New Jersey couples planning weddings could be in for some sticker shock. An annual survey finds the average cost to fall near the $50,000 mark.

It’s a few grand more for north and central Jersey — as The Knot groups it — and a few grand closer to $40,000 for south Jersey.

NJ weddings are pricey, so here's some tips (SociaLife Event Planning photo by Tory Williams Photography)

The Knot Executive Editor Kristen Maxwell Cooper says getting priorities set will help couples keep plans from getting out of hand. She says set that wedding budget, up-front. Then, create the guest list, which is directly related to where the reception is held.

That venue accounts for roughly half of a wedding's budget. Plus, couples need to make sure it can accommodate their crowd. You can scroll down to see a New Jersey regional breakdown of average costs for reception venue, flowers, entertainment and more.

So, what can you do to bring your costs down, without giving up on some Big Day dreams?

NJ weddings are pricey, so here's tips (photo from Weddings Down the Shore)

Kelly Heyn, owner of SociaLife Event Planning, says a good deal of her company's clients are getting discounts for booking Thursday evening weddings. She says couples opting for Thursday also are seeing great options when it comes to availability of wedding vendors.

Michael Emens, owner of Weddings Down the Shore, says he's also seen an increase in Thursday and Sunday events. Both planners agree that the fall season has become very popular for Jersey weddings. That's especially true for couples who want a Shore setting without guests paying peak season hotel rates.

NJ weddings are pricey, so here's tips (SociaLife Event Planning photo by Christina Lily Photography)

Dining options are another chance to save some money while also personalizing an NJ wedding. Heyn says there have been fewer "plated" dinners and more requests this year for family style meals.

She and Emens both say specialty stations have become very popular. Instead of picking an entree ahead of time, guests are able to visit sushi or taco stations and be more involved in the experience.

NJ weddings are pricey, so here's tips (photo by Weddings Down the Shore )

Another spot for savings without skimping on fashion — the bridal gown. Cooper says brides-to-be can find "steals" by checking out resale websites, where some gowns have never been worn.

A few examples are OnceWedStillWhite and Tradesy, which also has offerings for grooms and their attendants.

Average expenses from The Knot's 2015 real weddings study:

Reception Venue
• North/Central NJ:$27,291
• South NJ: $22,003

Cost Per Head
• North/Central NJ:$130
• South NJ:$103

Average Number of Guests
• North/Central NJ: 156
• South NJ: 139

• North/Central NJ:$3,934
• South NJ: $3,073

Floral & Decor
• North/Central NJ: $3,168
• South NJ: $2,519

Reception DJ
• North/Central NJ: $2,179
• South NJ: $1,427

• North/Central NJ: $1,193
• South NJ: $988

Ceremony Officiant
• North/Central NJ:$423
• South NJ: $329

Rehearsal Dinner
• North/Central NJ:$1,522
• South NJ: $1,140

Morning After Brunch
• North/Central NJ:$879
• South NJ: $618

After Party
• North/Central NJ: $387
• South NJ: $223

Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee.  A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.

Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook as ProudJersey.