September 4, 2017

Study: Average Cost of a Wedding

Read more about Love

Wedding costs seem to rise every year. But what are people actually paying? From the venue to flowers to cake, we slice up all the surprising costs of tying the knot.

Average Wedding Costs

  • How much is the average wedding?
    The average couple spends a whopping $35,329 on their wedding WITHOUT the honeymoon. This is an 8.2% increase over last year's average.

  • What is the average cost of a small wedding?
    A small wedding typically, one with 50 or fewer guests will cost between $7K-15K. The exact price will depend on location, catering and other details.

  • What is the average cost of a wedding with 100 guests?
    Most "medium-sized" weddings with cost from $30,000 to $50,000 on average.

  • Which state has the most expensive weddings?
    Hawaii is the most expensive state to get married with an average cost of $39,078.

    Average Wedding Cost by State

    Alabama: $17,216
    Alaska: $34,298
    Arizona: $21,605
    Arkansas: $17,433
    California: $31,437
    Colorado: $27,646
    Connecticut: $35,702
    Delaware: $28,067
    District of Columbia: $36,082
    Florida: $20,933
    Georgia: $21,666
    Hawaii: $39,078
    Idaho: $19,925
    Illinois: $25,918
    Indiana: $21,004
    Iowa: $23,426
    Kansas: $22,407
    Kentucky: $17,607
    Louisiana: $19,681
    Maine: $26,211
    Maryland: $33,755
    Massachusetts: $35,966
    Michigan: $20,942
    Minnesota: $27,332
    Mississippi: $15,260
    Missouri: $20,058
    Montana: $20,706
    Nebraska: $23,488
    Nevada: $21,879
    New Hampshire: $33,612
    New Jersey: $36,943
    New Mexico: $18,470
    New York: $34,315
    North Carolina: $20,416
    North Dakota: $26,774
    Ohio: $21,478
    Oklahoma: $21,032
    Oregon: $26,175
    Pennsylvania: $28,827
    Rhode Island: $30,861
    South Carolina: $20,047
    South Dakota: $22,896
    Tennessee: $18,346
    Texas: $24,520
    Utah: $27,095
    Vermont: $30,257
    Virginia: $29,196
    Washington: $29,511
    West Virginia: $18,228
    Wisconsin: $23,680
    Wyoming: $26,017

  • What percent of couples go over their wedding budget?
    Almost 50% of couples spend more than they originally budgeted. Custom entertainment alone has seen a 30% increase since 2009. Think photo booths, fireworks, and guest musical performances.

  • How do you budget for a wedding?
    Setting the budget can be more stressful than working up the courage to propose. 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

    What was the average cost of a wedding in 2018?
    In 2018, the average cost of a wedding was $33,391, according to The Knot.

  • Why are weddings so expensive?
    The top three expenses that make weddings so costly are usually
    • Venue ($16K)
    • Reception band ($4K)
    • Photographer ($3K)

    A larger wedding (100-150 people) will also result in a heftier price tag.

  • How to have a cheap wedding?
    A smaller wedding can cut down on costs. But there are other ways to save money.

    Look for all-inclusive venues that offer catering services and a space for the ceremony. And skip superfluous details like wedding favors or expensive invitations.


  • How much do the average bride's parents pay for the wedding?
    In keeping with tradition, the parents of the bride contribute an average of 44% of the wedding budget.

  • How about the groom's parents?The parents of the groom contribute an average of 13%. The bride and groom themselves pitch in around 42%.

  • What percent of couples pay for their own wedding?
    About 10% of couples pay for their own weddings.

  • How much money do you need to save for a wedding?
    The price tag depends largely 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 get started:

    • 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 "surprise" costs. You can't plan for the unexpected.

  • What is the average cost of a wedding planner?
    Wedding planners cost about $2,000 on average, though more well-established, full-service planners can cost up to $10K.

    Consider how much help you'll need and what work you can do yourself before hiring a planner that best suits your needs.

  • How much does it cost for a destination wedding?
    The largest factor in destination weddings is the number of 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 cost to be a bridesmaid?
    It can cost an average of $1,500 for the privilege of standing by the bride on her big day. Costs can include:

    • Clothing and ccessories
    • Hair and makeup
    • Events
    • Gifts


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

    A ceremony and reception at the Manhattan Penthouse on Fifth Avenue will cost you around $35,000 for 150 guests. Weddings in Arkansas 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. Plan on anywhere from $150-$500 for bouquets for yourself and the wedding party. Budget anywhere from $20-$400 for table arrangements as well.

    Choosing in-season flowers can save you hundreds of dollars. If you prefer specific out-of-season flowers, prepare to pay extra.

    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?
    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?
    Those precious memories will cost 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 to avoid disappointment. Do you want shots of everyone getting ready? Do you want to see the groom and his nervous jitters on his way to the church?

  • How much does a videographer cost?
    If you will want to 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. Don't assume there'll be 2 shooters to capture every moment. If you want everything, be specific about your needs.

Dressing the Part

  • How much is the average wedding dress?
    The average bride spends $1,564 on her wedding dress. And don't forget the accessories like veils, shoes, and jewelry.

    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.

  • 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. The bad news is that he'll likely have to return his attire.

  • How much is the average wedding ring?
    The average engagement ring costs $6,163 today. You'll save some money on the wedding bands, though.

    On average, you can expect to spend about 33% of the cost of the engagement ring - a total of around $2,100 for both the bride and groom. Of course, this depends on the type of metal and the number of diamonds.

Wondering how a wedding ring differs from an engagement ring? Read our article for the answer.

The Big Day and Beyond

  • How much is the average rehearsal dinner?
    You won't just feed your guests once; you'll need a rehearsal dinner. You should budget around $2,000 for this important meal.

  • What's the average price of a marriage license?
    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 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, that may seem like a bargain!

    Planning your honeymoon? Check out our roundup of the best travel credit cards to learn how you can earn free flights and hotel rooms.

  • How much does it cost to elope?
    You can spend as little as $100 on a courthouse ceremony. Or whatever you like to go someplace else (just be 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 event can cost a fraction of the cost of an actual wedding.

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Financial Infidelity: Marriage and Money


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