Is $35K Too Much to Spend for a Wedding?

Is $35K Too Much to Spend for a Wedding?

Would you rather buy a fully loaded Tesla Model 3 or use that cash for a blowout wedding?

Believe it or not, the price tag is roughly the same. The average wedding in 2016 costs a record $35,329—that's up from $32,641 in 2015, according to The Knot's 2016 Real Weddings Study, a new survey based on responses from nearly 13,000 brides and grooms who got hitched last year.

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Where Couples Are Splurging

When it comes to attire, brides are saying yes to the dress to the average tune of $1,564, while the groom’s garb seems like a steal at $280. A wedding planner costs a cool $2,037, a reception band runs $4,156 and food goes for $71 per guest. Not surprisingly, the most expensive line item is still the venue, with the average cost netting out at $16,107.

Pretty much the only number that hasn't trended upward over the past several years is the guest list, the survey found. The average number of invitees in 2016 was 141, down from 149 in 2009. However, those lucky enough to be included on the guest list are being feted more lavishly, as the cost per guest jumped to $245, compared with just $194 in 2009.

What do guests get for that $245? Thanks to the trend toward “custom guest entertainment,” which has more than tripled since 2009, more weddings are featuring personalized, out-of-the-box amenities like signature cocktails, games, musical performances, fireworks and photo booths, which don't come cheap.

Only 20% of couples surveyed tied the knot at a destination wedding, but you didn't have to leave the country to rack up an eye-popping bill: Manhattan weddings cost more than $78,000 last year. Exchanging rings in Arkansas, however, set couples back a comparatively modest $19,522.

And who’s shelling out all that dough? Typically, the bride's parents contributed 44% of the overall wedding budget, with the bride and groom chipping in 42%. Ten percent of couples cover the whole bash, while 8% don’t cough up a dime.

Prepping for Wedding Bells—and Bills

These figures are probably eye-opening for those who just got engaged in December, the most popular month for engagements, according to the survey.

If you put a ring on it over the holidays (or you expect to on Valentine's Day, another peak time for proposals), take a look at your wedding budget and figure out with your betrothed where you want to go big and where you want to save. Since you've got about 15 months to prepare (the average length of an engagement, per the survey) that gives you a lot of time to plan a wedding budget and start saving into a non-monthly savings account or a dedicated wedding account to help you cover costs for the big day. (After all, you don't want to be part of the nearly half of respondents who said they shelled out more than they planned to.)

If you already know your wedding budget is going to be on the tight side (or you just love saving money in general) we’ve got you covered with these wedding hacks, which will help you throw an Insta-worthy celebration while saving on everything from invites to flowers.

Oh, and still free? A #WeddingHashtag, used by 64% of couples to commemorate their big day.

RELATED: A Tale of Two Newlyweds: 'How We Paid Off $52K of Debt in Under Two Years'

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