According to a survey conducted by The Knot Wedding Network, an average wedding in America cost nearly $30,000 last year. The survey of 18,000 couples married in 2008 also indicated 40 percent of couples marrying this year will curb their wedding budgets by about 16 percent because of the recession.
When it comes to wedding rings, the average amount spent on a bride’s wedding ring rose 21.3% to reach $1,129 and the amount spent on a groom’s ring increased 38.3% to reach $907 last year. The bad news for jewelers this year, however, is that the average amount spent on an engagement ring is expected to drop 9.8% in 2009 to reach $2,900.
According to Shane McMurray, chief executive of The Wedding Report, a Tucson, Ariz.-based firm that specializes in wedding industry market research, the projected decline follows a 30% drop in the average amount spent on an engagement ring in 2008. The declines suggest a significant shift in consumer attitudes. In past economic downturns, he says, the wedding industry has been more resilient as people continued to spend on weddings.
The Knot Wedding Network’s survey of 18,000 couples who married in 2008 listed venue, reception DJ, band, photographer and flowers among the top 10 biggest wedding day expenses. Here are some suggestions on how to keep costs down and celebratory moments high:
Floribunda: Choose flowers that are in season and find multiple uses for them, advises Betsy Winsett, co-owner of the Encinitas-based Bridal BazaarBetsy Winsett of Bridal Bazaar.
The DIY bride: More than half (55 percent) of brides made their own favors and ceremony programs in the survey. If you’re crafty, consider making your own escort cards, save-the-dates, invitations, even decorations.
Marry on Monday: Saturdays are the most popular wedding days of the year and venues and vendors typically command top dollar. By marrying on any other day of the week, chances are venue and vendor availability is better and prices can be negotiated, sometimes as much as 20 percent off, says wedding coordinator Cynthia Zatkin.
Make your own music? Some couples use iPods for their reception music. According to Betsy Winsett, “DJs do serve a multiple purpose. A good one keeps things moving, and if there is a lull, he gets everybody back into the excitement.”
Dress For Less. Buying a “sample” gown from a bridal boutique to save as much as half the cost. Other options: Buy a vintage gown, wear your mother’s or grandmother’s gown or even rent a gown.
Everyone contributes: Gone is the tradition of the bride’s parents paying full freight. The Knot survey indicated the bride and groom are paying up to 43 percent of wedding costs with the grooms’ parents contributing 12 percent. Even grandparents and other family members are pitching in, says wedding coordinator Sharon Cole.
Look At Low-Cost Locations. Parks and even backyards can provide beautiful settings at little or no cost.