HOW MUCH DOES THE AVERAGE WEDDING COST?

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Your wedding day creates memories that last a lifetime. Unfortunately, those memories often come at a high price — and that price is on the rise. The average wedding cost has increased significantly in recent years, making it more difficult for couples to save enough money to pay for their dream weddings or other goals like buying a house.

To see if you can avoid spending too much on your wedding day without sacrificing what’s important to you, here’s a breakdown of the average cost of a wedding and what exactly goes into that amount. But don’t call a wedding planner just yet — before you start writing checks to vendors, make time to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about money.

If you and your significant other announced your engagement and are now preparing to tally the overall cost of your wedding, you might be shocked by the fact that the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is equal to that of a brand-new car or a hefty down payment on a house.

According to a recent study, the average wedding cost was $35,329 in 2016, up from $32,641 in 2015 and $29,858 in 2013 — a $5,471 increase over three years. These costs, although high, don’t include honeymoon expenses, which could add several thousand dollars to the final price tag. Despite the higher cost for weddings, however, couples are inviting fewer guests. In 2016, the average wedding had 141 guests, down from 149 in 2009.

The truth is, a wedding doesn’t need to cost anywhere near $35,329 — a couple can cut wedding costs and still celebrate their nuptials in style.

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