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How Much Do Weddings Usually Cost

Average Wedding Cost By State

How Much Does a Wedding Cost? | BRIDES

Wedding budgets often boil down to location. States like Kentucky and Utah can offer gorgeous venues without a hefty price tag. If youâre set on getting married somewhere where real estate can come at a premium â like New York or New Jersey â the cost of your venue will be much higher.If you do choose your small hometown for the big event, you may want to consider the cost of transportation for your friends and family.


Surprise Wedding Costs + Fees And How To Avoid Them

Dont get surprised by these unexpected wedding costs and fees. Learn what the common oversights are and how you can avoid letting them bust your wedding budget!

When you are planning your wedding, the best thing to do first is to set your wedding budget. Weddings are one of the most expensive life events you can have, and the sky really is the limit on how much you want to spend.

But what is a normal wedding budget? The average cost of a wedding reception in 2021 comes in around $22,500, according to The Knot. But that doesnt mean you have to spend that much.

There are plenty of ways to still have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank. When youre deciding how much to spend and how much money to allocate to which things, its important to also prepare for unexpected wedding expenses. There are actually quite a few surprising costs involved in hosting a wedding that you might not have even thought about!

Below, we share 20 surprise wedding costs that sometimes feel hidden. Look out for these items in contracts and plan ahead to avoid any financial miscalculations with your wedding budget!

How Much Should I Expect To Pay For A Wedding

According to The Knot, a prominent wedding planning website, the typical American wedding costs $30,000 dollars. $30,000! That money might be used to purchase a good new automobile or as a 20% down payment on a $150,000 property. It’s also more money than many Americans make in a year. However, the cost of weddings has increased over time so that $30,000 figure is probably high now. In fact, according to another source, The Nuts and Bolts of Wedding Planning, you can spend around $20,000 on your wedding without going bankrupt.

In any case, whatever amount you spend on your wedding will be worth it. A wedding is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make and you shouldn’t go into debt to get married. But if you plan well, use resources like ours to help you find cheap alternatives when necessary, and share your special day with family and friends then you can have a beautiful wedding while still being able to afford it.

The average cost of an American wedding has increased over time. According to The Knot, in 2001 the average cost was $22,868 by 2006 it had risen to $27,865 by 2011 it was $36,576.

Wedding budgets vary depending on several factors such as the type of wedding you want, where you choose to get married, how large your guest list is, etc.

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Do Wedding Reception Venue Prices Include Rentals Like Tables And Chairs

69 percent of venues do include tables and chairs, but with others, youll have to hire an outside rentals company to provide tables, chairs, china, flatware, linens, and more. Also, if you would like a wider range of rentals to choose from, consulting with a rentals company can be a good idea. On average, youll spend about $650 on event rentals.

How To Manage Guest List Expectations

How Much Does a Wedding Cost?

What is often a problem for engaged couples is that the couple doesnt agree on how many people to invite or the couples family doesnt agree. This can cause budget conflicts, as well as emotional ones. If youd rather have a smaller wedding than your partner, show them this chart and have a conversation about how the guest list affects the budget.

If the disagreement is with someone who is helping to finance a portion of the wedding, show them how adding their guests affects the wedding costs. Often the person is willing to contribute an additional amount towards catering for the additional guests. That may be enough. But if their guest list is bumping you up to another category of venue, adding multiple tables for flowers, or other fixed costs, have a conversation about how these costs are affected as well.

In conclusion, you can see that cutting 10 people from your guest list could save you almost $1,000. And going from a standard size 100 person wedding to a 30 person wedding could save you almost $10,000 based on some major changes in your fixed costs. Thats why your guest list is the place to start with wedding planning.

Looking for more ways to hack your wedding budget? For a community of like-minded brides in my exclusive, free Facebook group for Bold On A Budget Weddings.

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Be Specific About Who Is Paying For What

It is extremely helpful to determine who is paying for what, especially when you are on a tight and limited budget. Though the conversation might be tough to bring up, it is necessary. There are a couple of ways to do this.

  • Ask parents to cover the cost of a specific aspect. This can be the catering, decorations, flowers, ceremony costs, or even the honeymoon.
  • Ask them for a specific figure. For example, if you and your partner have settled on a $20,000 wedding budget, ask each of your family how much they are willing to contribute to that number.

Most Expensive Wedding Features

The overall cost of a wedding depends on the scale of the ceremony and reception. While the average cost of a wedding in 2020 was $20,300, this cost can quickly rise as the wedding becomes more extravagant. The most expensive parts of most weddings are costs associated with the reception venue, including the cost of renting materials, including tables and chairs, and serving food or alcohol.

1. Reception venue

The reception venue isn’t typically a single, large cost but a series of above-average expenses that add up quickly, especially if the bridal party opts for a package deal from their venue. Taken in sum, the costs of renting a venue, catering the event and providing other related necessaries makes this feature of weddings the most expensive. Common costs associated with a wedding reception venue include:

2. Engagement ring

There may be more variability in price with engagement rings than almost any other wedding-related expense. The cost of an engagement ring averaged $5,204 per wedding, but the cost of a ring depends on the size and type of stone used, the cut, the manufacturer and other factors that could easily catapult the price of a ring into the tens of thousands of dollars, or even higher.

3. Reception band

4. Photographer

5. Florist and decor

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Wedding Planning And Coordination Cost In Nc

Day-of wedding coordination services, which are really more like month-of, average $1,500-$2,500 or so based on the time of year you are getting married for example, it would cost more during peak seasons.

Full-service wedding planning is usually charged by a flat fee, but they typically like to interview you about your wedding before giving their quote. These fees range dramatically based on the level of experience and location, but you can expect to pay between $5,000-$15,000 depending on which consultant you book and the level of services youll need. Some wedding planners charge a smaller flat fee plus a percentage of your final wedding budget. The idea behind this structure is that the planner is compensated as the work increases.

Average Cost Of A Wedding By Year

How Much Should A Wedding Cost?

The average cost of a wedding has changed a lot in recent years. While couples spent an average of $28,000 in 2019, the average spending plummeted in 2020.

The pandemic decreased the average cost of weddings in 2020 to $19,000, with a limited number of guests, and an overall change in how weddings took place, though wedding costs have been dropping in recent years.

Here’s what couples have spent in recent years on their weddings, according to The Knot.

Wedding day transportation $800

While some of these costs are essential, others aren’t. You’ll need an officiant to get married, but you may not need to hire a wedding planner for $1,500, nor spend a full $2,000 on flowers.

While these things compose the average cost, not every couple needs every item on the list. If you’re looking to save some on your wedding costs, opting for more affordable wedding venues and doing some of the planning yourself could be a good way to cut costs.

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Average Cost Of Weddings By State

In 2019, the amount spent on weddings varied widely between states. In areas where costs of living tend to be less expensive, weddings tended to be less expensive, and vice versa.

The Knot compiled data from all 50 US states here’s how your state’s average wedding cost stacks up.

Wyoming $19,800

While more expensive states like New York and Washington, DC had couples spending an average of over $40,000 for a wedding, couples in Wyoming and Utah spent less than $20,000 on average.

Have Honest Conversations With Your Partner

Honest and open-minded conversations must precede looking into the question, How much does a small wedding cost on average? In the first place, your discussions will heavily inform your options and decisions regarding the wedding. Here are some points that should come up in your conversations:

  • What are our priorities? Do we want to splurge on a beautiful venue? Do we want a short and sweet ceremony followed by an elaborate and all-night-long reception?
  • Who do we want to be present with us? Do we only want close friends and relatives, or should we invite some colleagues and distant family members?
  • What is going to make us happy and content with our wedding?

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Grooms And Ushers Attire:


When it comes to figuring out how much you should spend on each part of your wedding, most couples overlook the Grooms attire. But grooms are going to want to look handsome on their W-Day as well as the bride, so why not let Bridebook.co.uk help you decide on the perfect grooms and ushers attire for your wedding day?

Our top tip? Communication. Make sure your ushers and your bride are comfortable with what you chose to wear. You dont have to be all matchy-matchy, but when your wedding comes together as a whole, the groom will be one of its central pieces, so keep that in mind.

Average Cost Of A Wedding Photographer Or Wedding Videographer

Affordable destination weddings in Mexico and the Caribbean

More than 90% of couples hired a photographer in 2019, according to The Knot. This didn’t come cheap at an average price of $2,400.

However, as this data from Wedding Forward shows, the cost depends on the skill level of the person taking the pictures. Here’s what you can expect to spend if you hire photographers with varying levels of experience:

  • Student: $500 to $1,500
  • Professional: $2,500 to $10,000
  • Grandmaster: $6,000 and up

For couples who want to capture their magical moments on video, rather than just on film, the average videographer comes at a price of $1,799 according to Wedding Wire.

However, most couples spend anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 with the cost determined in large part by the amount of time your videographer spends at your event as well as the level of editing requested.

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How Popular Are Destination Weddings

Our findings indicate that more and more couples are opting out of hometown weddings. According to our study in 2019, 21 percent of couples got married under what they consider a destination wedding. This category includes couples who wed in both international locations as well as domestic destinations . The same study also found there were 5,618 destination weddings last year of those, 37 percent took place in the continental US and 11 percent at international destinations, like the Caribbean and Mexico.

Choose Your Traditions Wisely

In line with the tip above, you and your partner must consider what traditions you want to uphold in your ceremony and reception. There might be traditions from different cultures that you or your spouse connect to, thus making you want to include them. Similarly, some wedding traditions are not for everyone.

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How To Break Down The Wedding Budget

For the numbers above, we took the average range of costs for the essentials like the wedding venue, flowers, photographer, cake, dress, hair and makeup, catering, drinks, wedding favors and invitations. Then we separated them into fixed costs and variable costs.

For fixed costs, we assigned a low, medium, and high value based on the ranges in our research. The reasoning is that if you only have 20 guests, you have more options to find a smaller wedding venue at a lower cost, you have fewer tables so you need fewer flowers, etc.

Conversely, if you have 300 people the mid-range and lower cost venues are probably harder to find. Youll need to select a venue that can accommodate that many people. You likely need to spend slightly more than the average on a venue, as well as flowers, etc.

For the variable cost, we did a simple calculation of how much those are per person and multiplied it by the number of people. For example, invitations usually cost $2.50 per set. Does that number go down when you buy them in bulk? Absolutely. But not enough that it affects the calculation significantly.

We accounted for variation by providing a range in the table. Ultimately, a lot of things can affect your wedding budget so you should treat the table above as an average starting point when planning. If you live in a high cost of living location, you will find the costs are more than the averages above.

Setting A Budget: What Are The Big Ticket Items

How much does a destination wedding cost?

One way to get organized is to figure out the big ticket items that youll be putting the most money into. Experts agree that these are generally the venue and the food. And our survey supports this, 61 percent of our survey respondents who included a venue in their budget expect it to be among their top three biggest budgeted items, and half said the same for catering. Interestingly, wedding rings tied venue for most likely big ticket expense.

Art by Tiana Crispino

The median budget for jewelry and the venue is $3,000 each, and catering is $2,000. The other biggest expenses budgeted for are travel, wedding planner , wedding attire , and alcohol .

While all these things are important aspects, experts also advise investing in a good and good DJ/band .

You don’t have to get the most expensive in your area, but you should definitely have someone other than Uncle Bob and his cell phone taking pictures, Gardenia jokes. This is a once-in-a-lifetime day for you and you want beautiful, professional to remember it.

As for DJs, Gardenia says they bring much more to the event than just the soundtrack. For some reason, a lot of couples think a DJ is the vendor to nix if you’re on a tight budget,” she admits. “This isn’t a vendor you can just replace with a Spotify playlist! The DJ is largely responsible for making your ceremony crisp and heartwarming. They also keep your reception lively by feeling out the crowd and playing music that works and shifting accordingly.

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