Welp. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but here it is: Wedding costs have reached an all-time high. Or at least they did for 2014, according to The Knot’s annual Real Wedding Survey, which tallied responses 16,000 brides and grooms across the United States.
In fact, wedding costs have steadily risen over the past 4 years. According to the study, the average wedding cost for 2014 was $31,213, which is a 4.5% increase from the previous year. I’ll go get you (and your wallet) a tissue.
There’s no two-ways around it these days that weddings are more expensive than ever. The study showed that 70 percent of weddings ranged anywhere from $10,000-$65,000 (excluding honeymoon). And while couple’s with the bigger budget might be tipping those scales more, an increase in spending was found “across all income levels and regions,” Dhanusha Sivajee, executive vice president of marketing for The Knot’s parent XO Group, told CNBC. “I think it goes beyond inflation,” Sivajee said. “We’ve seen the amount of guests go down but the amount of spend per guest go up.” According to The Knot’s Editor in Chief Rebecca Dolgin, the average wedding now has 136 guests, down from 149 in 2009.”
One of the reasons budgets might be going up is because couples are spending more to make their wedding unique and highlight their personalities. This might mean renting a nontraditional wedding venue or spending more on the reception and cocktail hour and less on the ceremony itself. The study also noted that couples are leaning towards more casual celebrations (even if the price tag doesn’t reflect it). In 2008 around 20 percent of couples had a black tie affair, which is now down to 16 percent in 2014. Couples who described their wedding as casual also rose from 12 percent to 18.
And setting a budget (and sticking to it) is still a major problem. The study found that 45 percent of couples busted their budget, while 23 percent didn’t even have one. But who’s paying for everything? On average, the bride’s parents contribute 43%, the bride and groom contribute 43%, and the groom’s parents contribute 12% of the total wedding budget (with “others” accounting for the remaining 2%). 12% of couples pay for the wedding entirely themselves.
So where is all the money going?
The survey looked at the National average spend on various items (from those couples who have hired a professional vendor for each service), such as how much wedding flowers cost to how much wedding invitations and wedding cakes cost. I’ve created an infographic with the data below. And while they don’t tally up to the National Average Wedding Cost (because some couples choose to have certain items over others), it’s still good to see how much is being spent and where.
Share your wedding budget (anonymously or not) in the comments section below! Or tell us how you’re saving (or splurging).