According to, the average American wedding in 2015, cost roughly $30,000. That's about the same as the total cost of the average new car -- $33,000 -- and in many parts of the country, about half the price of a small starter home. It's $8,000 more than four years at the average state college. It's a year of pay for many new professionals, and twice as much as a minimum-wage worker makes in the same amount of time.

It's a lot of money.

While the family of the bride has traditionally paid for the wedding, with the groom's family picking up the honeymoon, people are getting married older these days, and many couples are opting to foot much of the bill themselves.

A young couple paying $20,000 to $30,000 just for the wedding ceremony may not leave themselves much of a nest egg for the next few Life Stages milestones -- like a new home, or children (who will someday want to go to college and have expensive weddings).

Regardless of who’s paying, most people approach their wedding as a once-in-a-lifetime event, and the memories made are worth more than any money. Rather than cutting corners or shortchanging the experience, letting family members and friends contribute to a wedding savings fund, or helping the couple begin saving when they get engaged, can mitigate wedding costs or alleviate the damage it could do to a young couples finances (or the finances of their loving parents).

We recommend setting savings goals based on particular parts of the wedding budget process.

Suggested items and conservative associated savings goals include:

Flowers: $1,500

Venue: $3,500

Catering: $3,500

Dress: $500-$1,000

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