While weddings can be magical and exciting for everyone involved, they can also be incredibly expensive. Even if you’ve spent years saving up for your special day, the rapidly mounting costs might even have you considering a loan to finance your nuptials. Planning to say “I do” in the near future? Let’s look at a breakdown of wedding costs so you know what to expect and don’t have to resort to taking out a loan to finance your special night. If you’re looking to plan ahead for your wedding, or your child’s wedding, then you may want to get your finances in order through the help of a financial advisor.
The Average Wedding Costs
The average wedding in 2022 cost is $28,000, according to a survey by The Knot, and that doesn’t include the cost of the engagement ring. The average wedding cost varies quite a bit by state. Getting married in Wyoming may only cost an average of $15,800 but the same wedding in Rhode Island is going to come with a bill of, on average, $43,000.
If that seems like a lot of money, you might be surprised to learn that couples in some states spent much more than that. There are a lot of items that add up to that total wedding cost and there are plenty of decisions you can make to lower that cost.
For example, where you get married or how much you spend on food or the number of people you invite to the wedding can greatly change the total bill. It’s important to walk through all of your potential costs before making any decisions so that you can prioritize the most important costs to you, especially if you’re trying to hit a certain budget.
The Averages for Necessary Wedding Costs
There are two types of wedding costs: necessary and elective. Most weddings are likely to buy the things that fall into the necessary expenses while the elective ones might make your day more special but not everyone decides to spend on those items. Here are the averages for the things that the majority of weddings will have. Before diving in, keep in mind that weddings are not investments so what you spend is for your joy and memories.
The Average Wedding Dress Cost
For a lot of brides, it’s all about the wedding dress as this is one of the most popular and expensive costs of any wedding. If you’re a fan of any of the many reality TV shows centered around weddings, you’ve probably seen plenty of women spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on a dress they’ll only wear once in their lives.
Despite what you might have witnessed on TV, though, brides tend to purchase dresses at more modest price points. In 2018, brides nationwide spent an average of $1,631 for their gowns, up from $1,509 in 2017. Compare that to the $283 average that grooms spent on their tuxes/suits and accessories.
The Average Wedding Venue Cost
It’s the reception hall that takes the biggest chunk out of couples’ wedding budgets. On average, couples in 2018 paid $15,439 for their reception venues. That’s slightly higher than what their predecessors paid the year before ($15,163). Ceremony venues were much more affordable, on the other hand, costing $2,382.
That means that rather than hosting your wedding party at the most luxurious place in town, it might be worth it to consider cutting your cake somewhere more low key. To take it a step further, you can lower the cost of your ceremony by saying your vows in a nice park or at an unconventional location like a museum. The city where you get married could even make a difference in the total costs.
The Average Cost of Wedding Flowers
The brides and grooms who participated in The Knot’s survey paid $2,534 on average for their wedding flowers and decorations. All too often, couples forget to think about flowers when they start making plans. By incorporating them into your list of expenses from the very beginning and shopping around for the best deals, you can make sure you’re not overspending on floral arrangements.
If you want to save on flowers, think about your guest list. Are you inviting anyone with a green thumb? Odds are you could ask them to contribute flowers to the wedding in lieu of a gift.
The Average Cost of Wedding Rings
Some folks plan elaborate proposals to woo their future spouses. Grooms spent an average of $5,680 on engagement rings for their brides-to-be, down from $5,764 the year before. With regard to wedding bands, data from costofwedding.com says that couples spend an average of $782 on the bride’s wedding band and $455 on the groom’s.
One way to save money and add sentimental value to your wedding is if you can re-use an ancestor’s engagement ring (for instance, that of the bride or groom’s grandmother). A jeweler can clean the ring and make it look like new, or place the stone in a new setting.
Averages of Other Potential Wedding Costs
While every bride will need a place to get married as well as a dress to get married in, there are several other costs that are popular but may not be necessary. Let’s take a look at the costs of some of the most popular wedding costs that fall into that category.
- A Wedding Planner: It’s not uncommon for couples to hire someone to handle every aspect of their weddings, from booking the venue to making sure the flowers go along with the event’s theme and color scheme. The Bureau of Labor Statistics places wedding planners in the same category as meeting, convention and general event planners. In 2019, their median yearly salary was $49,370. For a single wedding, however, planners typically aren’t paid all that much for their services. Wedding planners, on average, cost couples $2,002 in 2018.
- Wedding Invitations: Wedding announcements don’t have to be a huge expense – that is, unless you plan on inviting 1,000 people or you pick the fanciest stationery you can find. The average couple spent $386 on invitations, down from $408 in 2017.
- Wedding Cake: That cake you and your spouse plan to smash into each other’s faces at your reception? It cost couples an average of $528 in 2018. If that’s a steep price to pay for dessert, you have other options. You could offer your guests tiers of cupcakes instead, or serve cheaper sheet cake after guests have gotten a glimpse of a custom-made (but fake) wedding cake.
- Wedding Food: The food served at wedding receptions across the country cost an average of $70 per person in 2018. That’s fairly steep for one meal, but there are plenty of ways to ease the sticker shock. First things first, skip the filet mignon.
- Wedding DJ: Not everyone likes dancing. If you can’t imagine getting married without busting out the electric slide or the Macarena, however, you’ll probably need to make room in your budget for a DJ. That’ll cost you around $1,292. If you want a full band at your reception, that will be much more expensive. The average cost for a wedding band in 2018 was $4,247, more than three times the cost of a DJ. Expect to pay around $797 if you want musicians to play during your ceremony.
- Wedding Photography: Having great wedding photos to share with friends and future children is a must-have for many people. On average, couples spent $2,679 for their photographers. Those who wanted a professional to capture every moment on video paid an average of $2,021.
The Bottom Line
The wedding season falls between the end of spring and the beginning of autumn. Getting married in the winter might be a good way to save money, but you may have to either get married indoors or pay for a destination wedding. Regardless of when you get married, it’s important to price out potential costs and not borrow to pay for your wedding. You can make a budget like you would for any other cost in your life and still make it a magical day. You may even qualify for some tax benefits of paying for certain items on your wedding day.
Tips for Getting Financially Ready for Marriage
- You might also consider sitting down with a financial advisor before the big day. An advisor can help you and your soon-to-be spouse identify your financial goals and come up with a financial plan for your life as a married couple. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now
- Getting a pre-nup before you tie the knot has faced plenty of stigma over the years, but it might be the smart financial decision for your relationship and your situation. Consider the pros and cons before your big day.
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