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The sticker shock of a wedding is overwhelming. With so many details from the dress to the flowers to the entertainment, it’s difficult to determine where to save and where to splurge. The balance act of creating the perfect wedding for the couple and for the guests to attend is difficult. It’s hard to know what to make a priority. Unfortunately, money does not grow on trees and a couple planning their wedding  will need to make crucial decisions on where to allocate their resources.

In the eighth annual Real Weddings Study by the Knot we see  the average cost of a wedding reaching an all-time high of $31,213, excluding the honeymoon.

So how do you manage the costs?

One strategy for planning your wedding is considering the experience of the guests. Having beautiful, ornate flowers will rarely be a part of your guests memory of your wedding, rather guests will remember how they felt. Did they have an average time and sneak away to a local bar after dinner? Or did they dance the night away and lose track of how quickly time was going by?

The Knot’s Real Weddings Study found that couples were spending more on reception than they did a few years ago. They want to create an enjoyable atmosphere for their guests with upbeat and lively entertainment. Below are the entertainment statistics from 2014:

Reception band/DJ

  • 2014 national average for a reception band: $3,587
  • 2014 national average for a DJ: $1,124
  • Change from 2013: Up $118 (band); up $86 (DJ)

A major takeaway: hiring a DJ is significantly cheaper than hiring a band. DJs allow for an endless variety of music and personalization. Kate Donovan, senior wedding style editor at Brides, pinpoints the modern wedding says “It’s really all about personalization.” Couples want every aspect of their wedding to reflect their personalities and showcase who they are together.

DJs have the opportunity to learn about the couple and arrange for the music to be a reflection of them. Kate Donovan also notes “DJs can make the event more personal by selecting songs that are meaningful to the couple.” Between creating an upbeat experience for guests and continuing the personal touches, the bride and groom should splurge on their entertainment budget.

Check out the rest of The Knot’s Real Weddings Study results here. Learn all about the most expensive places to get married and see the entire breakdown of each wedding budget category. Also, Kate Donovan offers her opinion on each wedding category on CNBC article “What that perfect wedding will cost you.”