Weddings are Fucking Expensive. This isn’t a secret, of course, but it’s still pretty shocking to see the numbers out there in all their cold, wasteful glory: Thirty-one thousand dollars. And change. And it’s probably safe to assume that, in many of these cases, the happy couple didn’t set out determined to spend all that money, but rather were sucked into it along the way by a million unexpected expenses and extras. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of things, and nothing is more ‘rush-worthy’ in our culture than the Biggest Day Of Your Life, where you’re supposed to go all out in a way you never have before, and spare no expense to make it the fairytale you may or may not have dreamed of.
But whether or not the traditional big-budget wedding is your thing — with its plated choice of fish and beef, its chandelier-lined halls, and its silk-draped bridesmaids tittering behind bouquets of gardenias — there are still ways to be smarter about spending your money. You could make small changes in an otherwise-elaborate wedding (skimping on things like fresh flowers, a fondant-draped cake, or opting for a buffet instead of a three-course meal) to knock the cost down while still staying fancy. And if you are not the big wedding kinda gal, it can be nice to consider all of the wonderful things you can do with $31,000 instead of throw your relatives a fancy dinner party.
Everything from practical debt repayment, to huge life choices like adoption, to thrilling adventures like world travel, are possible within the budget of the average wedding. (Not to mention cutting that budget in half or less, opting for something smaller and more intimate, and pocketing the rest to do with as you please.) Here, 10 things you could do with that money if the ~princess for a day~ theatrics are just not for you: