7 awesome things you could buy for the average cost of a wedding

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While lots of couples like to go all-out with their weddings, some find the $26,645 that the average American wedding costs a little excessive. Eloping is becoming increasingly popular as more couples decide they'd rather hold an intimate event than dish out the big bucks. After all, money is a big reason fewer millennials are getting married than ever.

If you decide to skip out on the big wedding—or go for a cheaper version of it—one advantage is that you can spend the cash you would've reserved for it elsewhere. Here are just a few ways you could allocate it:

1. Splurge on the honeymoon

That $26,645 is enough for a long, luxurious trip is an understatement. In fact, $25,000 allowed one person to go on a two-month expedition in Antarctica and South America. Another traveler used that much money to visit a top spa in Hong Kong and stay in villas with private butlers in the Maldives. If a luxury vacation isn't for you, you'll get a whole lot of regular ones—approximately eight 12-day international trips and 46 four-night domestic ones, to be exact.

2. Give your home a makeover

You can make your everyday living space crazy-gorgeous for less than the cost of decorating for that one event: $26,645 is more than enough to sub out your Ikea furniture for several cute antique pieces, invest in some artwork to make your walls a bit less drab, or get that king-sized bed that would help both of you sleep better.

3. Upgrade your apartment or, instead of redoing your current place, you could just get a new one altogether. In New York City, the average one-bedroom is a staggering $2,834 a month, while the average two bedroom is $3,635. Even with those high prices, $26,645 will cover an upgrade from a one bedroom to a two bedroom for almost three years.

4. Eat dinner out (a lot) more often Let's say your average dinner out together at a fairly nice but not over-the-top restaurant costs $50. The cost of a wedding will cover 533 of those, which means you and your boo could go out to dinner an extra night each week for 10 years—or literally every single night for a year and a half. Not a bad way to start off your married life together.

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5. Get a vacation home The average one-week-a-year timeshare costs $19,000, plus an additional $660 per year. So, $26,645 should reserve you a nice romantic getaway.

6. Buy a new car Well, almost. The average cost of a new car is $33,560. But it's not a huge difference, and if you want to be festive, you can drive off from your elopement or small wedding with a "just married" banner on your new car's rear window.

7. Make a joint donation This idea comes from psychotherapist Katherine Schafler: "Finding a life partner can feel like such a gift, like the greatest treasure, and when we feel so overwhelmed with that particular brand of abundance, we're hard-wired to want to give back," she explains. "And that's a great question to ask when you find yourself in a wealth of love: 'How can we share this?'" Instead of using your savings toward yourselves, you can celebrate your marriage by donating to a cause you both believe in. And if either of you have changed your names, you've got a new name to donate in.

Wedding can be amazing experience, and there's no shame if you want to prioritize having one giant bash. But if you're one of the lucky few who's managed to save up for a wedding, this all makes a pretty compelling case to funnel those savings elsewhere.

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