I’ve read/heard that weddings can cost between $20,000-$30,000. I think this is insane. I mean…that is a down payment on a house. I would like to know what the cost of a normal not high not low wedding costs. If you have been married or know someone who has and you have this information please share it. I would like to know the cost of everything minus the honeymoon and rings. Please help…I get married in July and need to get a budget worked up. Also, please don’t just tell me that it is based on how much I can afford. I am not looking for that. I am looking for acutal costs. Thanks for all the help!! 🙂

My wedding cost about $3000. I used silk flowers and did most of the decorating myself…rented an arch, borrowed the wedding dress (was beautiful!)…cut costs on things like wedding cakes…used someone who baked them out of her home who came highly recommended…Had it at a local church that had a big reception hall. We had about 200 people attend. Had my 4 tiered cake, the groom’s cake was a full sheet, double layered cake…had 2 platters of fruit and 2 large cans of mixed nuts (in nice dishes of course :p) and some wedding mints. Made some homemade punch. Everything was just enough!

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24 Responses

  1. sarah m

    2009 Dec 21 1

    no thats not true. my mom got married and it costed round 2000
    dress- bout 600
    cake- round 200
    the marriage @ the chosen place- about 1500 to 20000 depending on where
    the grooms suit- round 200-500
    -note: guests will cost money for each 1. about $10 each person @ my moms wedding.
    References :

  2. Pammy

    2009 Dec 21 2

    My wedding cost about $3000. I used silk flowers and did most of the decorating myself…rented an arch, borrowed the wedding dress (was beautiful!)…cut costs on things like wedding cakes…used someone who baked them out of her home who came highly recommended…Had it at a local church that had a big reception hall. We had about 200 people attend. Had my 4 tiered cake, the groom’s cake was a full sheet, double layered cake…had 2 platters of fruit and 2 large cans of mixed nuts (in nice dishes of course :p) and some wedding mints. Made some homemade punch. Everything was just enough!
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  3. Ararodiel

    2009 Dec 21 3

    I don’t plan on mine costing that much! That’s insane!! First, take a look at the venue you want, and how much that would cost, along with how many people you plan on having and the cost of catering for such a number. This should be the "big cost". There are gorgeous wedding gowns under $500, I found one (I wish it had been my size and not an empire waist) that was marked down to $125 and was just beautiful. Know that as far as gown go, you can almost always find a designer one that you want, print the picture and find one that is almost the exact same for at least 50% less. Tuxs can be rented, invitations can be printed at home with a nice ink jet printer and some pretty stationary, websites can be made for RSVPing so that you don’t have to spend money on return postage… First, scout around online. But I bet money you could do it for under $5,000 and still be pretty elaborate (assuming you aren’t inviting your second cousin’s half-brother who you’ve never met…blah blah blah).

    Here’s a percentage breakdown (courtesy of theknot.com):
    Reception: 48%-50%

    Ceremony: 2%-3%

    Attire: 8%-10%

    Flowers: 8%-10%

    Entertainment/Music: 8%-10%

    Photography/Videography: 10%-12%

    Stationery: 2%-3%

    Wedding Rings: 2%-3%

    Parking/Transportation: 2%-3%

    Gifts: 2%-3%

    Miscellaneous: 8%
    References :
    Take a look at http://www.theknot.com once you have a budget, because it helps you track your spending!! Also, there is a lot of help about how to create a budget.

  4. Perdendosi

    2009 Dec 21 4

    My fiancee and I are planning to spend ~$27,000 for a wedding for approximately 175 people in a metropolitan area in the midwest.

    The most expensive things are:
    (1) Your venues — you can spend a few hundred to a few thousand to tens of thousands depending upon where it is, what time of the year it is, and what amenities you want.
    (2) FOOD! In my (fairly modest) city it is difficult to find a sit-down meal catered for less than $20 a plate. I think we’re planning something like $25 a person.
    (3) BOOZE! If you have a caterer, or a venue with an exclusive agreement with someone who brings in booze, you pay A LOT for alcohol. $5-10 a drink is not uncommon. Some places will sell you beers by the keg and wines by the case to make it much more affordable (which is why most people have cash bar after a certain amount of time with beer and wine available all night).
    [Lots of in-demand places who use exclusive agreements with caterers will have a food & Beverage minimum for you to rent the space. I think ours is $6,000. We looked at a place with a $20,000 food and beverage minimum.]
    (4) Musicians. $600 for a string quartet; a grand for a DJ, a couple grand for a band.
    (5) Dress. Expect to pay at least $300… up to $700 or $1000 (although you can find great sales).
    (6) Flowers. Hundreds to thousands

    Check out a wedding planning book, or a bride’s magazine. They’ll help you formulate a budget. And, of course, a LOT of this can be done for a lot cheaper. If you have your wedding at a church, and you’re a member, you can usually get the church for a low price or free. If you have your reception at a banquet hall, like a VFW or a community center, things are much less expensive. If you have your reception at a park or a backyard where you make your own food and bring your own booze, you can get out very affordably.

    Good luck!
    References :

  5. melouofs

    2009 Dec 21 5

    That is the average, and yes, it is alot of money! You have to realize something about averages–those prices are inflated by $100,000 wedding, but decreased by $100 weddings too…You can easily host a wedding for much less, but this is what a traditional wedding with all the trimmings costs people.

    My wedding is not a typical one, so you really can’t go by me, but I spent about $850 on wedding dress plus alterations, our 1st reception will be $35 per person plus drinks (28 people), the live music is $700 for 2 hours, the dj is $200 for the afternoon, the second reception is about $28 per person, I’m marrying a photographer, so we aren’t paying for that (friend), license was $100, officiant is $200, site fee is $50, invitations were about $300, flights to our destination wedding $3800, hotel accomodations $6000 (12 people, 6 rooms), tons more I can’t even think of now…you won’t believe how things add up.
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  6. Ms. X

    2009 Dec 21 6

    According to the May 20, 2005 issue of money magazine, the average cost of a wedding was $26,327. http://money.cnn.com/2005/05/20/pf/weddings/ The article contains a breakdown of wedding expenses. More recently I’ve read it’s in the $28,000 – $29,000 ballpark.

    You might find this website helpful: http://www.costofwedding.com/ You can put in your zipcode and get the average cost of a wedding in your zipcode + an itemized breakdown of expenses.
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  7. GIGI

    2009 Dec 21 7

    Average wedding can be as little as $10,000 to 100,000+. You venue for the wedding can range about $500 to $5,000. Majority of the cost will come from food, which is about $35 per person at a decent location. The next highest cost will be your flowers. Depending on the season you can easily spend $10,000. Then you have the Decorating, dresses, music, favors, invitations etc. I am a wedding planner and my average weddings have been $25,000 for approximately 100 guest.

    Try this site to help out with your budget


    Good luck
    References :

  8. Lindsey

    2009 Dec 21 8

    that depends on how fancy and the size of wedding want. u could have the wedding at home if your back yard is big enough, or at a relatives or friends. if u don’t want the traditional wedding gown u could use a very nice gown or find a second hand dress on line. use bud vases instead of centerpieces on the tables and smaller bouquets for u and bridesmaids could cary single flowers. use packaged invitations that u can print out. that should cut your budget down for starters. u could have a nice wedding for under $20.000.
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  9. Jordan D

    2009 Dec 21 9

    The average cost of a wedding in America now is $25,000 (this is the mean, not median as far as I know). However, I think this is a bit high for most "normal weddings". Keep in mind, there are so many variables- # of guests, formality of wedding, location, time (month and time of day) of wedding, what sort of vendors you use, etc. Most people in that range probably have a ful meal at the reception, in the evening, have 150-200 guests and have higher level attire, food, cake, flowers, etc. You need to kow what matters most to you and your fiancee, be willing to spend a bit more on those things and less on the things you don’t want.

    I would say average is closer to $10,000-$15,000, but you can have a wonderful wedding for less than $5,000. It just depends on what you want.

    Some brides need an original dress, or want full service pedicure, manicure, hair and makeup stylists on their day, some brides do it themselves. Some couples want a fancy original cake, some don’t mind getting it from a local grocery store ot Wal-mart (my aunt and uncle ordered their from wal-mart, it tasted wonderful and looked pretty). Some people want full service 4 course meals and an open bar, some want appetizers and no booze at all. Wedding budgets have as many variables as you can think of, so don’t think just because 25k is "average" it means you’ll spend that much. Weddings can be beautiful for under $5000.
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  10. mbenitez6383

    2009 Dec 21 10

    I live in the Chicago area and let me tell you this area isn’t cheap. I’ve known quite a few people who got married on a Friday to help costs. We’re trying to plan ours and we’re looking at about $85 per plate. It’s nice because it includes linens, chair covers, cake, flowers, our hotel room and a nice liquor package…..but it’s still alot. We have 1.5 years to save for this along with getting a place to live too. Lucky for us we have generous family who would like to help out. My brother even offered to pay for our dj as a way to help and contribute!!

    I don’t know about other areas but the killer around here is the service charge and the tax. Reception halls are averaging a 20% service charge along with a 9% tax. That’s where things really start hurt the bank
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  11. Steph

    2009 Dec 21 11

    They say the average amount for a wedding is $25,000. I think this takes into account the high end weddings ($250,000 +) as well as the low end ($1000-). Obviously there are more on the lower end. We are doing ours on $10,000 and not skimping on anything (but there is alot of DIY and bargain hunting).
    Don’t put yourself into (too much) debt over a wedding. Once you decide overall how much you want to spend your budget is generally broken down thusly:
    Food and alcohol — 45%
    Reception and Rentals — 10%
    Attire — 12%
    Flowers — 8%
    Photography — 5%
    Videography — 2%
    Music — 7%
    Invitations — 3%
    Gifts and Favors — 4%
    Wedding Rings — 2%
    Ceremony — 2%
    Transportation — 1%
    Miscellaneous — 4%
    Don’t forget to add 5% of the subtotal for tips and taxes.
    References :

  12. luvnlife

    2009 Dec 21 12

    My wedding cost about $3000 tops.
    Dress from David’s Bridal: $400
    Husbands Suit: $200
    Flowers: $200 I used silk flowers
    Decorations/centerpieces/favors: $200 I assembled them all myself and with the help of family and friends 🙂
    Wedding Venue: Site was free we married at a park
    Reception Venue: $50 we rented are local elks lodge facility. It had a stage area for the DJ, a dance floor, dinning area and bar…Very nice
    Food: $300, we did a buffet spread, bbq brisket and sausage with all the trimmings…enlisted help from family members to help prepair all the items. (Very tasty and much better than some cattering companies)
    Cake: $200
    DJ: $350
    Officiant: $75
    Marriage license: $40-$50 dont remember
    Hair/Nails/make-up: $150 or so
    Hope this helps and congratulations!
    References :

  13. SE

    2009 Dec 21 13

    My fiance and I are having a nice wedding for about $15K – including rings and clothes. (That still seems like a lot to me, but he wanted a big event and we can afford it.) We’re having the ceremony and reception in a beautiful historic mansion. There will be about 125 guests, and we’re serving a plated dinner and having a beer/wine/soda bar. We’re also having a professional photographer and a DJ.

    The venue we rented serves plated dinners at $40 per person. That seemed a bit pricey until we found out that the charge includes tables, chairs, linens, table settings, and simple centerpieces for each table. (So…it’s actually a good price). The venue rental itself is $2000, but that includes set-up, clean-up, and waitstaff. Beer/wine/soda bar is coming out to about $15 per person (over 21, who wants to drink). Photographer is $800 – $1000. DJ is about the same price as the photographer. Cake is about $200.

    hope this is useful.
    References :

  14. vle045

    2009 Dec 21 14

    That is definitely the national average. Although I am sure mine was much less. But I actually don’t know the true cost because we split three ways with my mom and his dad.

    Mom volunteered to pay for the reception food, my dress, the cake and a few other odds-n-ends. His dad paid for the DJ and the booze.

    We paid for everything else.

    But based on what i think I know. I’d say ours was uner $5,000.
    References :

  15. Gracielacey

    2009 Dec 21 15

    We had 2 people show up at our wedding/reception.

    1. We got married and had our reception in the same place – paid $300 for a ballroom on the second floor of an antique building in a historic town. I think you should count on paying around $1000 for venue (if it is just a venue), we got lucky.
    2. Our rentals -chairs, tables, table clothes, a couple of bunson food warmers, and $100 for the guys to set up and take it down a flight of stairs cost about $800 I think. (Well worth the extra money to have them do the delivery)
    3. We had our food made by family members and put the food into nice rented food warmers – the silver ones. Silver bowls, glass platters, etc. We dressed everything up this way and did it buffet style. I am betting that the food cost about $500 or so
    4.Booze – we bought three cases of Two Buck Chuck wine from trader joes, had a keg and a pony keg, liters of pop, water, coffee, iced tea, clear cups – $250
    5. We paid a friend of a friend to bartend $50, and luckily the place had a beautiful bar, so we set up shelving behind it to put all the wine and cups on, and she served everything in the clear glasses and it looked sooo much nicer.
    6. Because we got the venue so cheap, I think we spent about $500+ on decorations. I got paper lanterns and hung them from the ceiling, ivy to go in the chandeliers, some taffeta runners for the tables, charger plates from Big Lots and Candles from Dollar Tree.
    7. Flowers – http://www.bigrose.com $199 for 250 roses in any colors you want..we had the bouquets, corsages, boutineers, etc. done and had about ten vases FULL of roses set all over the place.
    8. photographer – we asked a friend who takes good pics to do it, and got the film developed the next day at Costco – $150.
    9. Favors – mini chinese boxes with truffles in them $200
    10. Random other stuff you need – plates, silver ware, etc… $300
    11. Invitations ~$200 with stamps
    12. Wedding dress and veil $500 (I went fairly simple)
    13. We paid for all the tuxes $500
    14. Music – free. I made a very long play list on our laptop in itunes and had a friend make sure it was constantly going…had slower music in the beginning of the reception, and got louder and faster as the night went on.

    This adds up to $5150. I think our wedding total was right around $6000 for everything. We paid cash for all if it along the way -if you get your rentals reserved asap, you can pay along the way. Buy things like the decorations along the way so you don’t feel the pinch all at once.

    When I checked into renting a venue that required catering to be done by a professional – the venue and the catering would have been between $4000-$7000 at the least..I wanted to be able to decorate more and have it all whimsical. We had an evening wedding.
    My friend had about 100 people come to a catered location and she spent around $10000 for that and then another $3000 for everything else, and the decorations were very very very simple.

    You can do it for a reasonable price and have a fantastic wedding. Look around for venues – ballrooms, wineries, etc. See if you have a historical town near by that you can rent just a hall from them without having to have it catered. We got married in Jacksonville Oregon and it was amazing to look out the windows on this old fashioned town.
    References :

  16. sarah W

    2009 Dec 21 16

    My wedding cost me about 4k when you include the dress and the tuxs. It was small but nice I got married in a gazebo, family had fun you dont have to break the bank to get married
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  17. Conners

    2009 Dec 21 17

    Here’s what I’ve got so far:
    My dress (including veil, petticoats, and alterations) is $900.
    Reception site: $700 for the day
    Catering: Will end up about $3,000
    Bar: $800
    Cake: $250
    Flowers: will be setting a $500 limit.
    Ceremony site: $325
    Photographer: $1200
    DJ: $375
    invitations: custom-designed by a friend for free, will only be the cost of printing at Kinko’s and stamps.

    Hope that helps. Also, this is for a summer wedding in Southeast Wisconsin. (I know the locale can make a difference).
    References :

  18. Peace

    2009 Dec 21 18

    It all depends on where you live. I’m in LA and our wedding is costing us about $15K. This is much cheaper in comparison to other LA weddings. We found cheap caterers, friends are doing photography and music. My dress was $40 off EBay, and we’re buying our flowers from the local wholesale flower district, so we’re saving loads there. So if you live in a cheaper city, your wedding costs will be cheaper.
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  19. diablo

    2009 Dec 21 19

    Total with everything, and I mean everything was $9,000.
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  20. Etiquette Gal

    2009 Dec 21 20

    But– it IS based on what you can afford.

    Those $20-30 K figures are put together by marketers trying to sell you things. How many people in this country would actually be married if the average wedding cost that much? I mean, really– it’s just common sense that those numbers are cooked up.

    There is not really any "average" cost of a wedding— Because there is no "average" or "normal" wedding.

    Would you say "How much does the average house cost?" when you’re going to have everything from a $1000 trailer to a multi-million dollar mansion, asking for what is average doesn’t really tell you anything.

    If you say "How much would a formal wedding be, for 100 guests, in Philadelphia, serving pasta primavera and white wine for dinner and having a live band" then people can start to help you out somewhat.

    But we have no idea what your budget is, or whether you are serving cookies and punch to 20 people, or filet mignon to 300 people. So how can we possibly tell you an average of what to expect?
    References :

  21. Maryann F

    2009 Dec 21 21

    our wedding which was Sunday 9/30
    we spent about $8,000:

    the wedding had a buffet and about 200 people.
    We had leftovers and the hall was gorgeous. Don’t scrimp on a good DJ.

    We figured out our theme. Then we bought items on ebay, yard sales, thrift stores, and we will be selling them on craigs list and ebay…to make up some of the money.We bought items on sale.

    We had very good friends serve the food at the wedding. We couldn’t have done it without them.

    We bought the mother of the bride dress BEAUTIFUL at Ross for $29.

    We bought program paper and made our own programs on the computer.

    We shopped around and got cheaply made wedding invitations at a printing store…$100.

    We shopped around for a photographer. THey are out there for $300 find someone just starting out.

    We bought the flowers and a florist made them into the bouquets for $60. We bought the gifts on clearance. We took cake making classes and made the cake ourselves.

    Everything turned out beautiful. But it was alot of work!

    We bought all the food at Sam’s Club. And prepared it ourselves.

    wedding chapel 800

    wedding dress 550
    Tux t shirts 140 (these were fun t-shirts from ebay)
    wedding veil 100

    alahambra hall 1150 + 400 deposit
    cake supplies
    for wedding
    and bridal shower 30+24+75+19=150+40=190+80=270 7/21/07
    15 – topper,25 butter cake mix frosting shower,
    20 – cake supplies
    20-cake mix frosting
    decorations 200 – draper – $30

    bridesmaid gifts30
    tablecloths 100+113
    christmas lights 50
    oriental trading 71.55
    Labels for mail 8.
    frames 25

    bags and wrap for presents 50
    need $ 1700 for food1700

    flowers $150
    photography $300
    DJ $600

    Dad tux 122
    ministers 50
    help 100

    buffet table decoration 32
    65 for champagne,
    40 for more programs and garlands
    We invited 300.
    paid for invitations which came to about -$200
    paid for stamps -$300
    NEED: tips

    ministers – 100, cash
    dj tip – 100, cash

    plants 20 $7901.55

    contact me if you would like some pictures. [email protected]
    References :
    [email protected]

  22. terinyoung7

    2009 Dec 21 22

    Congratulations!! I am getting married next September.
    Okay so so far what i can tell you, My DJ for the reception is $500 for 6 hours of play. Reception Hall is $1000. We are inviting 250 people. Catering in is going to be $18.95 Per person for the buffet. Total $4737. Don’t forget about taxes and tips, Just for food plus tax and tip is $6000. our cake for 200 ppl is $205. My dress is $600.We are making a donation to the church of about $200. We are not getting real flowers just because of the extra cost. we are going to do them ourselves with silk flowers.my guess will be about $150-$200 for those. Going simple on center pieces. $1 for each fish bowl filled with beads. At the reception we are choosing to pay for the beer up to $2000. Stopping at $1500 to leave room for tip. Invitations we are still up in the air about to whether print them ourselves or have them done. The cheapest invitations i found in a Mag. are $560 for the invites, reception cards, response cards, thanks you cards and all the envelopes. Total I think We are spending Between $10000 and $12000. Hopefully I helped! Good Luck and Have fun!!
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  23. navywife_2001

    2009 Dec 21 23

    Rented Tables and Chairs for 40 guests-$40.00
    Meat and Cheese Trays, Fruit Trays, Sandwich Trays, Punch, Sheet Cake-$75.00
    Decorations, Cutlery, Plates, Cups, Napkins (dollar store)-$25.00
    Rented a Gazebo and Pavilion for 2 hours (park)-$10.00
    Marriage License-$30.00
    Clothing and Accessories for Bride and Groom-$150.00
    Invitations(found something I liked on the net.. found some really pretty paper and envelopes at KINKOS and printed them on my computer)-$15.00
    Photographer (hired student from the local college) $50.00 including prints and we got to keep the negatives.
    Flowers, boutineer, and head piece-$25.00 (made them myself)
    No honeymoon because of time, money and family visiting.

    I hope this helps.
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  24. Lydia

    2009 Dec 21 24

    Yes, that IS the average, but that just means that people have weddings costing less, and people have weddings costing more.
    Can’t give you guidelines because it totally depends on your plans for the style of wedding you want and number of guests.
    References :

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