September 4, 2017

Study: Average Cost of a Wedding

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Couples are splurging on all aspects of their wedding today. It seems like each couple tries to outdo the last. The dollar signs just keep flying before your eyes.

Keep reading to learn where the money gets spent the most. Trust us, you'll want to start saving the moment you're done reading.

  • How much is the average cost of a wedding?
    The average couple spends a whopping $35,329 on their wedding. This doesn't take into consideration the honeymoon. Believe it or not, this is an 8.2% increase over last year's average!

  • What percent of couples go over their wedding budget?
    Almost 50% of couples spend more than they originally budgeted. Couples have become more guest-focused. They try to provide the ultimate experience at their wedding. Custom entertainment alone has seen a 30% increase since 2009. Think photo booths, fireworks, and guest musical performances. We can't stress the importance of a budget enough.

  • How do you budget for a wedding?
    Setting the budget can be more stressful than working up the courage to propose. There are many people to please aside from the bride and groom. Before you start cutting corners, use the following percentages for your budget:

    • 50% for the ceremony/venue
    • 10% for the wedding attire
    • 10% for the flowers
    • 20% for the DJ, photographer, and videographer
    • 3% for invitations
    • 3% for wedding rings
    • 4% for miscellaneous costs, including gifts and transportation

  • How much do the average bride's parents pay for the wedding? Average groom's parents?
    Today's parents of the bride stick to tradition. They may not foot the entire bill, but they contribute an average of 44% of the budget. The groom's parents still play a role too. They average a 13% contribution. The bride and groom also contribute around 42%.

  • What percent of couples pay for their own wedding?
    As expensive as weddings are today, it's impressive to think that 10% of couples pay for their own.

  • How much money do you need to save for a wedding?
    The amount you must save depends on your tastes. Do you need a $1,500 wedding gown? Is your per plate cost excessive? Are your parents contributing to the wedding funds? Once you know these answers, you can start saving. Here are 3 simple tips to help you start:

    • Set a budget so you know what you need (add that 5% contingency just in case)
    • Cut spending on things you can do without (Starbucks coffee, weekly pedicures)
    • Invest your savings in high interest yielding accounts (not savings accounts)

    Tip: Save at least 5% of your budget for unexpected costs. You can't plan for the unexpected.

  • How much does it cost for a destination wedding?
    The largest factor in destination weddings is the guests. How many will you invite? How much will you contribute to their costs? On average, an international destination wedding costs $25,800. Domestic destination weddings cost $27,840. The average contribution per guest is $403 for international travel and $276 for domestic. If you plan to help your guests be at your wedding, this can add up.

  • What's the average guest count at a wedding?
    We have actually seen a decrease in the average guest count. Since 2009, guest counts decreased 5.3% from 149 to 141. But the costs have consistently increased, which means the per guest cost increased too.

  • What is the average cost per plate for a wedding reception?
    No-shows get more expensive every year. The average per plate cost is $71. If you have a 10% no-show rate, you are out $1,000.

  • How much does it cost for a wedding venue?
    The wedding venue takes the cake on cost. The national average cost equals $16,107. Think that's a lot? Venues in Manhattan make that look like nothing. A ceremony and reception at the Manhattan Penthouse on Fifth Avenue will cost you around $35,000. That's only for 150 guests. Weddings in Arkansas, though, average $15,000 total with an average venue fee of $6,500.

  • How much do wedding flowers cost?
    Many brides spend 10% of their budget on the flowers. Just how much they spend depends on the type of flowers. Choosing in-season flowers can save you hundreds of dollars. If you prefer specific out-of-season flowers, prepare to pay up, though. Plan on anywhere from $150-$500 for bouquets for yourself and the wedding party. Budget anywhere from $20-$400 for table arrangements as well.

    Tip: On a budget? Consider giving your flowers double duty. Your bouquets can serve as table centerpieces at the reception. This can cut out several hundred dollars from your budget without too much sacrifice.

  • How much does it cost for a DJ at the reception?
    What's a reception without music? A DJ will cost you an average of $1,200. If you are more of a band person, plan for around $4,000. Before you sign a contract, find out what hours they include in the package. Don't forget to ask about breaks and additional costs if the reception goes longer than you planned.

  • How much does a photographer cost?
    You don't want to miss a moment of your wedding day. Those memories will cost you an average of $2,700. Make sure you ask what's included in the photographer's package. Don't assume you'll get the album. The package fee might be a la carte. Also, be very specific about the shots you want. Do you want memories of everyone getting ready? Do you want to see the groom and his nervous jitters on his way to the church? Be very specific to avoid disappointment.

  • How much does a videographer cost?
    If you will spend your Friday nights watching your wedding night repeatedly, be ready to cough up $2,000. Make sure you ask what's included in the price, though. Don't assume there'll be 2 shooters to capture every moment. If you want everything, be specific about your needs.

  • How much is the average wedding dress?
    The average bride spends $1,564 on her wedding dress. But don't forget the accessories. Veils, shoes, and jewelry are a must! If you don't have a large budget, don't fret. Stores like David's Bridal offer dresses as low as $99.

  • How much does the average bride spend on hair and makeup for her wedding day?
    The average bride spends around $220 on hair and makeup. Remember, this is her one day to look and feel like a princess. Let her indulge!

  • How much is the average groom's attire?
    The groom lucks out. He'll spend an average of 83% less than the bride. At just $280, your groom will look as dapper as ever. The bad news is that he'll likely have to return his attire. Yours will sit in a preserved box for the next 50 years.

  • How much is the average wedding ring?
    The average engagement ring costs $6,163 today. Don't forget about the wedding bands, though. On average, you can expect to spend about 33% of the cost of the engagement ring. So figure an average of around $2,100. This is for both the bride and groom's bands. Of course, it depends on the type of metal and number of diamonds. You can certainly find rings for much less or more than the average.

  • What is the average cost of a honeymoon?
    The average couple spends $4,000 on their honeymoon. After all the stress of planning the wedding is done, it's a well-deserved $4,000 vacation!

  • How much is the average rehearsal dinner?
    You won't just feed your guests once; you'll need a rehearsal dinner. This is a time for everyone to get together before the big day. You should budget around $2,000 for this important meal.

  • What's the average price of a marriage license?
    You can't get married without a marriage license. And of course, you can't get a license without forking over cold hard cash. Where you live determines how much you'll pay. For example, residents of Michigan pay just $20. But residents of Florida pay $93! Pay close attention to the waiting period too. Florida, for example, has a 3-day waiting period. You don't want to find out the hard way that you can't get married when you planned.

  • What's the average cost to be a bridesmaid?
    Think long and hard before saying yes to someone you just kind of know when she asks you to be her bridesmaid. It can cost you an average of $1,500 when it's all said and done. Between the clothing, accessories, hair, makeup, events, and gifts, you could have taken a nice trip. Of course, if it's your bestie, it's a no-brainer. Just make sure you budget accordingly.

  • How much does it cost to elope?
    If the above numbers have you shaking in your boots, elope! Of course, make sure you let the important people in your life know first. Then go for it. You can spend as little as $100 on a courthouse ceremony or as much as you want by going away. Just make sure you know how to get a marriage license wherever you head. If you want to include friends and family when you get back, consider an after-party. Even a big party can cost just a fraction of the average cost of a wedding.

Sources and References:

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