parents. Traditionally, the bride’s parents have taken care of wedding expenses, but more and more, the couple themselves are the ones bearing the responsibility. Again, according to a Zola study, one-third of US couples will end up covering all the costs on their own in 2024. This is a drastic increase from 10 percent of couples in 2016. But why has the price for love gone up so dramatically?

Blame it on Covid. Yes, there is such a thing as "covid inflation." People were locked up in their homes with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no place to spend the money they earned or received. Then, when restrictions were lifted, it created a tsunami of spending. Couples, in part, went all out for their weddings – and with that, so did wedding prices. But couples aren't the only ones feeling the squeeze. So are their wedding party and guests. The Knot found that the average wedding guest spends $580 per wedding. To be in the wedding party, the figure is $825, according to CNBC. This includes travel, room, attire, and gift costs.  

So, how should couples, wedding parties, and guests respond? Here are a few suggestions:

 

Couples

  •  Celebrate with a micro-wedding. These are smaller, more cost-effective weddings that allow couples to celebrate their special day without breaking the bank.

  • Start saving for your wedding much earlier (even if you haven't found Mr. or Mrs. Right)

  • Select a less popular venue

  • Rent your gown

  • Consider getting married between December and March to keep costs down.

 

 

Wedding party

  • Create a wedding savings fund as soon as you see the relationship getting serious

  • Ask if you can do your own hair and makeup (yeah, that can be touchy)

  • Pool any gifts with other members of the wedding party

  • Communicate your financial status with the bride or groom

  • Only use a credit card if you have the money to pay for the wedding. Otherwise, politely decline and celebrate with the couple as a guest

 

 

Guests

  • Save at least $250 when it looks like the couple is starting to get serious

  • Reuse an existing outfit instead of buying a new one

  • Use the couple’s registry early to find a gift within your budget

 

Finally, keep in mind that the success of a marriage is not determined by the size or extravagance of the wedding, but by the love and commitment shared over a lifetime.

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