The Average U.S. Wedding Cost in 2019, With Ways to Keep Those Costs Down
Photo: Chuy Photography via Brides
Getting engaged is an exciting time! Planning a wedding can be exciting too. That is until you start adding up how much everything is going to cost.
Unfortunately, the average wedding cost in 2019 has many brides and grooms going into debt to ensure they plan the perfect day. The good news is that this amount is only a starting point. Once you know how much the average American spends on wedding costs, you can find ways to reduce those costs for your own wedding.
Average Cost of a Wedding in the U.S.
The wedding cost, on average, of a wedding in the U.S., is approximately $38,700. That’s as much as some people make in a year!
However, there are some things that are important to keep in mind. The first is where you’re getting married. The cost of living is higher in some states, and the higher the cost of living, the more expensive it is to get married there. The wedding cost in California is regularly above $30,000, while a wedding in Louisiana is likely to cost less than $20,000.
It is also important to note that some things cost more than others. The reception venue is the most expensive item in the wedding budget, by far, with the average cost coming in at over $15,000. Other expensive items to consider on a wedding cost list include:
- $5,680 for the engagement ring
- $4,247 for a live band
- $2,679 for the photographer
- $2,382 for the ceremony venue
- $2,021 for the videographer
- $2,002 for a wedding planner
- $1,631 for the wedding dress
- $1,297 for the rehearsal dinner
- $1,292 for a DJ
This list is by no means complete. Other costs can creep up too. You can expect to spend a few hundred dollars on invitations, cake, transportation, and more, and all those costs can really add up.
How Brides and Grooms Pay for the Wedding
When weddings come with such a huge price tag, it’s extremely important to think about how you’re going to pay for your wedding. For many couples, that means getting financial help from parents.
Traditionally, the family of the bride pays for the vast majority of the wedding day. In some families, that’s still the case, but it’s much more likely in modern families that both sets of parents help by pitching in and paying for things where they can.
For example, the father of the bride may offer to pay for the wedding dress and the reception venue, while the groom’s family may offer to cover the costs of the ceremony space and catering.
If you have family members who want to contribute monetarily to your wedding, consider creating a wedding cost spreadsheet. It will enable you to list all of your costs, and who is responsible for what, so there is never any confusion about what still needs to be paid and whether or not you’re sticking to your budget.
Paying for your wedding yourself? Avoid using credit cards and consider a longer engagement instead. Getting married a year or two after your engagement enables you to save money and pay for things slowly over time.
Tips for Saving Money on Your Nuptials
Just because the average cost of a wedding is tens of thousands of dollars doesn’t mean your wedding has to be that expensive! There are things you can do to reduce the costs associated with your wedding.
First, consider where you’re getting married. Although there are big blowout weddings in Las Vegas, the wedding cost in Las Vegas may be just a few thousand dollars if you hop on a plane and elope.
If eloping isn’t for you, consider taking a short drive out of town. A ceremony and reception venue in a neighboring town will likely be less expensive than one in the middle of the city.
If a traditional reception is important to you, you can save the most money by considering your guests carefully. The wedding cost for 50 guests is much more affordable than 250 guests. Not only will catering be more affordable, but inviting fewer guests means that you can pay less for a smaller venue too.
One of the best ways to save money is to DIY what you can. Just be careful not to go overboard. For example, you won’t want to spend the night before your wedding creating live flower arrangements. If you want to save money on flowers, choose materials, like silk and dried naturals, that can be assembled well ahead of the big day.
Wedding costs are rising, and they can quickly get out of hand. If you're on a budget, knowing the average costs and finding ways to save can help you make sure you don't have any wedding cost regrets after your big day is over.