Amber recently got engaged (congrats, Amber!), and of course, wedding planning is in full swing. This really has us thinking about how much money people spend on weddings, and as a woman in her 20s, Amber has already seen friends and acquaintances go through the stress (both emotional and financial) that a wedding can bring on.
While Amber would prefer a smaller wedding, her fiancé wants to have a larger event where their friends and family can all come together for a big celebration. We’re sure they’ll find a balance and it’ll be beautiful! But of course, with the help of Amber’s current perspective, we’ve turned our attention toward the cost of weddings and how that money could be used to make a down payment on a home instead.
According to a survey of 13,000 couples in the U.S. that The Knot conducted in 2017, the national average amount of money that couples spend on their wedding is $33,391. It turns out Seattle is an even more expensive place on average to get married and the prices seem to increase drastically each and every year. (Oh and this doesn’t even include the honeymoon!)
$33k can make a big dent in a down payment on a home and set you up for years of building equity. In Seattle’s real estate market (which is currently much more balanced than it’s been in the last few years), a 10% down payment can now get you into a home, especially if you’re looking to buy in a condo or co-op. (Yes, for real!) If having a huge wedding is your dream, then we’re not here to convince you otherwise. But if the thought of planning an elaborate wedding and spending tens of thousands of dollars on one day is stressing you out, we definitely encourage you to consider some other options and save the cash for a down payment!
Many couples these days are opting for smaller, more intimate ceremonies and receptions, and eloping has become a popular option (especially for Millenials!). You can still have your special day, but consider spending a few thousand dollars on it as opposed to $33k.
Here are a few alternatives to having that $33k wedding:
Have a destination wedding for a smaller group of people.
Rent a big house on Lake Chelan for a weekend and get married with the lake in the background. Spend the weekend sipping wine at one of the many Lake Chelan wineries! Plus, Lake Chelan (or wherever you might choose) then becomes a special place you can visit on your anniversary.
Elope with a few close friends and family members by your side.
Seattle has some fun options for eloping in style. A few ideas include hiring a non-denominational wedding officiant to host your simple but elegant ceremony; buy an elopement package that allows you to get married on a boat in Seattle and includes photography, video, and more for under $1k; go all out and have a classic “Vegas-style” wedding chapel Shotgun Ceremonies.
Tie the knot at a courthouse and host a fun after party for your friends and family.
One of Amber’s friends made things official in a lowkey courthouse ceremony, then rented out a bowling alley for friends and family afterwards. Super fun, memorable, laid-back, and didn’t break the bank! You could even still hire a photographer to capture your special day without spending more than a few thousand dollars on the whole affair.
And of course, if you’re still planning on having a more conventional wedding, then just do your best to figure out ways you can cut costs. Don’t do things that you don’t actually want to—for example, if you don’t want a wedding cake, don’t have one! Do donuts or a cookie bar instead. If you don’t care about having a DJ, make a playlist of your favorite tunes instead! There are lots of outdated traditions that may not fit your style or relationship, so don’t feel like you HAVE to do them.