• Steve Mummery

Will your wedding cost more than $42,000?

In 2017, the national average cost of a wedding in the United States was $33,391 (AUD$42,236).

This figure was revealed by Maggie Seaver on "the knot" website last month after they surveyed 13,000 couples married in 2017 for their real weddings study and they learned that unique venues and guest experience are taking priority.

Here's how today’s couples are spending their wedding budgets (hint: it’s all in the details!).

The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study (in the United States) has revealed how much it really costs to say "I do" (and why). They polled nearly 13,000 US couples married in 2017 and learned the national average cost of a wedding is now $33,391 (AUD$42,236), excluding the honeymoon.

Couples are prioritizing different details, namely personalization, guest experience and cultural elements. In fact, couples are so excited to show their guests a good time that, while both the average spend and guest headcount have decreased, the average cost per guest has reached an all-time high at $268 (AUD$338) which is up from $194 (AUD$245) in 2009.

Custom guest entertainment has more than tripled, with up to 40 percent of newlyweds saying they splurged on fun reception amenities (think: sparklers, selfie stations, lawn games, candy bars and musical performances). From what I've seen in Australia, I feel the trend is the same here.

So what's the why behind the lower overall spend? We’re seeing fewer formal and black-tie weddings—which are naturally pricier—as couples choose to tie the knot in nontraditional locations that let their unique story shine, require fewer embellishments and call for a smaller budget.

Whether it's a low-key barn venue or a historic library with tons of character, couples seem to favor sites that reflect their personalities. One couple followed their search for a quirky, industrial venue all the way to a boxing gym—and it looked seriously awesome.

Finally, while today's couples have no problem tossing some time-honored wedding traditions (like the garter and bouquet toss - which I am yet to see at any of the weddings I've done here in Australia over the last 12 months), it's still important to them to infuse their heritage, culture and/or religion into their day. Twenty-one percent of couples incorporated a traditional cultural element, including a Chinese tea ceremony, Irish bagpipers, Moroccan belly dancers and traditional Hindu ceremonies. 

Now more than ever, couples are finding creative ways to please their guests while doing something meaningful for themselves, which makes for some incredibly beautiful celebrations. 

As I've said before though  whatever you do though, do not scrimp on the celebrant. This person sets the tone for the rest of your day and it's important that you have someone who "gets" your wedding vision from the very start and creates a unique ceremony for you both.

Steve Mummery is an authorised civil celebrant who can marry people anywhere in Australia.  Check him out at smcelebrant.com.au or email him at steve@smcelebrnat.com.au

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