You asked, and she accepted! The next step is for the two of you to begin planning your wedding day. Your big day is supposed to be the happiest of your life, but with so many elements to organize, from the venue to the cake, it can also be one of the most challenging days. The day also includes many questions, one of which being, “how much do weddings cost on average?”. Budget is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll likely face when planning the wedding.

Traditional rules suggest that the bride’s family foot the bill; however, modern couples typically split the wedding costs. But just how much does a wedding cost? Find out the average price of a wedding, what you need to budget for, how to save, and where to splurge to create your dream wedding.

Average Cost of a Wedding

The average cost of a wedding in 2022 is $30,433. This number varies by season and region, with more costly weddings in large cities like New York and San Francisco and budget-friendly weddings in rural areas like Wyoming.

Location aside, explore the following breakdown of the average cost of wedding essentials that can help you estimate the cost of your wedding:
Wedding Cost Infographic

  • Wedding Rings

    Traditionally wedding rings are simpler and cheaper than engagement rings, typically costing around $2,000 for the bride and the groom.

  • Invitations

    Look to spend around $600 on invitations, RSVP cards, and Save the Date cards for 50 guests.

  • Guest List

    While creating one is free, this list will be the driving force behind the cost of the wedding. The bigger the guest list, the larger the bill. Many wedding items like the cake and catering are priced per guest.

  • Wedding Planner

    Couples in the U.S. are spending around $1,500 on wedding planners. Most couples overspend on their wedding budgets, and hiring a wedding planner can help keep you within your budget. Wedding planners also help eliminate the stress of organizing such a big event.

  • Venue

    The typical wedding venue is usually the most expensive part of the wedding, priced at $10,500. Venue costs include space rental and can also include catering. And don’t forget to get Wedding Insurance. This will be one less thing you have to worry about on your big day!

  • Photographer

    One area to splurge on is wedding photographs so you can preserve precious memories of your special day. Photography prices vary based on chosen packages, but on average, you can expect to pay around $4,200.

    Some packages are all-inclusive, from the engagement to driving off en route to the honeymoon destination. Packages can include raw files or fully edited and organized albums.

  • DJ/Dance floor

    The average cost of hiring a DJ is around $1,200-$3,700. The location of the wedding and the package purchased significantly impact the total price. Some choose to have the DJ emcee the entire wedding and provide a dance floor, while others are specifically hired to provide dance floor music only.

  • Rehearsal dinner

    While many couples forgo the traditional rehearsal dinner, if you choose to celebrate with friends and family the night before the big day, you can expect to spend at least $1,900. This price factors in invitations, food, and beverages for 50 people.

  • Officiant

    If you are having a church wedding, the church often accepts a donation to the parish rather than charging a fee. However, for non-religious ceremonies, the average officiant cost could be around $280. This price reflects the marriage license and officiant fees. Friends and family can register as an officiant online to make your day even more intimate.

  • Wedding dress

    Average wedding dress prices start at $1,600. Cost includes alterations and individual customizations.

  • Groom’s tux

    How much does a groom’s tux cost? Grooms can aim to spend between $300 and $800 on a tuxedo. However, the average cost of a groom’s tux can be lowered if it is rented. You can rent a tux for between $50-$100. Learn more about tuxedo costs here!

  • Catering

    For a guest list of 50 people, you can expect to spend at least $3,500 on catering. This number can change depending on what is being served, how many courses, and if alcohol is included.

  • Cake

    The national average of a wedding cake is $500, and pricing depends on the following factors: the number of tiers, the number of guests, the style of cake, the decorations, and personal customizations.

  • Flowers

    Flowers are often one of the largest surprise costs for a wedding, costing around $2,000 for venue, reception, and wedding party floral arrangements. Flowers add to the venue décor and wedding photos.

    You can expect to spend $160 on the bride’s bouquet and around $75 each for the rest of the bridal party.

    If you are looking for something more affordable and sustainable, consider opting for artificial flowers. Something Borrowed Blooms average wedding order is roughly $500, compared to the national fresh flower average of $3,500.

For a personalized wedding cost estimate, we recommend checking out The Wedding Report. Just answer a few quick questions about your wedding details, from location to size to style, and everything in between, for your own estimate, planning guide, budgeting tips, and more!

Who Pays for the Wedding?

Lena Nebel, COO at BFG Financial Advisors, says, “Traditionally, the bride’s family is accountable for most wedding costs. In today’s society, most couples cover the cost and welcome any help from their parents.”

Some of the items the bride’s family pays for might include the engagement party, the reception, the wedding planner, the bride’s dress, flowers and décor, photographer, officiant, and gifts for the bridal party and the groom.

What Does the Groom’s Family Pay for?

Historically, the groom’s family is responsible for covering the rehearsal dinner cost, the ring for the bride, a gift for the bride, gifts for the groomsmen, and the honeymoon. More recently, the groom’s family has been designated to cover alcohol to help balance the cost of the big day.

Average Cost of a Wedding Venue

The wedding venue is likely the most expensive part of the bill coming in at $11,000. Wedding planners suggest allocating 40% of your budget toward the venue.

Things to consider when budgeting for a venue include: location, number of guests, and availability. Some venues offer all-inclusive packages that provide catering, DJs, dance floors, lighting, set-up, linens, take-down, and even serving staff.

A smaller guest list typically equates to spending less on the venue, and getting married during the off-season can also be easy on the wallet.

Venues can range from hometown farms, banquet halls, historic houses, and city halls. Regardless of where you get hitched, understanding ahead of time that this portion of the wedding day will take up a large part of the budget can help with planning.

DIY or Hire a Wedding Planner?

Wedding Planning Notes


Hiring a professional wedding planner has pros and cons, like everything else with wedding planning. When considering hiring a wedding planner, answer questions like:

  • How much time do we both have?
  • How big of a wedding do we want?
  • Who can help us?
  • What is our budget?

There are numerous benefits to hiring a professional wedding planner, including:

  • Less stress. You hired a professional to take care of it all. They hire all vendors involved and coordinate and organize with them. The wedding planner will also help you devise a budget and stick to it.
  • Their experience guides you through the process, from tiny details to answering the largest questions.
  • They have connections. Rather than missing out on your ideal venue or florist, your wedding planner might be able to pull some strings to make the magic happen for you.

DIY weddings require a substantial amount of time and planning. Even small backyard weddings require an immense amount of preparation and coordination. Ensure you have a strong support system should you choose to go the DIY route.

On the flip side, DIY weddings allow for immense personal expression, allowing the two of you to bring to life the vision of your perfect day. Finally, it is much cheaper. By preparing with help from friends and family, you can save on costs.

Should I Take Out a Loan for My Wedding?

Hand with money bags

If you don’t have a large sum of money already saved and cannot save enough in time for the wedding, a loan could be a viable option.

If you choose to take out a loan, ensure you can make monthly payments and pay it off within the set timeframe otherwise, a wedding loan is not a financially sound idea.

Should the two of you decide on taking out a wedding loan, some things to consider are specific joint loans versus personal loans, pre-qualification, additional fees, and the customer support system of the lender. Some couples choose to take out a joint wedding loan, so both are responsible for the debt.

Stick to Your Wedding Vision

Weddings can quickly become a costly affair. Whether you choose the traditional route or not, ensure this momentous day aligns with your vision as a couple. But don’t let the average wedding costs become a financial burden that could impact the start of your new life together; after all, it is a celebration of your union.

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