Marriage is deemed one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking steps two people can choose to take in their lives. Spending the rest of your life with the one you love is an amazing adventure, one that you might want to celebrate with all of your friends and family, but is it worth decades of repayment plans or maxed out credit cards? We’re talking the ceremonial extravagance that comes with two people saying “I do.” From the elegant clothing to beautiful venues, and all of those calorie filled cake slices, the price tag for your special day can quickly grow out of proportion.

Before going cake tasting, dress shopping, or venue hopping, every newly-engaged couple should ask themselves at least once: will the wedding be worth the cost? First, you’re going to need to be realistic about your budget expectations and how much the average wedding actually costs

According to a 2017 survey on The Knot, the national average in the United States for the cost of a wedding with 100 to 150 guests is $33,391, with the cost of a wedding in Georgia averaging only $2,000 less than the national average. The lowest average wedding cost being $18,516 in Utah, and the highest being $76,944 in New York. No matter what state you marry in, wedding price tags are likely to be less than six figures unless you’re Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez with millions to drop on diamond encrusted wedding invitations. So extravagant!

Not every couple has a wealthy set of in-laws to front that price tag, so often the ones saying the vows have to decide where the money will come from and if they should choose price over practicality. While DIY weddings can cost less, they’re still fairly expensive and it can be a great challenge to pull one off. Unless you’ve got an interior designing degree with an emphasis in event management, you’re still looking at spending several thousand dollars.

A 2018 Student Loan Hero survey revealed that around one in three couples planned to borrow up to $10,000 to cover the cost of wedding bills. Over 70% of couples were in debt, or are going to be in debt, because of their wedding expenses. So is it worth the cost?

That’s really a question that you have to answer for yourself. It’s important to understand that the statistics here aren’t meant to scare you into not having a wedding; they’re simply meant to make you aware of potential wedding expenses so you can determine if it’s something you and your spouse feel prepared to take on together. If you want to have a big, happy wedding, you can easily do that. It’s also important to take into account that this only looks at weddings with 100 to 150 guests in attendance. If you plan to invite your entire family including first, second and third cousins, expect your big day to get pricey.

If you want to have a wedding, it’s not completely out of reach. Weddings can be expensive and stressful to plan, but there are ways to negotiate around the high prices and you shouldn’t be alone in figuring it all out. If you don’t want the hassle of taking on a wedding planner and dealing with annoying family members’ incessant nagging about your day, don’t feel pressured to host one. Not having one doesn’t make your marriage any less valid than just going to a courthouse and tying the knot. Spend the would-be wedding cash on a relaxing getaway.

The most imperative thing to remember in all of these decisions is that you’re getting married! Wedding or not, you’re preparing to step into the rest of your life with the person you love. There’s plenty of time to worry about weddings; right now, just take the time to bask in the glow of you and your partner’s bright future together.

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