Once you’ve said ‘I do’, you’re left with numbers and estimates wandering through your thoughts on sleepless nights, hoping you don’t go over the average wedding cost. And when you start doing your Internet research, you get attacked by piles of wedding calculators, planners, seasonal must-haves, and the most popular venues in your area.
So, here are 20 facts and stats on wedding expenses (the dress included) to help you get a clearer perspective and a rough idea of what you’d want for your big day.
Top 10 Wedding Cost Statistics and Facts to Keep in Mind
- A wedding dress in the US costs around $1,600 on average.
- 78% of the total wedding cost covers only five wedding services.
- Same-sex couples pay 14% more than all the couples combined
- The average wedding cost by state can differ by up to $30,000.
- Wedding venue cost statistics show that reception venues can cost up to half a million.
- Couples who have an expensive wedding are more likely to get a divorce.
- Organizing a reception typically involves over 15 different vendors.
- Virtual weddings are becoming more and more popular.
- The most expensive weddings take place in the UAE.
- Millennials are having fewer and less expensive weddings.
Wedding Cost Statistics to Get You Started
1. The most expensive weddings take place in the UAE.
If you thought US weddings are expensive, get this—an average wedding in the UAE costs approximately $185,000.
The second place is reserved for Australia, with an average of $67,032.
Data on average wedding cost indicates that the UK, Kenya, and the United States come next in that order, with the average cost ranging from $33,391–$35,005.
2. Same-sex couples pay 14% more than all the couples combined.
What happens is that same-sex couples pay about 59% of the overall wedding cost. Interestingly, gay men spend $33,882 on an average wedding while lesbian couples are quite satisfied with $25,333 to cover all wedding costs.
3. About 72% of couples believe their guests deserve nothing but the best.
Roughly 72% of couples claim that taking care of their guests is a top priority in decision-making. This is why most weddings present their guests with complementary experiences such as photo booths (58%), performances by musicians (25%), and a variety of wedding games (17%), which puts a significant strain on the average wedding budget.
4. The average wedding guest lists got reduced to 131 people.
The size of wedding guest lists is getting smaller with time. A regular 2007 wedding hosted 153 guests on average. Since then, the average wedding reception costs are decreasing significantly due to the increasing popularity of smaller weddings. The average number of guests right now is “only” 131.
5. Millennials are having fewer and less expensive weddings.
The wedding service industry has decreased by 7.1% since 2015, and research has shown this is because wedding trends have changed to include smaller, more intimate gatherings instead of costly receptions. Millennials organized four out of five marriages in 2018, but only 25% involved a religious institution.
6. Organizing a reception mostly involves over 15 different vendors.
You will need a vendor for everything, from flowers to catering. The average wedding cost breakdown in 2019 shows that the most expensive aspect of weddings are reception venues ($10,500), followed by engagement rings ($5,900), reception bands ($3,700), and photographers ($2,400). For makeup and hairstyling services, couples need to prepare around $100 per vendor.
7. Couples who have an expensive wedding are more likely to get a divorce.
A 2016 study found that couples who spend over $20,000 are 46% more likely to divorce than those who opt for more intimate $1,000-or-cheaper weddings.
8. Virtual weddings are becoming more and more popular.
(Forbes) (Wedding Report)
Since the coronavirus epidemic, couples have been forced to cancel their weddings, organize microweddings with up to 25 guests, or get more creative with their planning.
The average wedding cost for up to 50 guests is $6,174. More and more vendors started offering virtual weddings with an average price of $3,000, including a ceremony, live stream, and real-time chats.
9. Wedding venue cost statistics show that reception venues can cost as much as half a million.
Renting a resort at Key West in Florida, for example, costs $500,000—the place holds the title of one of the most expensive wedding venues in the world.
It’s followed by Belmond Hotel Caruso in Italy, an 11th-century castle that rents for $430,000, and Umaid Bhawan Palace in India comes in third, with a price of $380,000.
10. Mauritius is the least expensive place for weddings.
You’ll need mere $533 for the whole thing. The second in line is Sri Lanka, where you need some $1,128 to cover the ceremony, reception, and everything else from the list.
Getting Married in America
11. According to statistics, the average cost of a wedding in the US is in decline.
Available data show that the average US wedding cost $35,309 in 2016. Before the coronavirus pandemic shook the wedding industry in 2020, the average wedding cost in 2019 was around $33,900 in total.
12. The average wedding cost by state differs by up to $30,000.
The average price for weddings in the US goes anywhere from $19,700 (Utah) to $49,800 (Rhode Island) due to the exclusivity of venues and service demand.
Other costly states to get married in are New York with $48,600 and Massachusetts with $43,600. Wyoming and Idaho join Utah with an average cost of $19,800.
13. A wedding dress in the US costs around $1,600.
The average cost of a wedding dress differs from state to state. The New York fashion industry offers the most expensive dresses with an average price of $2,463, followed closely by New Jersey and Rhode Island with $2,029.
Brides in South Dakota and West Virginia can get the cheapest dresses for $929 and $1,204.
14. American brides are willing to spend more on wedding dresses.
When it comes to the cost of a wedding dress, trends show brides are willing to be a bit more generous, since they pay an average of $1,600 on their wedding attire. New York especially is the center of bridal fashion. For example, Kleinfeld alone sells over 17,000 dresses annually, with an average dress price of $4,500.
15. Diamonds account for 87% of sold engagement rings.
Wedding expenses start with jewelry, i.e. engagement rings. In 45% of the cases, grooms-to-be start their search at least five months before the proposal, while 71% purchase the ring at least two months before. A typical wedding budget rarely includes pre-wedding expenses.
About 50% of couples spend around $5,000 on engagement rings, while some 20% spend as much as $10,000 or more.
16. In 2020, a slice of wedding cake can cost couples from $1.5 to $12.
The average cost of a wedding cake amounts to about $540. Naturally, the actual price is determined by the size, design, and ingredients used, and the kind of frosting couples choose. Let’s not also forget delivery fees, which need to be taken into account.
17. Almost half of the couples regret the expenses they included in planning their wedding.
More precisely, 2019 research has shown that as much as 48.5% of couples think certain wedding expenses were a letdown, primarily referring to wedding planners. Videography (36.7%) and wedding favors (36.1%) come in second and third.
18. Over the past five years, the wedding services industry has been decreasing by 7.1% annually.
Wedding cost statistics revealed in September 2020 indicate that the market size is worth about $55 billion. Despite its decline, the US wedding industry involves around 336,296 businesses and provides jobs for 965,046 people.
19. 78% of the total wedding cost covers only five wedding services.
The most recent data show that the average wedding venue cost (catering included) amounts to $18,186. Next on the list of expenses is the ring ($4,139), a reception band ($3,094), a photographer $1,952, and a florist to decorate the venue for an average of $1,757.
20. The food costs $51 per person at an average wedding.
Venue and catering prices will also depend on whether you opt for more luxurious weddings or not. Catered food will cost you around $6,937 if you decide to have the usual offer for your guests— or rather, 136 of them.
Providing bar service typically ranges from about $1,400 to $4,100, depending on the quality of drinks and the number of invitees.
What’s the average number of guests at a wedding?
An average 2019 wedding reception hosted 131 guests. Unsurprisingly, 2020 data are not available due to the yet unknown effects of the coronavirus lockdowns worldwide.
How much does the average wedding cost in 2020?
(WeddingStats) (Forbes) (Wedding Report)
The average cost in 2020 was predicted to be $29,000–$31,000 for an average-sized wedding reception. Because of the pandemic, weddings are getting smaller. Therefore, the average cost of hosting up to 50 guests is $6,174, while virtual weddings can cost around $3,000.
What is the most expensive part of a wedding?
The most expensive part of a wedding is usually the venue, which usually requires about a third of a couple’s wedding budget and costs $10,500.
What is the cost breakdown of a wedding?
The breakdown of the average wedding cost shows the involvement of at least 15 vendors. Also, it indicates that the most expensive planning aspects are the venue, rings, reception band, photographer, and florists to decorate a given venue.
As we’ve mentioned, the average wedding cost by year keeps dropping, and 2020 will certainly bring it down even further. If you’re among those couples currently planning a wedding, getting acquainted with the given stats could perhaps give you a certain direction to follow in the midst of this turbulent year.
So, no matter where you are in the process of organizing your wedding, we hope that these stats on the average wedding cost helped you get a clearer picture of where you stand and what your next moves could be.