How Much a Wedding Costs

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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.”

Ouch.

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).

wedding cost

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8 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    This budget is calculated wrong it adds up to $51213 not $31213! Just $20000 off lol

  • Mazza says:

    Can you do a budget for higher than the national average? There are so many out there for the national average. What about doing an estimation on higher budgets such as $100,000 + or $150,000 budgets. There’s a market for these types of weddings and providing information for higher end wedding budgets, will increase your site traffic and much more.

  • Vicky says:

    You are so right they are so expensive. I didn’t realize it until I started planning my daughters wedding and my husband works for a firm that uses a lot of the venues that we were considering for the reception and he knew everybody at those places so he had talked to them about the dates we wanted and the cost and the food and the catering and the decorations. They said they needed more info so they told him to tell me and my daughter to come and talk to them so they would know exactly wanted we wanted. So we went and seen the event planner and told her what we wanted and the food and drinks we wanted and what ballroom we wanted and what we wanted as appatizers before we ate supper and ask her what decorations they had and she showed us these and I didn’t like want they had in these. So told her I would talk to phillip and we would let her know for sure by Monday if that was okay because our daughter had to drive from school to Memphis so we could meet with her but I think we are definetly going with her. So Phillip and I talked and we had it at Whisper woods and goodman road and for everything they did it was absolutely beautiful and the food was wonderful. I was going to do the decorations my self and
    Susan fisher said she would help me and she ended up doing it all because I got caught up in doing something else early that morning for the wedding and never made it to the hotel. The lady at hotel said she would decorate for me and let me know cost told her okay if I see I can’t make it because I had already bought the stuff to do it. But Susan called and I told her I was tied up and I was probably going to have to let hotel to decorations. She said no she would it and I said okay and thank you and I told her that I had all the stuff in my car and I can run it by her house. She said no she would come get it now if it was okay told her yes because I am finishing getting dressed to go get done what I have to do then get my hair done and be back home by 12 to get dressed for wedding. So Susan came and hot stuff and I told her kinda what I was thinking and told her if she thought of any thing else just do it as long as it was not gawdy. And we needy something behind the cake for pictures . She
    Said okay. So everything is going to be okay I can breathe now. So I was out for the day. When we showed up for the reception I was amazed at the ballroom fisher had it looking wonderful all tables were decorated with centerpiece’s and candles and bride and grooms table was decorated with roses, centerpiece’s and candles and mirror’s. And cake table and back drop had been decorated with tulle and bows and candles. The room was way prettier than I had expected it was beautiful. I had so many comments about how pretty the reception site was and I had to give credit due to Susan fisher I told everyone Susan fisher decorated my wedding reception site for me while I was doing other wedding stuff she was a life saver to me and a dear friend. I didn’t know how dear until she moved to Texas I sure do miss her. So with all the hub bub time you buy the dress and everything that goes with the dress, bra, slip, the huge hoop that goes under the wedding dress, the shoes. We were lucky we already had something old, she wore her grandmothers diamond earrings, she had something blue the garter , she had something new anything to do with her wedding dress, and what she was changing into when she got out of the wedding dress. Then we had the venue of the wedding and the flowers and such for decorations for the arch since it was a outside wedding around a pond We had a cocktail hour of cheese and crackers and wine and champagne while we were waiting on the bride and groom to get there. When we knew they were close we all went into dining hall and took our seats and then hear come Niki and Andrew they did there 1st dance. And we announced food was served so everyone got to go and say what they wanted to eat and drink. So everyone got served and we all got full and ready to party. And ready they were especially the kids were Niki’s age and her friends they were ready to party. So we’re some of our group was also I was to tired to party I was ready for bed I had a hard day but I hung in there. So we cut the booze off at 12:00 that we were paying for. If they wanted anything else they were going to have to pay for it there selves. We were not intending to serve alcohol except to let everyone toast the kids and it got out of hand but that is okay we didn’t mind the kids had fun and it was there wedding. Everyone was having fun and had a enjoyable time I hope. So with all the cost of the wedding and then the cost of the reception, then the photographer, videographer,then the honeymoon a wedding can be very expensive. Even if you have help like I do it still was costly. We even told our daughter if they didn’t want a big wedding we would give them money to start there life together and then just have a small wedding for family only. She said no she wanted a wedding like her sister had cause she had a big wedding also. I said okay we were just offering them the money instead of a big wedding. Because her husband to be was not out of college yet and the money to come in handy right now for them. She said she knows it would but she wants a wedding so I said okay we ara having a wedding . So I started making plans for a wedding for Niki told her the only way she would get a wedding is she had to finish college and graduate for college or wedding is off. She says she will and I said you will or wedding plans will seize .so over several months we started putting things together. Then in dec Niki graduated college and was thru so she could look for a job now and she found one in Jackson miss. So she moved in with several friends in Jackson. While we were working on wedding plans.

  • Amanda says:

    Ridiculous amount of money but if couples want to keep up with Jones’ and spend that much then go ahead. I have better things to spend it on. My wedding will cost no more than a 5th of that if even that much. Articles like this make young couples feel they have to spend that much. No wonder so many people are in debt. Not a good way to start a marriage.

  • T says:

    Why is the venue rental 14,000. Seems very expensive.

  • Quezada says:

    My wedding is in Sept 2016 so far it’s costing 3,000. My budget is 5,000 and it’s staying that way. I do have family memebers paying for the most expensive food, hall, dress everything else is in me and hubby. No more then that and so far it’s going good. Simple wedding nothing to extreme.

  • Desirae says:

    Venue for Both Ceremony and reception $1,850

    Wedding Dress (Including Alterations) $400

    DJ (Friend of my brother) $650

    Photographer (Friend of mine) $500

    Videographer (Uncle) Free

    Officiant $250

    Catering (Labor Part) $350

    Food (estimated) $300-500

    Wedding planner – Included in the cost of the venue

    Decorations – Included in the cost of the venue

    Save the dates and Invitations $120 (stamps included)

    Favors $50

    Flowers (help from florist friend and DIY) estimated $150

    Engagement Ring $200

    Husbands wedding Band $60

    After Party BonFire (estimated) $350

    I hunt for the deal and make things work. Best deal for me was the venue having all that stuff included. They will set up decorate and tear down. Less work for the family. Busted the budget a little with the DJ but it will be worth it.

  • Megan says:

    I refuse to spend over $30k for a 5 hour party. Do you know what you could do for that much money? My fiancé and I are keeping it below 10K and that still hurts.

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