How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost in 2022?
Updated: Apr 21
Are you planning a wedding? It's a good time now, especially since the worst of the global pandemic has settled considerably. You can now plan your dream wedding in your ideal venue without worrying about the multitude of safety precautions and SOPs. with the pandemic settled down, things are slowly returning to how they used to be before the pandemic hit the world and so are the events and celebrations. Weddings are one of the many things that also suffered in this global crisis, not just industry-wise but also celebration-wise. Couples had to cut down guests and get wedded in small ceremonies. The only good part of that time was the incredibly low cost of small weddings or micro weddings.
Now that things are reverting weddings are also becoming the extravagant affairs they usually were. However, the costs of these weddings have also risen significantly because people are keener than ever to have large-scale celebrations. The rise is also partly due to the major hit wedding-related businesses took in the COVID era and now they are on their way to compensating their losses hence the increased charges.
Now the question that arises in every engaged couples’ mind is how much a wedding cost. There is no clear-cut answer to this question because the cost of a wedding likely depends on a variety of factors. These include the number of guests, the number of vendors hired, style, and, perhaps most significantly, where your big day takes place.
According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding ceremony and reception in 2020 was $19,000. This is nearly one-third less of the costs from 2019, which averaged $28,000 for both events.
In different states in the US, the average cost of a wedding varies accordingly. Whether you are hosting your wedding in highly populated states or lesser-populated ones has a big influence on your wedding budget.
According to Andrew Hurst of Value Penguin, Massachusetts is the most expensive state to get married in, with an average of over $30,000 spent. The least costly is Arkansas, where you'll spend an average of approximately $12,500.
In the case of a wedding in a bigger, densely-populated, more expensive state like New York or California, the cost of a wedding is likely to be more than the one in the smaller, lesser populated, and cheaper ones like Idaho or Wyoming.
The Knot has listed the average wedding cost in different states of the US, excluding the wedding ring expense
New Hampshire: $30,000
New Jersey: $47,000
New Mexico: $21,100*
New York: $42,000
North Carolina: $23,000
North Dakota & South Dakota: $24,200*
Rhode Island: $43,000*
South Carolina: $26,000
West Virginia: $21,900*
*Data from 2019
So, whether you are having a destination wedding and where your wedding is taking place is a huge deciding factor in determining your wedding cost.
Back in the time of the pandemic, people were highly conscious of getting infected. So they mostly refrained from huge gatherings and maintained social distance. There were, also, several laws and regulations to prevent large-scale gatherings, hence the number of guests allowed at the weddings was also reduced significantly. Hence, weddings became close family affairs with a very limited number of guests.
According to The Knot, the average in 2020 was 66 guests which thereby, increased in 2021 to 105. This raise in the number of guests in 2021 was nearer to the average guest count in the pre-COVID era which was 131.
The increase was largely due to widespread vaccinations and the government uplifting gathering restrictions. People also took extra care of sterilization and hygiene during gatherings.
The number of vendors hired is one of the most important factors in determining the total cost of a wedding.
According to the data by The Knot, in 2021, couples hired 14 wedding vendors on average, which is on par with pre-pandemic data. And of course, how much wedding venues and professionals charge varies a lot.
Now, in the COVID era, many weddings had to be postponed or canceled. As a result, vendors faced a multitude of losses to their businesses. Huge farms and supplies of flowers were wasted and many wedding industry-related businesses suffered a huge financial setback.
Fast-forward to the post-Covid era and people are now getting married and wedding planning just like before. However, the demand has now surpassed the supply with vendors trying their best to manage the very full year ahead. COVID era also brought in the added expenses of maintaining the site hygiene, safety precautions, and planning around the uncertainty of sudden bans and restrictions. With all of these added concerns, new areas of attention, and financial losses from the COVID season, vendors are raising their costs.
So now, if you’re planning your 2022 or 2023 wedding, you might be facing higher prices than if you were wedding shopping in 2019 pre-pandemic. However, there are still some ways where you can reduce the average cost of a wedding.
Let the Wedding Planner Handle
This may sound like increasing your expenses but it is the most beneficial to you and your wedding budget. Wedding planners are professionals that plan your wedding seamlessly and ease your burden. They also have connections with vendors within the industry that gets them business discounts. This will help you cut down the cost of your wedding. They also have several ways to plan alternatively and cheaply for a task that may seem expensive to you. Give them a wedding budget and they are most likely going to stick to it better than you ever can!
Shorten Your Guestlist
One thing we learned from the pandemic era is that you can further compact your guestlist for weddings. Take this lesson home and apply it to the post-pandemic era as well to cut costs.
Weddings on weekends are the most desirable way to go however, they also take up the most expenses due to increased demand. Have your wedding on a weekday because that's when you will have more chances of getting a venue at lower prices as most couples tend to go for a weekend wedding. Also, there are only 52 weekends available in a year so it is kind of a tight schedule for the venue and the vendors, hence the higher costs.
Book Based on the Minimum Guest Count
While booking your venue or catering service, keep the minimum number of guests as your standard and opt for the minimum package. This is a much better option so later if there is an increase in the guest list, or you want to grow on it as required, you get the option to pay more and expand. Booking for a maximum number of guests right, in the beginning, makes it harder on the couple and their budget because they, then, have to fill in the numbers. This may get harder sometimes, due to many reasons.
Now, these were the wedding expenses in a broader category that a couple will face. Let's narrow them down even further so we may have a better understanding of what goes into wedding planning and its respective expenditure.
If we break down the cost of a wedding into 3 sections, they will be pre-wedding costs, vendor expenses, and reception. Keep in mind that 50% of the wedding budget goes into planning and executing a reception.
This is also a costly expense and on average, couples are known to spend $5,500 on rings.
Whether you want to DIY your wedding invitations, get them professionally made, or hire a calligrapher for a more personal touch, these also take up quite a lot of money. The average cost of invitations is $590.
Rehearsal dinners and their venue, on average, can cost around $1900.
This is that one factor that makes a bride look like a bride. It also exudes the personal fashion taste of a bride and reflects her personality.
Assuming that you are not buying a heavily-embellished couture wedding gown worth grand upon grand, even an off-the-rack bargain dress costs an average of $1,600. This is excluding the reception dress that brides usually like to buy separately from the ceremonial one.
They are the heroes of any wedding that make your memories last a lifetime. They are responsible to curate memorabilia of your big day and the celebrations. So while hiring a photographer make sure to look up their portfolio and social media handles to get an idea of their work and ask relevant questions. Their cost is as high as around 2400 $. If you add up a videographer, it additionally costs 1800$ on average.
Hair and Makeup
Your hair and makeup should match the style and theme of your dress and the overall look. If you are having a vintage-themed wedding and the stylist makes up your hair into a boho-chic style, that will certainly offset the aesthetic you are going for. Always make sure that your stylist can pull off your look perfectly by having a rehearsal. The average hair and makeup costs are 200-250$.
If you are having your wedding ceremony and reception in two different places, you need to book transportation for your guests, the bridal party, and yourself as well. Transportation from the wedding to the reception venue, or for a guest shuttle, can cost around $800 on average.
Wedding decor is mandatory with flowers as the most common choice followed by candles. From the bridal bouquet to the centerpiece arrangements on your guest tables, a florist can average $2000.
The showstopper, other than the bride, is the cake. Whether you want a traditional white with multiple tiers or unconventionally colored, tiered or cupcakes, a wedding cake can cost around $500.
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This will be the largest expense depending on the state you getting married in and the number of guests. This is the place that will host your guests, let them party all out, and have their food while merry-making. This can cost around $10,500. Also, the cost depends on whether the venue comes with wedding decor or not.
Accounting for any special dietary restrictions, and toasting with champagne, catering for your reception can cost around $70 per person. If you want to offer top-shelf liquor, that cost can increase.
There are also options for assorted meals or buffet-style. More couples are now opting for the latter because it is cost-effective and offers a variety of food options.
The kind of music you are going for will set the tone of your celebration. Whether it is a DJ playing your handpicked songs from the playlist or a band orchestra giving a royal touch to your celebration, music plays a great role in weddings. A DJ can cost around $1200 for a wedding. A live band on the other hand will cost significantly more at $3700.
Some couples like to favor their guest with gifts and thank you notes as reminders of the great time they spent celebrating with the newlywed couple. Purchasing these favors will likely cost around $400.
Hidden Wedding Expenses
We have covered the basic costs and expenses of a wedding, let us list a few trivial details that couples tend to overlook. These little tasks cost little money but adding them all together turns them into an expense.
Additional postage for wedding invitations and thank you notes.
Tax and gratuity for your vendors.
Printing wedding photos and ordering wedding albums.
Cake cutting and corkage fees.
Apart from these, you might also face a last-minute financial situation or an additional guest because you never know if you’ll have to cover an unexpected wedding expense, and having extra room in your budget will allow you to cover those costs without overspending. Hence, be sure to leave a buffer in your budget.
Lastly, the average wedding price is relatively high, but a wedding is just one financial goal. Keep in mind that there is no rule of the thumb on how much you should spend. In most states, you can get a marriage license for less than $100. So, prioritize the wedding expenses you really want to splurge on and cut back on costs where you can. At the end of the day, your happiness matters more than a financial burden.
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