A wedding is one of the most important events in a person’s life; naturally, they would want it to be special and memorable. However, planning a wedding is not easy, and one of the biggest concerns couples face is the cost of the event. The cost of a wedding can vary depending on several factors, such as the location, the number of guests, the menu, the decor, and more.
According to Knot’s 2022 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding cost in the United States is $30,000. This price covers the wedding ceremony and reception. Still, it does not include the honeymoon or engagement ring costs. However, it is important to note that this number is just an average, and the actual cost of a wedding can vary depending on various factors.
For example, the location of the wedding is one of the most significant factors that can impact its cost. Weddings in large metropolitan areas tend to be more expensive than those in small towns or rural areas. Additionally, the time of year, the venue, and the guest list can all influence the cost of a wedding. For instance, a couple who chooses to have a destination wedding in Hawaii or the Caribbean will most likely have to pay more than those who have a ceremony in their hometown.
Here is a breakdown of the average wedding cost in the United States.
Average Wedding Costs
Location and Transport
|Catering||$75 (per person)|
The cost of the wedding also depends on how many guests are invited. The more guests, the more expensive it is to provide food, drinks, and entertainment. Similarly, the menu and decor for the wedding can also impact the cost. A formal sit-down dinner with multiple courses and high-end table settings will cost more than a buffet-style meal and simple decorations.
What is a Reasonable Wedding Budget?
Everyone will have a different idea of what a fair budget for a wedding is. The average cost of $30,000 is a lot. But keep in mind that statistics don’t tell you everything. Experts say that it’s easy to change them.
So use this info as an initial basis, not as a goal. You can customize your wedding to lessen the cost. You don’t have to buy everything on the list, either. For example, you might skip the favors and connect your phone to a speaker system instead of paying a band or DJ.
How to Plan a Budget Wedding
Your wedding may still be affordable even if you want to have all the bells and whistles by being flexible with the following:
Start planning early.
Start making plans as soon as you can. You won’t have to scramble to find a spot or wedding planner who works in your price range. Instead, you’ll be able to choose from a number of options. You’ll also be able to lock in prices for certain goods and services, so your contract will stay the same even if inflation causes prices to go up. Also, planning in less time means you have to pay rush and other last-minute fees, which drive up costs.
Build a wedding budget.
By setting a spending limit and writing down or using a spreadsheet to track your anticipated wedding costs, you can ensure that you don’t end up in debt. This will allow you to allocate funds more wisely and identify areas where spending can be reduced or eliminated.
Set your wedding priorities
Part of making a budget for your wedding is choosing the parts that are most important to you. These are the top priorities and are non-negotiables. Once you’ve decided on your absolute must-haves for the wedding, you can start looking for ways to cut costs elsewhere. Consider:
- Substituting electronic invites for traditional paper ones.
- Choosing a date outside of “wedding season”
- In-season flower purchases
- Shopping for a wedding dress in a department store
Consider replacing pros
Paying for a professional stylist or a premium package is more expensive than asking a skilled friend to do your hair or make your decorations.
Shop around for cheaper venues
There are several alternatives for reception venues, ranging from banquet halls to castles and country clubs to mansions. If you have the opportunity, choosing a free site is a no-brainer.
Consider suburban locations. Not only does the ceremony venue matter, but also the reception hall. Expect higher rates and increased competition for venues and other services if you want to have your wedding in a major metropolitan area. This will be the case both for venues and for other services.
Another way to save money is to choose a location that includes all reception necessities, eliminating the need to hire them individually.
Cut down the guest list
Some venues have criteria for meeting the minimum and maximum number of guests before they accept the reservation. Suppliers may charge per person for the food and drink they provide. The number of guests attending has a significant impact on the overall cost. If you cut your guest list by ten people, you would eliminate the need for at least one table. This saves you the cost of ten chairs, ten place settings, ten favors, and one centerpiece. You should cut your guest list by ten or twenty persons to realize a potential savings of one thousand dollars.
Seek an off-peak season
Weddings in the summer sun come at a cost. During off-peak months like January and February, ceremony venues, reception halls, and photographers are known to offer discounted rates.
Move the special day
The most common day for weddings is Saturday, and as a general rule, weddings held on days with high demand tend to cost more. Suppose your big day falls on a weekday or Sunday; you can cut costs by doing so unless it also happens to coincide with a holiday observed by many people.
Compare prices and services
Once you’ve chosen the services you want, asking around is the best way to find fair prices and get an idea of how much the bill will be. Talk to family and friends who have recently planned a wedding, or talk to a wedding planner. Get quotes from different vendors. Then choose the choices you think are the best deal.
Pay attention to what is included in the fees as you shop around. Some venues offer complimentary linens, audio equipment, tables, chairs, and other decor. Others will charge you extra or make you rent these things from someone else. Compare each item as you evaluate prices.
Negotiate if necessary
If you have to negotiate, make sure to do it carefully and with respect. Sellers who are just starting out tend to charge less than those who have been in business longer.
Additionally, you can cut your own rates. Asking vendors to reduce package inclusions would be a good idea. For instance, ask the photographer to work a few hours rather than the entire day, or ask the caterer if they can allow one or two drinks per guest rather than having an open bar.
Consider extra costs
Even with meticulous planning, unexpected events are inevitable. Including an extra ten percent in your wedding budget is recommended to cover hidden fees, overages, and add-ons such as cake-cutting and delivery fees, taxes, and gratuities.
Add everything up
Don’t give in to peer pressure, social media, or spending reports. Your wedding budget should correspond to your income, regular expenses, and other financial objectives. When you have decided on your wedding style and priorities, put the numbers in, set a budget, and start comparing prices.
Decide where to stash your wedding fund
It is also essential to give some thought to where you keep your wedding fund. You can keep your money in an account with competitive interest, such as a savings or money market account. If your wedding date is at least a year away, consider getting a certificate of deposit. A CD may provide higher interest rates than a savings or money market account in return for keeping your money locked up for a certain period. Make sure the CD matures before you need the money to avoid paying the penalty for early withdrawal.
Experts advise keeping your wedding fund separate from your overall savings in whatever account you choose. Consider opening a bank account to pay your wedding expenditures with a check or a debit card.
An average wedding in the United States costs around $30,000. However, the actual cost can vary based on several factors, such as location, number of guests, menu, decor, and many more. Couples should take the time to carefully plan their wedding and keep their budget in mind to avoid overspending. Ultimately, what makes a wedding truly special and memorable is not how much it costs but how much love and joy the couple shares on their special day.