By Pat Amey

Every year, I am invited to 3 or 4 weddings and I love attending them.  I’ve noticed a few trends lately and thought I would put together some financial concepts for engaged couples to consider as they tie the knot.

Wedding Statistics

An annual survey by The Knot of nearly 13,000 US couples married in 2016 uncovered the costs and trends of weddings today and discovered that:

  • In 2016, the average cost of a wedding reached an all-time high at $35,329 (not including the honeymoon), while the number of guests dropped.
  • Custom guest entertainment has more than tripled, from 11% to 41% since 2009, with photo booths (78%), games (18%), musical performances (12%) and fireworks (8%) at the top of the list.
  • Most Expensive Place to Get Married: New York City (Manhattan specifically), with an average cost of $78,464.
  • Least Expensive Place to Get Married is Arkansas, with an average cost of $19,522 average spend.
  • Average Spend on a Wedding Dress: $1,564
  • Average Number of Guests: 141
  • Average Number of Bridesmaids: 5
  • Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December
  • Average Length of Engagement: 15 months
  • Percentage of Destination Weddings: 20

Parents are Absorbing Much of the Cost

Surprisingly – at least to me – is that parents still pay for a majority of today’s weddings. On average, the bride’s parents contribute 44 percent of the overall wedding budget, the bride and groom contribute 42 percent, and
the groom’s parents contribute about 13 percent.

What about Retirement?

Instead of spending the average of $35,329 for a wedding, what if couples were married at their local court house instead? Let’s say they spend an average of $100 on a marriage license and then another $229 on a nice lunch. For the remaining $35,000, they could:

  • Pay down student loans – the average Class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt.
  • Make a healthy down payment on a brand-new house – the average cost to build a new 4BR house comes in at $291,101 – so $35,000 would be 12 percent down.
  • Buy a 2017 Audi Q3 or 2017 Lexus NX or 2017 Infiniti QX30 or 2017 Cadillac ATS.
  • Invest in an S&P 500 index fund, wait 35 years, and assuming an average annual return of 11 percent, watch their “wedding investment” grow to $1,350,119 in retirement savings.

Wishing you a lifetime of love, happiness, funded retirement and millionaire status.  For help sorting out financial priorities, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Patrick Amey –, or call (913) 345-1881.

Sources: XO Group, Forbes, HomeAdvisor