The Average Wedding Cost Might Surprise You

The most important thing you can do after you get engaged is figure out what your wedding budget is. But to do that, it helps to know what the average wedding cost is, first!

According to the most recent Wedding Market Report, the average wedding cost has stayed relatively the same the past decade. In 2011, there were over 2 million weddings and couples spent $25,631 on average. There were around the same number of weddings in 2019, and on average couples spent close to $25,000, with the median being $13,506.

Of course just like during the Great Recession in 2009, the average wedding cost is expected to drop to just over $19,000 for 2020, and inch its way slowly back up to over the next three years to get to where we’ve been in years’ past.

Photo by Maine Tinker Photography

Still, as we dig into the numbers for 2019, we’ll notice that most likely the biggest spending drop we’ll see is for the number of guests. In 2019 the average number of guests is 125. For 2020 and for the majority of 2021, guests count will go lower than that, but the average spend will remain the same for other vendors. We’ll also likely see couples continue to get married within 25 miles of their own, with only 9% traveling more than 200 miles to get hitched.

So, just how much does the average wedding cost? And what’s taking up the largest part of couples’ budgets? Using reporting from The Wedding Marketing Report, we’ve listed out the average cost for everything from your wedding flowers to your wedding venue, below.

Keep in mind that these figures are based on spending and not vendor pricing. In fact, it could include DIY elements or the purchase of vintage wedding items as well. This is just look at the average wedding cost for couples in the U.S. as a whole. But no matter how it breaks down, knowing what couples are spending will help you determine your own wedding budget!

Wedding Dress Cost

Brides are spending $1,200 on their wedding dress on average, with a median of $810. Grooms on the other hand are spending $200 on a suit or tuxedo purchase or rental. Which is about how much brides are spending on just their accessories.

Photo by Kelcy Leigh Photography

Wedding Music Cost

When it comes to wedding djs or bands, couples are spending close to $800 and $1800, respectively, on their wedding entertainment. There’s also lighting to consider (which a wedding dj company will usually offer as an add-on) for $333 on average. Soloist musicians (like those you would use for your ceremony or cocktail hour) average just over $600.

RELATED: Here’s How 10 Couples Threw a Wedding Without a DJ

Wedding Flowers Cost

The wedding flowers cost certainly adds up quickly when you factor in all the different categories. For instance, couples are spending close to $2000 all in for everything from the bouquet and boutonnieres to the table centerpieces and other event decorations. Here’s a look at exactly where the cost is coming from:

Bouquets: $337
Boutonnieres: $152
Decorations: $443
Flowers & Arrangements: $598
Table Centerpieces: $326

RELATED: Wooden Wedding Flowers Could Cut Your Cost in Half

Wedding Invitations Cost

We all know it’s hard to find cheap wedding invitations, and the numbers prove this is true. In fact, couples are spending over $1,000 for all their wedding paper goods. Check out the numbers, below:

Ceremony Programs: $129
Engagement Announcements: $111
Guest Book: $61
Invitations & Reply Cards: $222
Postage: $105
Reception Menus: $126
Save the Date Cards: $112
Table Name and Escort/Place Cards: $85
Thank You Cards: $90

engagement ring

Engagement Ring Cost

You might thing the engagement ring would be one of the bigger wedding costs, and you’d be right! On average couples are spending $3,300 on the engagement ring, with the median being close to $2,000. But what about all the other wedding jewelry that might come into play? This is a breakdown of the most common wedding jewelry costs:

  • Bracelet: $175
  • Earrings: $152
  • Engagement Ring: $3,380
  • Necklace: $201
  • Her wedding band: $769
  • His wedding band: $454

Wedding Photography and Video Cost:

Photographers have always been one of the most expensive wedding vendors, but as we always say, they are undoubtedly one of the most important. A good wedding photographer can make a plain wedding look amazing, and you’ll be able to have those photos as a memento from our big day forever. Here’s a look at what couples are spending on wedding photography on average:

  • Engagement Session: $388
  • Photo Booth: $379
  • Prints: $234
  • Photographer: $1589
  • Videographer: $1,073
  • Photo Album: $400
Catalina Island wedding pictures
Photo by Lisette OC Photography

Wedding Planner Cost

Wedding planners and coordinators are an essential part of your wedding planning. Even if your budget doesn’t allow for a full-on planner, we HIGHLY recommend every bride at least use a day-of coordinator to help keep you (and your family) sane. Here’s what couples are spending on wedding planning help:

  • Day of Coordinator: $806
  • Full Service: $2,704 (this makes sense if the average cost of a wedding is $25,000 and wedding planners typically cost 10% of your budget)
  • Month of Direction: $1,032

RELATED: What Does a Wedding Coordinator Do? We Explain.

Wedding Venue and Catering Cost

We’ve save the best for last…or maybe it’s more like the most expensive for last!

Wedding venues and catering will always be your biggest wedding expense, and encompass everything from your facility rental fee to your food and beverage cost. While we’ve outlined the average cost couples have reported, keep in mind that with all of these numbers, it varies WILDLY based on your location. Major cities will obviously be much more expensive than smaller locales, so take these averages with a few grains of salt.

RELATED: Find the Best Wedding Venues Near Me

  • Rehearsal Dinner: $563
  • Event Accessories: $323
  • Bar Service: $2,365
  • Food Service: $4,618
  • Location Fee: $3,638
  • Event Rentals: $1,749
  • Wedding Cake/Dessert: $463

Weddings are expensive any way you slice it. So before you start planning, be sure to set a realistic budget for you and your partner. The last thing you want to do is start this new chapter in debt, so be sure to set a budget and stick to it!

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