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Average Cost of a Wedding

The Average Cost of an American Wedding May Surprise You

It's common knowledge that weddings are tough on the bank account — what you may not know, however, is just how much of a hit your/your parents' funds will take. Value Penguin outlines the average cost of tying the knot in America, and let's just say it isn't as pretty as the fancy white dress.

The average cost of an American wedding in 2016 is $29,858.

. . . But it varies from state to state. In Southern Florida or Chicago, for example, the typical price of a wedding runs about $50,000. In Manhattan, specifically, you might be forking over $88,176 (yikes!). There's a silver lining: if you plan to say "I do," in Mississippi, it'll only cost you a little over $12,500. Iowa's another comparatively low figure at $13,637. In west Texas, the average cost is capped at $13,904. All (your money) is not lost.

So why is a wedding valued in the tens of thousands of dollars, anyway? Well, there's a lot to cover. The Knot breaks it down:

  • Parking/transportation: 2-3 percent
  • Stationary: 2-3 percent
  • Attire: 8-10 percent
  • Flowers: 8-10 percent
  • Reception: 48-50 percent
  • Ceremony: 2-3 percent
  • Photography/videography: 10-12 percent
  • Entertainment/music: 8-10 percent
  • Gifts: 2-3 percent
  • Wedding rings: 2-3 percent
  • Miscellaneous: 8 percent

The Knot recommends saving 20 percent of your monthly income in the time leading up to your wedding. If you want to go all-out with your ceremony, embrace a longer engagement period! YOU make the rules, and a year is really give or take. The longer you stash away cash, the bigger the affair. And check out our tips for spending less — every little thing counts!

jhilly123 jhilly123 8 years
wooo my area (MA) is between 55-93,000. That's a lot of dough and calls for a ton of sacrificing.
7showgirl7 7showgirl7 8 years
I think it's ridiculous to spend that kind of money on a wedding, that would make a nice down payment on a house. Besides most people could careless about going to most weddings their invited to, I say keep it small, family members and a few friends that really want to be there,you can save by doing a lot of it yourself.
lms lms 8 years
The range from where i live is 16K to 26K. I spent over 20K 10 years ago. The numbers are slightly off though because my church was one town over and the reception was two towns over. They reception site was in an upscale location and in between the beach and the intracoastal. We did make a lot of cuts in order to get it at that price.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Also, her fiancee already owns his home, almost free and clear, so (soon) they won't have the burden of a mortgage payment. His car is paid off, as well, and she owes about $2,000 on hers.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Some people can spend the money without going into debt and/or taking money out of savings. My sister is able to spend a nice chunk on her wedding just by cutting back on some other things she used to do, such as buying a ton of clothes, eating out a lot, etc. The added bonus is that, since she's bringing lunch into work and trying not to spend as much money on extra things, she's been able to eat healthier and work out more. Additionally, she decided just to live with my parents a little longer than she had planned, so she's saved a ton on rent. To me, there is a huge difference between spending a lot when you can actually afford it and spending a lot when you have to go into debt to do so.
vvvalerie vvvalerie 8 years
I don't think that I could ever justify spending that much money on one day of my life. I honestly think that when I get married, I'll just do it on city hall and go on a really nice honeymoon after. I would think that the extra debt at the beginning of a marriage would put a lot of unneeded strain on it. That money could go towards a downpayment on a house!
graylen graylen 8 years
Forgot to mention that the average cost for our area was listed as $18K-$30K. Makes me feel a little better! Also, calculated out, my wedding will end up being around $65-80 per person.
graylen graylen 8 years
I think it's pretty easy to reach these rates. I am doing a wedding in Florida for $10K-$12K for around 150 people. This includes a church ceremony and restaurant sit-down dinner (that was the same price as catering elsewhere). Things can quickly add up and we are cutting at every corner we can think of (making a lot of things ourselves, etc).
youbetcha youbetcha 8 years
I don't care much for 'traditional weddings' personally. I don't care what's the done thing. It just seems like a load of hassle and stress, what with so many people at the wedding greet, so many things to prepare and organize. Is the day about you and your husband or about them? Ours was a very small wedding, there were 13 people altogether and that was including the priest. We had a superb gourmet meal with our family and my closest friends. So relaxing!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i'm having a destination wedding and it's actually less expensive than having a wedding here in NYC - so i've managed to cut a few costs that way. after watching all those wedding shows on TV you'd think that you have to pay a lot for a great wedding but that's not the case. under $20k is really doable and still have a fantastic day!
ladybirda ladybirda 8 years
We'll be spending in the 25K range next year, because we're having open bar and a 4 course seated meal. In my estimation, if you're spending 10K or less for more than 100 guests then you're probably cheaping out on food or alcohol - personally, it makes me mad when I travel for a wedding and the "buffet" is just appetizer type stuff, and then you're starving later.
javsmav javsmav 8 years
Our wedding will be in DC on a Saturday evening & I'm not spending $25-30K!!! I'm hoping it will be in $10-15K range. It won't be traditional at all--no formal ceremony, just some vows at the reception. I hate hotel receptions--they're so dark and depressing. The location will be somewhere unique with a vegetarian caterer--no overpriced hotel catering. I'll pick up a few flowers from a street vendor to put in some vases for centerpieces, but no other flowers are needed; no tacky DJ (just an ipod); we'll take metro to the reception. I looked at a budget calculator on the and cut over half the standard costs. I would skip the photographer too, but not sure if my family would let me get away with that. The only thing I won't cut costs on is alcohol! Of course, this is all more than my dream wedding, which is running down to the courthouse, but my future MIL would hate me if I did that and she is a very scary woman.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Wow, I cannot even imagine spending $30,000 on a wedding. We had a gorgeous wedding in 2005 for around $5000 and we had 120 guests. We did a lot of things ourselves and we cut down on the big money-sucking open bar at the reception, simple flowers that we used at both the ceremony and reception, we had the cake done by a family friend who gave us a discount (he owns a bakery), and we got a good deal on the reception site. I don't get people who spend tens of thousands of dollars on a stupid DAY and then end up having to pay that debt back for the rest of their married lives. Seems depressing to me.
bluebird bluebird 8 years
I just got married March 14, and we spent around $5,000, but we got the reception site free. Lucky us!
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
The idea that some people pay so much for their wedding and then start off their marriage in major debt is weird to me. Especially cosidering the #1 thing people fight about in marriages is money.
md12398 md12398 8 years
there are a lot of options that lie between someone's backyard and a hotel, i think; you've just got to think creatively and be really good at research. granted, i don't live in DC, but i've found a lot of neat spaces in nyc that won't bring us anywhere near $25-30k.
MuppetsForDinner MuppetsForDinner 8 years
Good luck trying to spend much under the average cost for your area. We got married in the Catskills of NY and we spent about 40K. We wanted to spend less, but when you only have a few options and you are set on a location... it's quite difficult. Oh, and we did an entire weekend wedding (SO WORTH IT) so that jacked up the cost.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
It says about $15,000 - $25,000 in my zip code. But I'm sure we spent well under $500 for ours. We only bought rings, the license, champagne, and dinner for five.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
I can't imagine having 500 people at my wedding. I don't think I even know that many. I don't even have that many friends on facebook!
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