If you look at average spend across the U.S., you will find that the average cost of a wedding is drastically different in Seattle is $23,000, while the cost in New York City averages $77,000! (TheKnot.com 2018) Now, that's not to say your wedding will be cheap, or completely over the top. What you choose to spend on your big day is completely up to you, your fiancée or whomever is financing the shindig. The overall national average is $33,931 according to TheKnot.com's 2018 Survey of 14,000 couples.
The average price of a wedding in Chicago (city proper) is $60,294 (Chicago Tribune, Mar 2019). The suburbs of Chicago tend to be a little more budget-friendly, but where should you invest those dollars? According to Brides.com (Nov. 2019) roughly 15% of your budget should be allocated to photography alone.
You're thinking to yourself, "But I really love those cute little favors we found, and they were a steal at $5 each! For a guest list of 150, that's $750 on something that most guests tend to leave behind or forget (I have witnessed multiple weddings, big and small, where 70% of those trinkets are left behind.) How about those adorable seating cards that are handwritten by a professional calligrapher? At $1 each, there's another $150. Where am I going with this?
25 years from now, no one will ever tell you, "We just loved those handwritten place cards at the reception," but you will sit down with your children (and even your grandchildren) one day and relive your big day in vivid detail. You will show them guests who are no longer with us, the fun you had dancing the night away, or that moment their dad saw their mother in the elegant wedding dress you picked because you know he would love you in it. Catching the point here?
Invest in things that last. Your rings, your gifts to each other, your wedding video, your photographs. I can personally attest that after 23 years, one of the few things I still have from my wedding are my photos. I look back at how young we both looked. How nervous I was to have my dad walk me down the aisle. The smile on my new husband's face during our first dance. (((The photo of me dunking my toasting glass in the punch bowl because I was so thirsty after that long day!)))
Consider all the above, and really think about your investments in your wedding day. Calmly back away from those Swarovski Crystal heels and say "yes" to the best investment in your life.