Cheap weddings on the rise: Here are the pros and cons

For some, wedding spending has gotten out of control.

According to studies conducted by top wedding publications, getting hitched can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. The Knot surveyed over 14,000 couples in 2018 and found that the national average was $33,931. Brides, on the other hand, surveyed more than 800 new wives and brides-to-be, which resulted in a more drastic jump from $27,000 in 2017 to $44,000 in 2018.

Although these figures more than likely skewed higher by wedding enthusiasts who are willing to invest more in their special day the same way a fan of luxury cars may spend more on a vehicle they’ve fantasized over for years — there are plenty of people out there who don’t want to go into debt or financial harm over a marriage.

With exorbitant and inflating prices in the wedding industry, naturally, there are some who reject the notion that you have to spend big bucks to get married. For this reason, courthouse weddings and elopements are gaining traction with today’s couples.

“There was a time when low-cost weddings and courthouse ‘I Dos’ were scandalized, but in recent years there has been much higher acceptance for weddings to take place in whatever way the couple envisions,” wedding editorial manager Christen Moynihan told Reuters.

The U.S. Marriage Laws website says a fee for a marriage license can range from $10 to $115.

Alternatively, a report from Glamour found that millennials are increasingly sneaking away to get married.

"People just want to start their life. They don't feel like they have to follow traditional norms anymore," their report said, regarding the rise of elopements and pop-up wedding businesses.

If a cheap wedding is what you seek, here are a few considerations of the pros and cons that come with an inexpensive union.

The pros of a cheaper wedding

Closeup of groom placing a wedding ring on the brides hand. Couple exchanging wedding rings during a wedding ceremony outdoors.

Budget stretching: The obvious perk of opting for a low-cost wedding is that it will save you money to put toward other assets. This can allow you to expand your honeymoon, investment or home-buying fund. Other options can include paying down debt or purchasing tangible items you actually need, such as vehicles and appliances.

Reduced financial stress: A cheaper wedding tends to be smaller in size, which in turn costs less and minimizes the stress that occurs when parting with a lump sum of cash. According to experts at Psychology Today, couples that lack money-related issues or hardships are often happier than couples who do.

Customization options: Limiting the number of contracted vendors for DIY projects allow brides and grooms to tailor their wedding while keeping the price down. Centerpieces, signage, stationery, aisle markers, flowers, favors and more can be constructed at home, according to the Budget Savvy Bride blog.


The cons of a cheaper wedding


Guest list limitations: Making it your goal to spend as little as possible on a wedding will more than likely shrink your guest list, which can be an issue if you have a large, close-knit family and social circle. The Wedding Wire Newlywed 2018 Report found the average number of wedding guests to be 126.

Fewer venue choices: Having a strict and low budget set for your wedding will provide fewer venues and event spaces to choose from. This may require a couple to get creative when it comes to where they host their day – whether it be at home, in a park or similar public areas. According to Wedding Wire, most couples spend between $3,000 and $11,000 for traditional venues.

Quality concern: The age-old adage, “You get what you pay for,” applies to weddings the same way it does for every other product or service. From catering and photography to decor and entertainment, there are numerous aspects that can be impacted by limited funds. Booking lackluster vendor can hinder a person’s wedding experience.