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How Much Does a Wedding Cost?

Updated: Oct 30, 2018

Once you get engaged, delving into the world of wedding planning (and wedding spending) can easily become overwhelming. Realizing that in 2017, the average wedding in the United States cost just over $33,000 may have you questioning, well, everything. But before you give up the wedding day you have envisioned over fear of the cost, it’s important to know that what the average couple may have spent does not have to be what you spend. Or, if you are planning on spending that or more on your wedding, it’s also important to know where that money is going. There are endless ways to personalize your wedding, including what you spend and how you spend it.

Let’s take a look at some of the vendors that you will likely hire for your wedding, and what those average costs may be.

-Venue (Ceremony + Reception)

Range for Most Weddings: $2,700 - $10,500, Average Cost: $5,400

Your biggest cost will likely be your venue. Having your ceremony and reception at the same location can cut some costs, including the cost of transportation as you would have to shuttle your guests between separate ceremony and reception locations.

What is included in the cost of your venue rental will also vary between locations. Some venues include everything you need for the big day - from the tables and chairs, to the decor and more - while other venues will just give you access to the space itself. Keep possible rentals and additions needed in mind when choosing your venue to stay within your spending plan.

Tonie Christine Photography


Range for Most Weddings: $400-$1,000, Average Cost $650

Before you set your rental budget, check with your venue to see if you will have everything you need. Starting from a list of what is included will help you narrow down and focus on what you may want to rent.

You can also use rentals to customize your venue space, from vintage decor and furniture to table settings and signage.

Rentals can also give you peace of mind. If you're planning an outdoor wedding, you may want to invest in a tent rental for the day. If the weather does not cooperate, you have a backup plan.

Tonie Christine Photography


Range for Most Weddings: $1,800 - $7,000, Average Cost: $4,000

Catering your wedding will also be a big expense. After all, you’re providing a meal and drinks for each of your guests!

There are little ways to cut costs with catering without sacrificing flavor! If you’re doing passed appetizers and a cocktail hour, just select 1-2 of your favorite small bites instead of more.

Couples are also getting creative with their food options - from food trucks to casual buffet style meals. Don’t be afraid to mix it up! The food you have will be delicious, but as Emily has pointed out, you probably won't remember it.

Tonie Christine Photography


Range for Most Weddings: $200-$450, Average Cost: $300

One of the least expensive vendors will be your most important! After all, you cannot get married without someone to officiate. There are numerous benefits to working with a professional officiant, especially since they have experience and prepared ceremonies to get you started in the right direction. However, you can forgo most of this expense by asking a close friend or family member to officiate (just be sure to give them a gift of appreciation, and offer to pay for their officiant license if they are getting it specifically for your wedding!).


Range for Most Weddings: $1,200-$3,000, Average Cost: $2,000

Choosing the right photographer is essential. Your photos are how you will remember your wedding day! Keep in mind that engagement photo sessions, albums, and prints may all be additional costs, so ask your photographer what different packages include before deciding.


Range for Most Weddings: $1,000-$2500, Average Cost: $1,700

Your wedding day will go by so fast. You also can’t be everywhere at once so there will be moments during the reception that you miss. A videographer will capture those moments and more, giving you a way to truly look back on your wedding day.

-DJ / Entertainment

Range for Most Weddings: $750-$1400, Average Cost: $1,000

The right DJ sets the tone for your reception. They will ease transitions from dinner to dancing, keeping your guests engaged while reading the crowd for song selections.

-Wedding Planning

Range for Most Weddings: $950-$2,500 , Average Cost: $1,500

Weddings cost more than just money; they cost time, energy, and thought. The best thing you can do to save on all of those is to hire a wedding planner. From day-of coordination to full planning, you will be able to find someone to help you as needed and within your budget. A planner can also save you precious dollars though working with preferred vendors, recommendations and referrals, and assistance with budgeting. A great wedding planner will have the network and the know-how needed.


Range for Most Weddings: $700-$2,500, Average Cost: $1,400

Work with a local florist and in-season blooms to lower your costs - and footprint. Paeonia Pines focuses on just that!

If you’re having an outdoor wedding, you can work with the landscaping and natural decor of the venue and just supplement it with small floral arrangements for the aisle and table centerpieces. If you’re having an indoor wedding, you may want to add more florals throughout the venue.

Using greenery should be less expensive than specialty flowers (and can be just as stunning!). Your floral arrangements don’t have to be extravagant in order to be beautiful.

Tonie Christine Photography

-Bride’s Attire

Range for Most Weddings: $400-$1,700, Average Cost: $1,050

While high-end designer wedding gowns can go above and beyond $5,000, there are plenty of wedding designers who are designing at lower price points without sacrificing detail or style.

Realistically, yes, it is a gown that you will only wear once. But it is also a special occasion gown filled with sentiment and tradition. You can still find something that makes you feel like a bride without breaking the bank.

When setting your gown budget, keep in mind that you will likely need alterations. These can average a couple hundred dollars, as the seamstress has specialized skills and bridal gowns can be more complicated with delicate fabrics and unique silhouettes. You’ll also want to leave room for accessories - including your veil, headpiece, jewelry and shoes.

-Groom’s Attire

Range for Most Weddings: $200-$500, Average Cost: $350

When selecting the groom’s attire, you can choose between purchasing and renting, depending on your wedding dress code. Again, keep in mind that alterations may be needed when buying a suit. The groom also needs accessories, which may include a tie, pocket square, shoes and cuff links.

Tonie Christine Photography

-Additional Costs That Add Up

Always leave a little wiggle room within your spending plan! Little and unexpected costs add up throughout the wedding planning process - from postage for invitations to additional decor and gifts for your bridal party. Also keep in mind for certain vendors, sales tax and gratuity will apply as well.

With a wide range of costs, and a high national average, the most important thing to do is determine how much you are comfortable spending, and what your priorities are within your spending plan. The Planning Gathering has all the tools you will need to get started with your spending plan, keep track of your expenses, and give you peace of mind. The best part? It doesn’t add anything to your spending plan to use, because it is free!

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