Wedding spending highest since 2008

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HOUSTON, TX – It’s that time of year again when wedding bells start ringing non-stop. But wedding bells also mean wedding bills.

Some say how much people are willing to spend on weddings indicates how well the economy’s doing. Good news, because according to TheKnot.com, a go-to site for brides, things are lookin’ up. Couples nationwide spent more getting married last year than they have since 2008.

The average wedding — about $28,000.

Kelly Balfour says that number’s a bit low for Houston. And she should know since The Knot has recognized her as one of the top wedding planners in town.

“For a pretty average, standard guest list of about 150 to 200 guests, you’re looking more at around 40 to 50000,” says Balfour, who runs Eventology Weddings.

The Knot study sets Houston’s average lower at $31,978.

Kelly’s still doubtful, though, “Is it doable? Sure. Inside town on a Saturday night? I’d say you’d be hard-pressed to come in at $30,000.”

Kelly’s clients Anat Kaufman and Jay Zeidman are getting married this weekend. They think the Knot’s estimate seems way low.

“We have a very large wedding, about 575 guests,” says Jay, who served in George W. Bush’s administration as Liaison to the Jewish community. “Specifically, I think our wedding is costing about a quarter of a million… right around there.”

Yikes! So where did all that dough go?

“Food…cake,” Anat, an architect, says with a smile. “I was adamant about the cake!” she adds, raising her finger as if to bring the point home.

“And definitely the venue,” adds Jay, his hand planted firmly on his lovely fiancee’s knee. “We chose the Corinthian in downtown Houston… You don’t wanna jam a lot of people into a small space, so we definitely spent more on choosing the right venue and the right catering.”

With a $250,000 budget, you got to wonder if they “cut corners” anywhere. Both insist they did.

“The music providers, our DJs, are our friends, so they’re doing it for free for us,” says Jay.

Anat chimes in, “The getaway car is my Maid of Honor’s mom’s car.”

Finishing each other sentences and snuggled up side-by-side, Jay and Anat seem like they’ve been together much longer than their three years. So we have to ask for other other couples tying the knot– what’s their secret?

Jay, 29, seems to channel Dr. Phil, “You have to be willing to work at it.”

“And talk about it!” Anat jumps in with that finger again.

Wedding planner Kelly’s advice brings it back to business, “They need to have a open and frank conversation about the budget up front, and establish what that is, so they don’t go into this with their eyes wide shut.”

But for Jay and Anat, conversation will probably never be a problem. “We’re very comfortable talking about our lives together well into the future, and that was the sign that this is gonna work forever,” Jay says, quite matter-of-factly.