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Weddings are getting more expensive, so where should you look to cut costs?

Your wedding doesn't have to cost as much as a new car or home to be a good time for everybody, including you. An expert told us how.
Wedding
Posted at 5:43 PM, May 17, 2024

A wedding is a special day — and one that can come at an especially high cost.

That's especially true today, as the cost to have a wedding is growing. Last year, the average wedding cost $35,000, which is a $5,000 increase over the year before, according to wedding planning company The Knot.

Breaking that cost down, the site said the average venue costs $12,800, a live band costs an average of $4,300, and the dress and photographer can cost you close to $5,000 combined.

But for the richest of the rich, that's peanuts. In 2018, India's richest man reportedly spent $100 million on his daughter's multiple-day wedding celebration, which apparently featured a performance by Beyoncé. His son is getting married in July, and the man reportedly paid Rihanna $6 million to perform at a pre-wedding party.

And while Diann Valentine won't be in attendance for that event, the global wedding producer and "I Do Over" TV personality has seen her fair share of lavish wedding escapades.

"I had a client actually pay to graphically wrap their private jet, and I thought, 'That's a really big expense considering no one is going to see it except for everybody working at the airport,'' Valentine told Scripps News.

That particular wedding cost a total of $7 million, with the jet wrap being about $250,000, the wedding expert said.

A couple during their wedding's signature ceremony.

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And obviously, not everyone is spending that type of coin on the event, so how much is too much? Valentine said she might feel differently than some.

"When it comes to love, can you really put a price tag on it?" she told Scripps News. "I think budgets are relevant; they're relevant to the couple and what their income statements look like every year. Is it ever too much for the woman you love? No!"

If you are looking to cut costs, the wedding guru said guest experiences are a current trend that could be upping your total price. That's the photo booths, live portraits, live performances and other additions that Valentine says more and more people are splurging on.

However, your wedding and that one with Rihanna aren't much different when it really comes down to choices; it's just the budgets that might change, Valentine said.

"It's really the same whether you're wealthy or not," she told Scripps News. "Whereas you and I might get married and have a DJ, some of my clients have major recording artists that come and perform."

And while you don't have to spend those big bucks to have a great wedding, there are ways to make your spending of tens of thousands of dollars feel like millions, too.

"What you must just simply be is thoughtful," Valentine said. "Be incredibly thoughtful and think about what the experience is going to be moment to moment to moment to moment. So things like personal notes for guests when they show up at the hotel, or greeters that greet them when they arrive at the ceremony, personalized notes that you've taken the time to write for each guest at every single place setting. Things like that don't cost a lot of money, but they certainly go a long way in pulling at the hearts of everybody in attendance."