14 Wedding Cost Statistics for the Upcoming Nuptials Season

ByJulija A.
February 17, 2022

Planning a wedding is as exciting as it is daunting: The number of marriage ceremonies scheduled for 2022 in the US marks a 40-year high, and the average cost of a wedding is expected to rise significantly with it. In this handy guide to stats on wedding expenses, we’ll delve deeper to see how much people are paying for their nuptials and what they’re spending all that money on.

Editor’s Choice of the Latest Wedding Stats

  • The average cost of a wedding in the US fell from $28,000 in 2019 to $19,000 in 2020 and $22,500 in 2021 due to the pandemic.
  • The wedding venue is the biggest expenditure for most couples.
  • New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey are the most expensive US states to get married in.
  • The average cost of a wedding dress in the US is $1,631 (including alterations).
  • 28% of couples go into debt to pay for their weddings.
  • The average couple spends between 10% and 15% of their total budget on a wedding photographer.
  • It is estimated that there will be more than 2.6 million weddings in the US in 2022.
  • 45% of couples go over their wedding budget.

Wedding Prices in General

The average US wedding cost was $22,500 in 2021.

(Business Insider)

The cost of living is rising, but the average American wedding cost fell in 2020 and 2021. The average price of organizing a wedding rose to $28,000 in 2019, but in 2020, the figure dropped to $19,000 as a result of the pandemic. In 2021, the average cost stood at $22,500. 

The per-wedding budget is expected to rise to over $30,000 on average in 2022.

(Wedding Stats)

COVID-19 restrictions have eased, and many couples who have postponed plans to get married in 2020 and 2021 are looking forward to walking down the aisle in 2022. Increased demand and an appetite for throwing a big party and reuniting with friends and family are set to drive prices up. After lower prices in 2020 and 2021, the average cost of a wedding in the US in 2022 is expected to reach around $30,000.

The biggest wedding expense for most couples is the venue.

(The Knot)

Stats on wedding expenses suggest that the bulk of the budget goes toward securing a wedding venue. On average, couples pay around $6,000 or $10,500 for this, depending on the source. The most popular places to hold wedding receptions and ceremonies in the US include places of worship, farms and barns, vineyards, hotels, country estates, banquet halls, and parks and gardens.

(NerdWallet)

Saturday is the most popular day to get married, and this demand for weekend weddings usually pushes prices up. Holidays are also more expensive to use as wedding dates. Couples looking to save money on planning their celebration may be able to cut expenses by switching to a weekday. Summer and the Christmas holidays are also more expensive than spring, fall, and winter weddings outside of the festive period.

Wedding Budgets by Purpose

Most couples spend between $3,000 and $11,000 on renting a venue.

(WeddingWire)

For most couples, the most significant wedding costs are the venue, photographer, food, and entertainment. Recent wedding venue cost statistics show that, on average, a couple will spend $6,000 to book an appropriate space for their ceremony.

Couples spend 10%-15% of their total wedding budget on a photographer.

(Wedding Forward)

Stats on the average wedding cost suggest that couples are willing to splurge for their wedding photos. The latest data shows that most couples will spend between 10% and 15% of the total wedding budget on the photographer. Professional wedding photographers charge between $2,500 and $10,000 for their services, and these costs are expected to rise in 2022, with more weddings planned than ever before.

The average couple spends $27 to $40 per person on catering.

(WeddingWire)

Food is also among the bigger wedding expenses for couples, and the costs depend primarily on your serving style of choice. For example, the average per-person price for a buffet meal is $28, while plated meals will run you $40 per guest. The range of catering costs is widening, as more and more people choose to explore alternatives to the traditional sit-down wedding breakfast. In recent years, food carts, brunches, afternoon tea, and barbecues have become more popular. 

Brides give an average of $1,631 for their dream dress, with alterations.

(Brides)

US brides-to-be spend over $1,500 on their dresses for their big day. Luckily, this cost includes alterations, but it can also go much higher, depending on your choice of materials, embellishments, and accessories. High-end wedding gowns can cost several thousand dollars, or even millions.

On the plus side, renting a gown has become more popular recently, enabling brides to have a luxury experience on their wedding day for a fraction of the gown’s actual cost. This form of reuse is also pretty eco-friendly, considering how much material goes into making a single wedding dress.

US couples spend $500 on their wedding cake.

(WeddingWire)

A wedding cake is a ceremony staple, and its average price sits smack-dab on $500. However, wedding statistics suggest that spending on this particular dessert may be decreasing, as more people exchange decadent, multi-tier centerpieces for minimalist alternatives. Donut walls, homemade cakes, and savory cheese offerings have also gained popularity.

Wedding Locations

The three most expensive US states to get married in are New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New York.

(Business Insider)

The average cost of a wedding in the US varies hugely from one state to another. For example, the biggest average marriage costs in 2019 were $53,400 (NJ), $49,800 (RI), and $48,600 (NY). Washington DC, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Illinois are also among the most expensive states to get hitched.

The least expensive states to tie the knot are Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah.

(Business Insider)

Wedding statistics suggest that exploring different locations can save couples on a budget a fortune. For example, the average costs for a wedding in 2019 in the least expensive states stood at $19,800 (WY), $19,800 (ID), and $19,700 (UT).

Wedding Budget Statistics

45% of couples go over their initial wedding budget.

(The Knot)

Smart spending is vital in every aspect of life, but especially for weddings. Unfortunately, planning a wedding and making it happen are two different things, and nearly half of couples admit going over their initial budget. They’re most likely to splurge on a better venue, food, and entertainment. Couples who got married in 2019 went over budget by an average of $7,319 - more than a quarter of their total wedding costs.

28% of couples go into debt to pay for their wedding.

(Business Insider)

In the US, 28% of couples go into debt as a result of paying for their wedding. The highest rates for wedding-related debt are in Peru and Brazil, where 47% of couples end up in debt after their nuptials.

In 2018, the average US couple invited 167 guests.

(Brides, ValuePenguin)

You may have expected the average wedding size in the US in the pre-pandemic times to be several hundred people, but if they weren’t so high then, they certainly aren’t now. The pandemic caused guest numbers to fall rapidly in 2019 and 2020: The average US wedding size decreased to 66 guests in 2020.

FAQ

What is the average cost of a wedding in 2022?

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In 2021, the average cost of a wedding in the US was $22,500. The average wedding cost is expected to reach around $30,000 in 2022, due to rising demand and fewer pandemic-related restrictions. Of course, the average price is significantly higher in some states than others. A couple that ties the knot in New York, for example, may pay double what a couple getting married in Idaho or Utah does.

How much does the average person spend on a wedding?

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The average couple is expected to spend nearly $30,000 on their wedding in 2022. Costs vary hugely according to where you get married and what you include in your wedding budget. The biggest expense is the venue, which runs most couples between $6,000 and $11,000.

What is a realistic budget for a wedding?

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Wedding cost statistics show that the cost of a wedding ranges from hundreds to millions of dollars. The average cost in 2021 was $22,500, but it’s expected to rise in 2022. Still, there are many ways to save money, like inviting fewer guests, swapping a sit-down meal for a buffet, brunch, or barbecue, opting for weekdays and an off-season wedding, and renting suits and dresses. Shopping around and comparing prices can also help lower costs.

Sources

About author

Albert Einstein is said to have identified compound interest as mankind’s greatest invention. That story’s probably apocryphal, but it conveys a deep truth about the power of fiscal policy to change the world along with our daily lives. Civilization became possible only when Sumerians of the Bronze Age invented money. Today, economic issues influence every aspect of daily life. My job at Fortunly is an opportunity to analyze government policies and banking practices, sharing the results of my research in articles that can help you make better, smarter decisions for yourself and your family.

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