It’s that time of year again. The Knot released its annual report on wedding trends, and the average cost for 2016 comes to … drum roll please … $35,329. This is an 8 percent increase from the 2015 average of $32,641.
That’s a national average, with a lot of variation across the country. According to the Knot’s study of 13,000 heterosexual couples who married in the United States last year, the most expensive place to get hitched is Manhattan, with the average wedding there costing $78,464; and the most affordable spot is Arkansas, at an average of $19,522. The survey found that, on average, a bride’s parents cover 44 percent of the overall wedding budget; the couple contribute 42 percent; and a groom’s parents’ pay for 13 percent. However, 10 percent of couples pay for their weddings entirely on their own.
Last year on Solo-ish, we brainstormed five things you could get for about the same price as a wedding: a boat, a trip around the world, two years of graduate school tuition, one year of college for 10 women in Africa or 82,000 meals for people in the Washington area. We’re keeping that tradition alive with six new ideas of how to spend $35,000 if you were to forgo a wedding altogether.
1) Food truck: $34,000
Some couples rent food trucks as a low-cost catering option at their weddings. However, an entrepreneurial couple could buy their own food truck for the price of a wedding. This Craigslist posting in the D.C. area for a food truck with a 14-foot kitchen includes a griddle, deep fryer, stove, salad bar unit, freezer and more. Parking permits and taco shells sold separately.
2) Model 3 Tesla: $35,000
Let’s say you’re in the market for a less-clunky vehicle than a food truck. There’s the “Tesla for the masses,” available at just $35,000 (compared to their other models, which range from $68,000 to $140,000). After the electric-vehicle tax credit, you’ll have $7,000 or so left over to fund your honeymoon.
3) Feed 350 school children, on weekends, for an entire school year: $35,000
The average amount spent on catering at a wedding in 2016 was $71 per guest. Now, the full price of a wedding could provide food for 350 school children on the weekends. According to its website, the nonprofit organization Blessings in a Backpack provides food to 89,000 children who get free meals at school but can’t always count on being fed over the weekends.
4) Tiny home: $35,000
In a tiny home (typically 300 square feet), you’d have no room for wedding gifts anyway, so good thing you’re skipping the nuptials. The Tiny House Blog puts the average contractor-built tiny house at $35,000, though there’s quite a range out there.
5) Go on $35,000 worth of extravagant dinner dates
Let’s see: For about $16,000, two people can dine at the world’s 12 most expensive restaurants — according to this list from Forbes — in New York, Spain, France, Japan, Beverly Hills and more. That leaves about $20,000 left over for airfare and hotels, which should do just fine as long as you’re not flying first-class and staying at the world’s most expensive hotels.
6) Four tickets on the 50-yard line at the Super Bowl: $36,000
According to TicketCity, around $9,000 will get you a club-level premium ticket to this year’s Super Bowl on the 50-yard line. For $36,000, you and your significant other can go — and bring your best friends along.