Editor’s note: I wrote this article when I was a full-time financial reporter for CNBC Make It. This piece was published by CNBC Make It on Feb. 14, 2020. I uploaded a portion of the article to my online portfolio on April 22, 2021.

Weddings aren’t cheap. In the U.S., weddings cost an average of $33,900 in 2019, including all the expenses related to the engagement ring, ceremony and reception, according to the latest Real Weddings study from The Knot.

That’s just $31 less than the average cost of a wedding in 2018, and a significant drop from 2016 when couples spent $35,309 on average. This trend toward spending less has to do with the fact that people are becoming more cost-conscious about wedding planning, The Knot says.

A majority of couples (69%) think budgeting is one of the most important elements when planning a wedding, second only to guest experience, the study finds. “With [the average] couple covering nearly half of [their] wedding costs, they’re much more likely to prioritize and allocate budget to wedding details they find to be the most important while saving money on the rest,” Kristen Maxwell-Cooper, editor-in-chief of The Knot, tells CNBC Make It.

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