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Before you say, "I do," be sure you say you've looked far and wide for a wedding location you can afford. Your wedding will be one of the most important moments in your life, but you needn't go broke for it to be special.

Did you know that couples spend an average of $35,000+ on their wedding, as per the personal finance website, WalletHub? That's a lot of loot for a one-day affair, but Americans are willing to shell it out for their ceremonies and receptions, from photos to food to venue to of course, saying "yes" to the dress. But starting off your life together shouldn't put you in the hole when you've surely got bills to pay and plans for the future.

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Perhaps Americans ought to take a cue from the Europeans. According to Brides magazine, "Americans tend to spend six times as much money on their ceremony and reception as Europeans do." They'd rather save their hard-earned dough on more practical things like a house. Sensible? Sure. Romantic? It all depends on how you look at it.

Because we all know that money matters can create tension and stress. The last things a soon-to-be-married couple need during a time that is supposed to be full of joy and excitement. Brides notes, "42% of women and 32% of men feel overwhelmed by the wedding planning process, which, as you can imagine, puts a damper on the whole 'we're going to spend the rest of our lives together!' idea."

One way to cut down on costs as well as the accompanying stress? Find an affordable wedding location. WalletHub recently released a report – 2018's Best Places to Get Married - where their team of experts, "compared more than 180 of the biggest U.S. cities across 23 key indicators of cost-effectiveness, convenience and enjoyment."

These key indicators of "wedding-friendliness" include lowest (and highest) average wedding cost, number of wedding chapels and churches per capita, number of event planners per capita, number of bridal shops per capita, number of flower shops per capita, number of event spaces per capita, cities with the most attractions, foodie-friendliness, popularity as a travel destination, where you'll find the best (and worst) weather, hotel availability, etc.

Using their unique methodology after compiling their findings, the 182 U.S. cities were ranked from best to worst. The top five cities: Orlando, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles, CA; and Miami, FL all fared well in the various areas WalletHub considered. On the other hand, Bridgeport, CT; Warwick, RI; South Burlington, VT; Worcester, MA; and Juneau, AK ranked at the bottom of the barrel for their failure to meet WalletHub's standards of wedding-friendliness.

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Let's get to some specifics. The top-ranking city, Orlando, is full of flower shops. Flowers are a must-have at nearly every wedding. The fresh and fragrant decorations can be pricy, but with so many shops in the area it's all about supply and demand, bringing costs down while still providing floral flair for a beautiful setting.

City number 3, Los Angeles, has plenty of bridal shops all over the city, allowing brides-to-be to price shop and still find a gorgeous gown that dazzles. Although New York City (ranked #9) has the most bridal shops of all cities compared, other factors brought L.A. to a higher spot on WalletHub's list, like NYC's super-high average cost for weddings.

As for the lower-ranking cities, Juneau and Warwick's bad weather caused their spots to plummet, and Bridgeport's high average wedding cost made it an undesirable place for those seeking to spend less. The city with the lowest average wedding cost of all is El Paso, TX, which ranked #29 overall. Texans may "do it bigger" but in El Paso, they manage to count their pennies.

To see WalletHub's full 182-city ranking as well as additional findings, see their full report.

Along with the city itself, the venue in which you choose to tie the knot can be a money-saver too. Nerd Wallet compiled a list of affordable wedding venue ideas for those who want to get hitched without breaking the bank. They offer less-expensive solutions than the average $2,197 spent on a ceremony site and $16,107 on a reception venue, as per The Knot's Real Weddings Study.

Some of Nerd Wallet's suggestions for weddings are libraries and museums, restaurants, boats, and theaters. They also offer advice including choosing an off-peak time (or day of the week) to hold the wedding, having the ceremony and reception at the same location, and trimming the guest list. See more of their money-saving tips.

"For richer or for poorer" shouldn't start out with you in debt. Spend wisely from the get-go and kick off your marriage with money in your pocket.

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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