How Much Does The Average Wedding Cost?
Average wedding costs can be quite high, learn what to expect before planning your big day.
A few years ago, when I got my certification in wedding and event planning, the average wedding cost was close to $30,000.
This amount naturally varies depending on different factors such as cultural backgrounds or the location within the US, with major cities in the Northeast spending much more than smaller cities of the Southwest.
Fast forward to 2020, and according to The Knot’s 2019 extensive survey, the new national average is now hitting $33,900 for the average wedding cost in the US.
Add in the cost of the average honeymoon, which is currently $5000, and we are just shy of a $40,000 price tag for this joyous yet costly period in your life.
From weddings I’ve attended in recent years and including my own, this national average seems to be quite accurate, but there are always areas where couples can cut costs or maximize their budget.
Of course, a wedding can take place on a much lower budget with just a marriage license, DIY wedding cake, and backyard barbecue but today, let’s take a closer look at the average wedding costs for Americans.
Wedding Budget Allocation
The first question we ask a couple when planning a wedding is “What’s your budget?” Once a dollar value is established, you can start to decide which areas you want to dedicate the largest percentage of those funds.
The exact allocation of expenses will vary per each couple’s preferences, but here is a typical example;
|Allocation of expenses||%|
|Flowers and decorations||9%|
|Ceremony site/Officiant fee||4%|
|Invitations & announcements||4%|
Ways To Cut Wedding Costs
Once you determine which areas of your wedding are the most important, next it’s time to have a look at what can be cut out.
*For us, we immediately cut out the budget set for extra parties. Although rehearsal dinners are not common in Canada, they still would have been the first thing off of our list.
Instead, we casually met up with our parents for breakfast at a restaurant a couple of weeks prior to the wedding for them all to meet. Each group paid their own bill, there was no big family gathering, we saved that for the wedding.
Other parties like the bridal shower are often hosted by the maid of honor and the bachelorette party also tends to be at no cost to the bride unless a more elaborate event is planned like a weekend away.
*Do you need a limo to get where you are going? Or do you or a family member have a nice car that could do the job? I used my mom’s flashy turquoise car.
*Find a venue that will allow you to bring in your own liquor but still have it be served by their bartenders. This can easily save you 50% on liquor costs.
Bonus tip: purchase your liquor where returns are allowed, we returned 1/3 of our unopened liquor bottles for a full return.
Purchase accessories or clothing pieces that can be used on other occasions. My earrings and shoes made their way on our honeymoon and can still be used today.
And hubby purchased a beautiful suit instead of an expensive tux. He spent a small amount renting a colored vest to match the wedding theme colors.
*Wedding dresses often eat up a large chunk of the wedding budget. Once you find your special dress, grab the model and color number and shop around.
My maid of honor called a few stores and within 2 hours negotiated with a store to order it for me at $400 less than the store down the road.
*Take advantage of online stores where you can cut costs. Sites like Zazzle offer great deals on custom wedding invitations, matching labels, and even tote bags for your bridal party. And I have to say their customer service was excellent.
*Some venues (not all) provide discounts for Friday or Sundays weddings.
*Fewer guests do not necessarily mean less money! Pay attention to the prices. Some venues or caterers will have different price brackets per guest count. Basically, the fewer guests that attend, the fewer savings you get;
100 to 115 persons: $125 85 to 89 persons: $120
70 to 84 person: $130 55 to 69 persons: $148
So basically if you were to have 70 guests attend instead of 69, you would actually save $1112.00!
Whatever your wedding budget turns out to be, maximize every dollar to make it the event of your dreams.
Prioritize what’s most important whether it’s your cake, flowers, or food because those are the special touches you will always remember years down the road.
And if you are looking for additional ways to save some money for your upcoming wedding? Give one of these 11 side hustles ideas a try!
Don’t forget to grab your free monthly budget printable to help you stay on track with your budget.
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Dutch is the author of Vanilla Nomad, Monday’s Not Coming, and Let Me Hear a Rhyme. A professional chef by day, and novelist by night. She received her bachelor of arts in film from Kingsborough Community College and her master of cooking from the New School. A Brooklyn native; she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches. Currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking. You can visit her online at https://vanillanomad.com