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Weddings and renovations are both notoriously expensive—the average cost of the former is $22,500—but one is over in less than 24 hours and the other lasts a lifetime. That might just be the thinking of the 1,200 people surveyed for a new report by Homes.com, which found 81 percent said they would choose to put the money toward a down payment instead of the perfect party. Even if you already own a home, that’s not an excuse to spend that much on the wedding either—the money can still be used for useful renovations. By the end you’ll be ready for the perfect backyard ceremony, Father of the Bride style. We’ve broken down the average costs from registry site Zola to see what comparable renovations you can comfortably take on if you leave the flowers and folding chairs behind.

For the Price of a Venue, Install a Kitchen Island

Topping the list of most expensive wedding endeavors is the location for the reception, which can easily be $10,500. For less than a tent outside the country club, you could put in a souped-up kitchen island. A standard base cabinet and countertop typically runs $3,000 to $5,000, but adding in appliances like a dishwasher or opting for a higher-quality stone countertop will be closer to $10,000. 

For the Price of a Band, Hire People to Remodel the Bathroom

You can probably paint every room in the house without hiring anyone. However, you do not want to wing it in the bathroom unless you’re confident you won’t botch the job—a full remodel can set you back as much as the wedding itself. For the $3,000 you’d spend on a band, hire professionals who know what they’re doing. The last thing you want is to try installing the plumbing yourself and have a leak in four months that costs twice as much in damages.

For the Price of Flowers, Remodel a (Kid-Friendly) Guest Room

Anyone who is about to get married has undoubtedly been asked by an aunt when the baby’s coming. Whatever the answer, having a spare room ready for visitors now and a permanent resident later will amount to $2,000—the average price of a florist. In this teen’s bedroom makeover, the same budget afforded her new nightstands, Rylee + Cru wallpaper, a WFH setup, and details like picture lights and rattan lampshades.

For the Price of a Wedding Planner, Redo the Backsplash

Instead of hiring someone to boss you around for a whopping $1,500, you could tile your entire kitchen backsplash: About $1,000 should cover labor and about 40 square feet of 6-inch squares. The extra $500 can go toward getting a slightly more expensive style, like zellige tiles from Clé or these dual-glaze ones from Heath. When you’re going over the seating chart for your low-key micro-wedding at your island, you’ll look up and remember you made the right call.

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