The average cost for a wedding in North and Central Jersey in 2019 is $58,106 — and the average cost of having wedding in South Jersey is $47,148.

That is way more than the average national cost for a wedding, of just $33,931.

But Lauren Kay, executive editor at The Knot in New York City, said the really interesting statistic to come out the site's survey earlier this year is how couples are spending their wedding budgets. She said the big money is being spent on entertainment.

That used to mean a DJ or a band. But now, she says, that has grown immensely — to  include things like synchronized swimmers, magicians, school mascots showing up in costumes or special performances. The expense of entertainment has more than tripled from 11% in 2009 to 38% in 2018, Kay said.

In order to free up money for wedding add-ons, many couples are choosing to have smaller weddings. Reducing the guest list is not so much about cost-cutting, but wanting to gather an intimate group of people Kay said. It also allows a little more money per guest in terms of entertainment or other expenses.

The guest experience is very important to couples, Kay say. That might involve delighting guests with delicious food, having interactive food stations manned by chefs or having flair bartenders who can mix cocktails on the fly and do cool tricks with their equipment.

"It really is indicative of the couple and their personalities and what matters to them," Kay said.

She said couples are looking to use entertainment and the entire guest experience to reflect their personalities and unique love stories. Personalization is huge in how couples treat their guests, stressed Kay.

So in order to spend more dollars on entertainment, couples need to cut corners somewhere. Kay said many are rethinking the setting. They are opting for smaller or non-traditional venues such as art galleries or bars — even backyard receptions.

Many couples are also rethinking the date and time to save money. The most popular month to get married in 2019 is October. Kay said many couples are looking to shift away from popular, traditional summer weddings to shave costs. If a couple is looking to get married between January and March, they are sure to put more dough back in their wallets.

Kay said to consider a Friday night or Sunday-afternoon wedding instead of the traditional Saturday night to save some bucks.

Couples are also picking two or three things to prioritize. So if the couple is a foodie couple, they may choose to blow their budget on food while cutting out favors, a huge wedding cake and an open bar with top shelf liquor. They may instead choose to offer a signature drink that means a lot to the couple along with beer and wine and an assortment of desserts.

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