The Average Cost of a Wedding: How Much Should You Spend?

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Planning a wedding can be a joyful experience, but where should you begin? You can hire a professional to manage every detail of your nuptials, or you can opt to go it alone. Either way, your first thought might be, “How much will it all cost?”

Whether you want to take the DIY approach or get some professional help, continue reading for tips on keeping your wedding budget on track for one of the most memorable days of your life.

Average Wedding Costs

According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding was $19,000 in 2020. In its study, The Knot reported that the state with the lowest 2019 average wedding cost was Utah at $19,700. New Jersey came in the highest at $53,400.

If you and your beloved are among the wedding hopefuls this year or next year, the following are some important things to consider as you plan your big day:

  • What do typical wedding services cost where you live?
  • How will hidden costs affect your wedding budget?
  • What do you need to include in your wedding budget?

Make Your Money Work for You

What Contributes To The Cost?

To ensure that you get exactly what you want within your wedding budget, look at WeddingWire’s itemized list of wedding services and their costs based on the national average. Planning carefully can decrease your chances of having unwanted surprises along the way.

1. Wedding Planner

  • Average Cost: $1,000-$2,500: day-of, month-of, full-service, or destination wedding
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Wedding day tasks, such as timeline, setup, managing seating chart
    • Venue selection
    • Communication and correspondence
    • Post-wedding cleanup and breakdown

2. Flowers

  • Average Cost: $700-$2,500: bride’s bouquet, bridesmaids’ bouquets, mothers of the bride and groom flowers
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Florist consultation
    • Floral samples
    • Floral storage
    • Delivery and setup
    • Cleanup

3. Wedding Cake

  • Average Cost: $300-$700: bride’s cake, groom’s cake
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Cake(s)
    • Consultation and tasting
    • Stands, toppers, utensils
    • Extra top tier for the first anniversary

4. Officiant

  • Average Cost: $200-$450: religious or secular
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Premarital counseling
    • Travel expenses
    • Performing ceremony
    • Fill out, sign and submit marriage license to the state

5. Photographer

  • Average Cost: $1,150-$3,000
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Number of hours
    • Travel expenses
    • Additional staff
    • Digital images and editing
    • Copyrighting
    • Prints and albums

6. Videographer

  • Average Cost: $1,000-$2,500
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Number of hours
    • Travel expenses
    • Video editing and highlight reel
    • Extra staff

7. Catering

  • Average Cost: $1,800-$7,000, per-person or buffet
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Cost of food and beverages
    • Additional staff, such as chefs, bartenders, servers
    • Equipment rentals, such as tables, chairs
    • Additional fees, such as corkage, cake cutting

8. Wedding Venue

  • Average Cost: $3,000-$11,000
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Location fee, such as church, banquet hall, hotel
    • Parking
    • Tips

9. Reception DJ

  • Average Cost: $780-$1,495
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Playing recorded music
    • Emceeing
    • Making toasts and announcements
    • Lighting, audio/visual equipment
    • Photo booths, video screens

10. Live Band

  • Average Cost: $2,850-$6,488
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Emcee
    • Audio equipment
    • Microphones, sound system, speakers
    • Performers
    • Travel expenses

11. Ceremony Music

  • Average Cost: $330-$700
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Soloist, duo or group
    • Live or recorded
    • Processional and recessional

12. Bridal Gown

  • Average Cost: $280-$1,650
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Cleaning
    • Preservation
    • Accessories and undergarments
    • Alterations

Make Your Money Work for You

13. Groom’s Tuxedo

  • Average Cost: $280-$1,650, rental or purchase
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Shirt and slacks
    • Tailoring
    • Accessories

14. Transportation

  • Average Cost: $500-$1,100
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Car, van, bus, limousine, SUV
    • Insurance
    • Chauffeurs, drivers
    • Beverages
    • Tips

15. Hair and Makeup

  • Average Cost: $150-$600
  • What’s Commonly Included:
    • Hairstylist, makeup artist
    • Products
    • Extras, such as eyelashes, waxing
    • Additional staff
    • Touch-ups
    • Tips

    Wedding Planning Tips

    If you want to save some money by planning your own wedding, here are three tips to help keep your costs down:

    1. Stick to your budget. Your budget is the foundation of any decisions you make about your wedding. Make sure that your personal finances are in order before diving into wedding planning.
    2. Get and stay organized. Keep all of your wedding business intact and in the same place. Use apps and online tools to organize all of your plans and documents.
    3. Consult your partner. You’re not in this alone. Your partner’s opinion matters. Make the decisions together to avoid any conflicts on your wedding day.

    Good To Know

    Don’t forget to build in a cushion for emergencies, miscellaneous expenses and unplanned expenses such as child care services, event liability insurance and postage for sending save-the-date announcements and wedding invitations.

    If the average wedding cost is out of your budget range, consider cutting some corners to start your happily ever after off right. Sticking to your wedding budget could mean doing something as simple as trimming the guest list or having a weekday ceremony instead of one on the weekend. The choice is yours.

    Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

    About the Author

    Kathy Evans is a personal finance freelance writer and entrepreneur with a technical writing and instructional systems design background. She holds an MS in technical writing and informational design and is currently a doctoral student in instructional technology at Towson University. Through work experience in the federal government as well as commercial and nonprofit industries, she has focused her freelance writing on finance, investing and economic content with a specialization in budget coaching.  

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