How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost?

Wedding costs vary depending on the state where the ceremony is held, the season, and the couple’s taste in music, food, and other wedding essentials. On average, a wedding ceremony in the United States is likely to set you back $28,000. To soften the financial impact occasioned by wedding ceremonies, most couples now prioritize budgeting and advance planning for their nuptials. This includes conducting a comparative study on the wedding venue, catering, wardrobe, and all other related costs and adequately making provisions for them. Here are some approximate past wedding prices you can bear in mind when budgeting for a wedding.

Average Cost of a Wedding by Year

Year Average cost
2015 $32,641
2016 $35.309
2017 $33.391
2018 $33,931
2019 $28,000
2020 $19,000
2021 $22,500

*Source: Business Insider.
*Please note that the averages above may include some non-essential items. How much a wedding costs may vary depending on the extraneous items a couple opts to include in the wedding costs.

Average Wedding Cost by State

The following is the average wedding cost across all 50 states as of 2021

State Cost
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
District of Columbia
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
$15,056
$24,037
$18,782
$12,426
$26,049
$20,771
$29,499
$27,965
$23,416
$15,936
$19,142
$25,747
$15,116
$20,617
$17,408
$16,531
$16,380
$13,537
$16,842
$19,069
$27,498
$30,489
$17,742
$21,485
$13,399
$15,328
$14,599
$16,603
$14,877
$27,074
$30,357
$14,591
$27,533
$17,445
$16,541
$17,899
$13,881
$19,580
$23,025
$25,458
$17,087
$15,217
$14,057
$19,324
$19,582
$20,575
$23,966
$24,629
$12,498
$19,606
$18,890

*Source: Valuepenguin.com.

The cost of weddings varies from one state to another. Overall, the western and southern states often record lower wedding costs.

Average Cost of Wedding Services and Items

Item Average cost
Wedding and reception venue $10,500
Officiant $280
Rehearsal dinner $1,900
Wedding dress $1,600
Rental tuxedo $280
Wedding photographer and videographer $4,200
Wedding Invitations $590
Wedding planner $1,500
Rings $5,900
Catering (serving 50 guests) $3,500
Cake $500
Flowers $2,000
Reception DJ/ Band $1.200 to $3,700
Wedding day transportation $800
Favors 300

*Source: Business Insider.

This list above is by no means exhaustive, and couples may opt to include any other additional items they deem necessary for an optimal wedding experience. Conversely, some of the items on this list are optional, and their inclusion and cost range selection is left at the sole discretion of the couple. Couples keen on cutting costs may, for instance, elect to handle some of the tasks themselves. For instance, instead of hiring a wedding planner, you could consider handling the planning yourselves.

How to Set a Wedding Budget

Finally, your nuptials are insight, and it is time to crunch the numbers. How much is a wedding going to cost you? And how do you go about setting a budget?

1. Research

Find out all that goes into making a wedding a success. At the research stage, it is okay to gather all information regarding the services you may outsource and how much they cost. Being aware of all the helpful services in the market may help you avoid dealing with some hectic challenges if you get overwhelmed by tasks.

2. Determine How Much Money is at Your Disposal

Before committing to any services or supplies for your wedding, consider your budget. That includes any money donated by family and friends for purposes of the wedding. A good rule of thumb is to have a saving scheme for the wedding right from the time you get engaged. This helps you avoid the temptations of taking loans to finance your wedding or overly relying on friends and family.

3. Determine Your Non-Negotiables

With a clear idea of how much is at your disposal, you can now evaluate what items are an absolute necessity. These are your non-negotiables. Itemize each of these and write down the corresponding approximate cost of each. Doing this helps you get a rough idea of how much of your budgeted sum is left over for the non-essential items.

4. Comparative Analysis

Come up with a rough breakdown of all the items that shall be included in your wedding, starting with the most essential to the least essential. With this list at hand, conduct a comparative price study across different service providers. In other words, shop around and compare prices offered by different shops.

5. Allocation

Based on your findings, decide on which service providers you wish to hire and agree on timelines for given tasks.

Conclusion

Proper budgeting and planning for your wedding can take an immense load off your shoulders. For starters, you will have managed to spare yourself the anxiety, stress, and sometimes inconvenience that comes with a last-minute rush. More importantly, budgeting and planning avail you the opportunity to fully optimize your money and get a bang for your buck.

Matthew Levy Matthew Levy Last update:
Matthew is a freelance financial copywriter with 10+ years in financial services. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics with business and finance options and is a CFA Charterholder. He is from Vancouver, Canada, but writes from all over the world.