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Young couples face wedding vs. house dilemma amid skyrocketing costs

todayJuly 26, 2023

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(NEW YORK) — For couples ready to take that next step together, there’s nothing like planning a wedding — then going into sticker shock after discovering just how much it’s going to cost.

The average cost of a wedding in 2022 was about $30,000, according to wedding planning site The Knot. And that figure isn’t accounting for things like bachelor and bachelorette parties, engagement rings and the honeymoon.

What’s more, millennials are budgeting an average of $23,000, which means they are taking $6,000 out in loans and going into debt to afford their weddings, finance expert Haley Sacks, also known as “Mrs. Dow Jones,” told ABC News Live.

After seven years of dating, Angela and Chris Winder got married this year and were shocked when they first started diving into the planning.

“[A budget] was one of the first things that we did. We went in with what we thought was a very good budget. It was not a very good budget,” Angela told ABC News Live, adding that they initially budgeted around $35,000.

“Our venue itself was almost $10,000. There goes a third of your budget without even touching any planning stuff, of just the venue – no food, no drinks, no nothing. So you’re kind of set up for failure, really,” Angela said.

With costs quickly adding up, some couples are having to choose between spending a huge chunk of change on a wedding or a house — a dilemma that’s at the heart of the aptly named Netflix series Marriage or Mortgage.

The show is co-hosted by Nashville wedding planner Sarah Miller, who says the largest budget she’s ever had was around $300,000 for 150 people. In Nashville, the average wedding cost is around $65,000 to $70,000, Miller said, adding that inflation and supply shortages have led to a sharp rise in cost.

Meanwhile, many couples are opting out of big weddings and either eloping or choosing to scale them way down, like newlyweds Chris and Jo Vargo.

“It started bigger and then we were like, no, it didn’t feel right. We had a venue picked out and then we nixed everything to make it really authentic to us,” Jo told ABC News Live.

Instead, they decided to have their wedding in their home and invited their closest friends and family. Jo says they spent around $5,000 to $6,000 in total, with most of it on food and drinks. Both have children and say their priority was to buy a house to fit their family.

Chris and Angela Winder ended up taking out a loan to pay for the mounting costs. The dilemma of whether a wedding is worth that much money is still up for debate.

“Personally, I loved our day and even if it was extremely expensive, it was beautiful and something that I’ll never forget,” Angela said.

“It was beautiful. I wouldn’t change it now. But, yeah, I think we could have done some other stuff with that $50,000,” Chris said.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Written by: ABC News

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