How Much Does a Wedding Cost?
Everyone wants to have the wedding of their dreams. This is the one day where you get to celebrate your love on a grand scale with the people who matter most. However, it can be astonishingly expensive to wine and dine your guests on the biggest night of your life.
So how much does a wedding cost, exactly? According to a recent study by The Knot, the average cost of a U.S. wedding in 2018 was $33,931. This includes $2,564 for food and drink, $15,439 for the venue itself, $2,679 for a photographer and $1,631 for a wedding gown.
Why Does the Cost of a Wedding Vary So Greatly?
The numbers above are national averages, but some weddings can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost. This will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Location: The average wedding in New York City costs $76,944, for example.
- Number of guests: The more people in attendance, the more expensive the wedding.
- Miscellaneous costs: How far will you go with invitations, party favors, flowers and decor?
- Entertainment: Are you looking to have a live band, ceremony musicians or a traditional DJ for the reception?
- Rehearsal: The average rehearsal can run you an extra $1,500.
The memories of your wedding are timeless, and this commitment is undoubtedly worth celebrating. Therefore, each and every aspect of the procession and reception is detailed and supervised. These details and responsibilities cost money, including the staff on hand at the venue and a wedding coordinator in most cases.
Don’t Ramp Up Expectations Based on National Averages
A national average above $30,000 is overwhelming for most people. However, these numbers can inflate due to a small percentage of weddings that are done on a higher scale. More luxurious weddings can cost more than $1 million, which factors into the national average.
On the other hand, this average doesn’t include the cost of a honeymoon. According to TripSavvy, the average couple spends $4,466 on this particular trip.
What Are the Best Ways to Lower Costs?
There are a variety of ways you can better manage the costs of your wedding. Moreover, this can be done without hindering the quality of the night. For starters, consider having your wedding during the “off-season.”
Wedding season typically runs from May through October. As a result, many venues will offer discounts for couples who are looking to get married late in the fall or during the winter months. Taking advantage of these deals can drastically reduce your costs by thousands of dollars.
Next, consider asking for help from friends and family. Have a get-together to make decorations instead of buying them. Ask one of your friends to DJ or bartend. If anyone in your family or group of friends is ordained, you can ask them to officiate the ceremony. All of these suggestions will cut out the cost of paying for a professional service.
Finally, as difficult as it may be, minimizing your guest list is guaranteed to save you money. Many venues determine pricing based on guest list size, and vendors do the same. The Knot’s annual report notes that each guest costs $258 on average, and $70 of this cost comes from catering alone.
Set a Budget That Includes Extra Costs
Every wedding has so many working parts to it. There will be many vendors and professionals at play on your special day. This often leads to additional costs that come out of nowhere. From hidden fees to taxes and gratuities, these begin to add up.
This is why your preparation and budget are so important. Make sure that you include extra costs in your overall budget. A recent USA Today interview suggests including a 10% buffer for these additional costs during your planning.
How Much Does a Wedding Cost for Each Party?
What does the bride’s family pay for? What does the groom’s family pay for? This is the first question you will have to answer. As I mentioned above, each wedding will be different depending on your specific circumstances. However, in a traditional sense, the bride’s family commonly pays for:
- The reception, which includes food, drinks, entertainment and the cake
- The wedding ceremony
- Flowers and any special decorations
- The bride’s wedding gown
- Any transportation necessary for the wedding.
The groom’s family typically pays for:
- The wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
- Wedding gifts for the happy couple.
While the majority of the costs are covered by their parents, the bride and groom themselves will spend money as well. This includes wedding rings, personal gifts for each other, the marriage license and the honeymoon.
There are creative ways to cover the cost of the honeymoon. Many couples will utilize their wedding registry as a way for friends and family to “chip in” money for the honeymoon as a gift. Also, from a European adventure to the classic Caribbean getaway, you can cut honeymoon costs through all-inclusive packages that include flights, resorts, food and drink. Many packages also include specific activities, such as tours and events.
This is Your Day, No Matter the Cost
No matter how big or small your wedding is, it’s your day to make memories and celebrate as a couple. The stresses of planning and the leadup to the big day can be overwhelming, which makes the actual event that much more satisfying.
Enjoy every moment and appreciate every second. This is a time where you will have all of your family and friends in one place. Furthermore, they’re all there for you!
How much does a wedding cost? This depends heavily on your budget. Decide how much you will spend on your wedding and stick to it. And if you’d like to get ahead of the curve and start saving now, sign up for our Investment U e-letter today! Learn how to gain financial freedom by taking your future into your own hands.