By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can pay for a pretty nice wedding.

“We’re bringing in a nine-foot Steinway concert grand piano,” said wedding planner Rachelle Mazumdar, owner of Style-Architects Weddings and Events. “Weddings like this typically run around $80,000 to $120,000.”

But this opulence isn’t so rare these days.

“On a Saturday, [the event space costs] $10,000 to rent it,” Mazumdar said. “And then there’s a ceremony fee on top of that of $1,000.”

Mazumdar, who has done more than 150 weddings, calls it the “Pinterest effect.”

“I don’t think people had any concept of what weddings could be until they started to see what was available to them,” she said.

Mazumdar says the average 2019 cost about $34,000, which is up several thousand from last year alone. But the average wedding that Mazumdar plans is more than double that — with many costing more than $250,000.

“Brides, no matter what their budget is, they’re always bumping it because even if they’re coming in with a really healthy budget, their expectations are just that much bigger, too,” Mazumdar said.

She says the combination of sky-high expectations and rising costs is leading to bigger spending. So who is paying for all of this?

“I see couples pitching in more and more,” she said.

Grooms’ families are helping out, too, and many will have to in order to pull off these trending, larger-than-life nuptials.

“The scale of weddings today, I just, I mean, look at it [laughs]! You know, this is what weddings have become,” Mazumdar said.

Here are some insider tips: Mazumdar says bar tabs are a huge expense. A 240-person wedding can cost $16,000 to $20,000, so a cash bar or beer-and-wine-only option can help. She also says cake is usually cheaper than the trendy dessert bars.

And there is a huge demand for non-traditional venues, so country clubs and hotels — where a lot of people used to have weddings — generally aren’t as expensive as other venues.

For the budget brides out there, Mazumdar suggests trying something out of the box, like a brunch wedding.

Erin Hassanzadeh