If you’re part of a couple looking to save money on your wedding, you may think that cutting down the guest list is a good strategy. In general, that's a good way to start, but according to a new survey from The Knot, a smaller crowd on your big day doesn’t always spell a cheaper event. The study found that while the average number of wedding guests has dropped to 141 in 2016 from 149 in 2009, wedding costs have reached their highest point in 10 years.
For the study, The Knot looked at 13,000 U.S. users who were married last year. In 2015, couples were spending an average of $32,641 to get hitched. That number has since shot up to $35,329. The average cost per guest is now $245, more than $50 more than what it was seven years ago.
Instead of using a smaller invite list in order to save some dough, more couples are taking it as an opportunity to create extravagant, personalized experiences for their guests. The report indicates that a choice of fish, chicken, or steak and a DJ will no longer cut it for many couples: They’re going above and beyond with trendy features like photo booths, live dancers, food trucks, dessert bars, and portrait artists. Spending on traditional wedding staples, like cake, flowers, caterers, photographers, and venues, also saw a spending boost across the board.
If you're planning a wedding of your own, try your best not to let these expenses overwhelm you. Figuring out how much you need to spend on your wedding ahead of time is essential to sticking to a budget. In addition to flashy amenities, couples should consider hidden or unexpected costs like cleanup, deliveries, hair and makeup trials, and other parts of the wedding process the guests will never see.
[h/t The Knot]