Wedding budget

Calculating wedding costs

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

Getting married can be a substantial investment in your future. As shown by the informative infographic below, the average cost of weddings in the U.S. has risen to $27,698, with the most expensive place to hold a wedding being Manhattan, New York at $86,916. Idaho has the cheapest state average wedding cost at $16,159. How is this money usually spent?

Average cost of weddings infographic

Infographic by JJ Suspenders

Personalizing The Wedding

With 6,200 weddings happening each day in the U.S., the most money is spent on the venue, which averages $11,944 of a wedding budget. Keija Minor, editor-in-chief at Bride’s Magazine, said in a CNBC interview that this can be attributed to couples wanting to personalize their weddings.

A wedding’s personality has become even more important to couples since the rise of social media, according to Minor. She said that social media means that everyone has seen a million weddings, which often inspires couples to stray from “cookie cutter” ideas.

Although venue is a big investment out of a couple’s wedding budget, a CNN Money report stated that guest lists may be getting shorter. With the price of catering per person averaging $68, cutting back on the guest list is a way for couples to save some money.

Many couples are showing unique style and even paying homage to their heritage by incorporating a variety of events into their wedding celebrations. This can range from tea ceremonies to themed weddings that couples believe reflect their personalities.

Rings add to average costs of weddings

Rings & Things Add to Average Cost of Weddings

Coming in after price of venue at the second highest average cost is the wedding and engagement rings at $4,133. Brides are also spending about $1,351 on their wedding dresses, while grooms are spending an average of $278 on their attire. Style is one of the many ways for couples to showcase their personalities and set the scene for their special day, whether going for a traditional aesthetic or a casual, quirky wedding.

Photography and videography is an average of $2,835; flowers are $1,563; entertainment is $1,389; wedding planners average $827; and couples are spending an average of $555 on cakes. All of these aspects make the wedding industry worth an annual $72 billion, employing over 1.1 million people. They also give couples even more opportunity to let their personalities and individual style color the celebration.

Social media aids wedding planning

Online Aids To Wedding Planning

More couples than ever are turning to their mobile devices for personalized planning solutions. Online services are making it easier for couples to personalize their wedding into the dream day they both have in mind.

The apps allow couples to choose who they want to take videos and photos at their wedding, along with beauty vendors, DJs, and bridal salons. With so many styles to choose from, whether it’s music, hair and makeup, and photographers’ artistic styles, it’s no wonder that couples are paying more to make sure their special day radiates their individuality.

Wedding invitations average $789, and inspiration board sites such as Pinterest make it easy for couples to consider cheaper, DIY options for invites and thank you cards. This option can even help to create a more unique and personal wedding, rather than the traditional weddings of the past.

Personalizing your wedding

Getting Wedding Planning Right

Steib said in a CNBS interview that the majority of brides have not planned a wedding before, which can lead to getting things wrong when estimating the costs of their weddings, he said.

The average bridal age in the U.S. is 25.3, and the average groom age is 26.9. However, studies have shown that parents of the bride and groom are still helping to foot the wedding bill, but modern couples are also contributing to the overall cost.

With the world of wedding inspiration at their fingertips through sites like Pinterest, The Knot, and mywedding.com, couples have endless options and opportunity to create an ideal wedding suited to their individual styles.

Bio: Josh Bluman is the co-founder of JJ Suspenders, based in Vancouver BC. He founded JJ Suspenders, a niche e-commerce website selling high-end suspenders for men, bringing back an authentic fashion style for men with high-qualityso handmade materials.

To give back to the community, $1 out of every sale goes to Beespace, which is a technology incubator for non-profits who seek out independent thinkers and look to find new solutions to make changes.

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LIve healthy on your wedding budget

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

The terms “wedding planning” and “budgeting” go together like two peas in a pod. If there’s ever a time in your life when it actually seems easy to tighten the purse strings your engagement is it. After all, your dream wedding is a huge reward for those months of penny pinching.

But keeping an eye on the bottom line shouldn’t mean cutting out expenses that actually matter. If you haven’t left room in your wedding budget for health and fitness, it might be time to look again.

What Not To Do To Save Money For Your Wedding

Skipping personal training sessions and downgrading your grocery list may seem like smart cost-cutting techniques in the short term, but you have to think about the bigger picture. Investing in your health and fitness will not only ensure that you look and feel fantastic on your wedding day, it will also help to reduce the (more expensive) costs of getting sick.

Of course that doesn’t mean shelling out thousands on expensive gym memberships, or only buying organic food. But it does mean finding the healthy middle ground between eating dinner at that famous vegan restaurant and buying something from McDonalds.

Fortunately you can save money and still maintain that healthy honeymoon-ready body with these 8 simple hacks.

How To Live Healthy On A Wedding Budget

Cook more at home

1. Cook More At Home

A super simple way to save money is by cooking more at home. Not only is eating out expensive (you’re not only paying for the food, but also the service, the atmosphere, and the convenience) it can also pack loads of hidden calories into your meal. Restaurants want to serve food that you can’t get enough of, which usually translates as fat, sugar, and salt.

The easy way to get started cooking at home is to choose a few simple recipes that you can make ahead of time. Having food already prepared makes it easy to commit to healthy eating, and leaves you more time for fun with your fiancé.

2. Buy Non-Trendy Foods

To save money in the grocery store you need to be strategic (and rather boring). Make a list of the essentials and be willing to swap your go-to ingredients for those on special. Most importantly, you need to waltz right on past the trendy new “superfoods” section and stick to purchasing classic and cheap (but still super) foods such as vegetables, fruits, meat, and grains.

You only have to look at photos from our grandparent’s generation to notice that almost everyone was slim and healthy — and they didn’t even have spirulina or goji berries! What?! Buying unpackaged foods in their most natural state is a win for your body and your bank account.

3. Follow the Dirty Dozen – Clean Fifteen

No, I’m not talking about your wedding night! Cheeky! The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen are two lists created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that outlines which foods have the highest amount of pesticide residue (the Dirty Dozen) and the lowest (the Clean Fifteen).

If it’s on the Dirty Dozen, you should buy it organic, or don’t buy it at all. If it’s a Clean Fifteen food you can save your dollars and choose conventional.

Eating foods that are high in chemical residue can create inflammation in the body that might lead to allergies, illness and weight gain. It’s a pretty simple switch to make, but if organic isn’t in your budget all you have to do is choose a different food. Here’s the list for your convenience:

The Dirty Dozen (plus)

  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Cucumbers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Snap peas (imported)
  • Potatoes
  • (Additional items that cause concern are hot peppers and blueberries)

The Clean 15

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe (domestic)
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet potatoes

Cut your alcohol consumption

4. Cut your alcohol consumption in half

Drinking less alcohol means half the calories and half the cost. You might choose to have certain alcohol free nights during the week, or reduce the size of your pour when having a drink.

In addition to being a source of empty calories, alcohol is a diuretic, which can cause dehydration and water weight gain. Too much alcohol at night also affects sleep quality, and there’s nothing like a hangover to make poor food and fitness choices the next day.

Instead try sipping on low sugar kombucha, infused waters, or make a spritzer with half white wine and half club soda.

5. Walk more than you drive

Getting in shape isn’t rocket science, but it does take consistent, daily action. 10,000 steps a day is the baseline for good health and fitness, but reaching that goal isn’t as easy as you might think. A simple way to get more movement into your day is to walk more than you drive. This burns calories, saves fuel costs and is a terrific way to gently tone the muscles in your lower body.

Start by choosing to walk more often to complete errands. If you do drive, park further away from the store and get in those extra steps that way.

Find community workout classes

6. Find community workout classes

Many studios schedule lower-priced classes during off-peak hours, often called “community class”. Rather than paying a whopping $25 per session for hot yoga after work, you can join in the lunchtime flow for $8.

Other ideas for free-fitness include joining a Meetup group, or checking out local athletic-wear stores, such as Nike, Lululemon and Athleta, which often hold free classes on the weekend.

7. Make date night active

Instead of heading to the movies for date night (hello, expensive tickets and unhealthy popcorn) choose to do something active with your fiancé. You could practice your first dance, play frisbee in the park, or get your friends together for an evening sports match followed by a pot-luck.

Exercise boosts those feel-good endorphins, which can make you feel more connected — and even more in love — with your partner.

Put your gym membership on hold and try an at-home workout program

Is your current gym routine helping you reach your pre-wedding fitness goals? Or are you wasting time (and money) just walking on the treadmill? Having a structured workout program is key to getting great results in less time, and there are many great workout programs that you can do at home.

Help finance your honeymoon with a honeymoon registry from Honeyfund.

Bio: Jennifer Dene is passionate about helping busy women transform their lives through simple nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle advice. She empowers women to prioritize self-care and adopt a vibrant, healthy relationship around food and fitness. She is a writer, speaker, celebrity Pilates instructor, personal trainer and health coach and blogs at jenniferdenewellness.com

Download your free 7 day wedding workout program from Mind Body Bride here: (http://mindbodybride.com/bombshell-bride-workout-calendar)

You can connect with Jennifer via email (jennifer@jenniferdenewellness.com) or socially at:

Facebook (facebook.com/jenniferdene)

Instagram (instagram.com/jenniferdene)

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