cost of weddings

Brides are spending a lot of money for weddings. The average wedding costs $22,360, a 47% increase since 1990. My guess is that it will continue in its upward trajectory. People are also waiting longer to get married. I would venture a guess that it’s due to the trend of living together before marriage.

“Since 1982, the average age of a bride has climbed to 27 from 20, according to Conde Nast Bridal Group. And the length of engagement has doubled to 16 months, which means more time to spend more money and plan more elaborate weddings.”


 (Post a comment) | Comments RSS feed
  1. One more reason to get married soon. Or, perhaps even better, not at all! Hmm. Well, we’ll see.

    Comment by Levi on October 5, 2002 @ 1:14 am
  2. I don’t know about the accuracy of $22,000 for the *average* wedding. I know alot of average people, me being one of them, and they don’t have $22,000 to spend on a wedding. Our wedding, which you were a part of may have looked expensive but in the end only cost around $5k-$6k. They don’t have to be expensive and I think alot of hype is placed around it to make women feel obligated to bankrupt their parents in order to celebrate that special moment. Bah, you don’t even remember half of it anyway!

    Comment by jason on October 5, 2002 @ 8:51 am
  3. True, but if you take your wedding ($5K) and the wedding of the couple in the article ($42K) the average is $23,500. I don’t doubt that there are a lot of people who spend less than $10K, but there are also a lot of people spending way more than that, so the average ends up being rather high.

    Or you could just take the singles route and not have to spend anything :)

    Comment by dan on October 5, 2002 @ 2:48 pm
  4. Or you could take a trip to Vegas and get married by Elvis! Just as legal, very memorable (though perhaps not in a good way), and very cheap! Do your part in fighting marriage cost inflation!

    Comment by Levi on October 5, 2002 @ 4:53 pm
  5. Well, I wish someone would tell me how to plan a wedding under $5,000.00! My fiance and I are the only one’s paying for it, and we are just starting out in our careers, but have been together for 7 years. Both of us refuse to wait another 3 years, just to have to empty out our saving for a weedding, by then we want to buy a home.

    Comment by Samantha Levine on December 18, 2002 @ 2:32 pm
  6. Hm… I don’t know. I’ve been to 3 weddings in the past 2 years costing over $35,000! I think it is insane to spend that much, unless (maybe) you are a millionaire. Most of the others do cost about $20,000, with not many guests and nothing super fancy. Of course, I’m near Detroit, so maybe that is why things are so expensive.

    Comment by Jen on January 7, 2003 @ 2:00 pm
  7. This couple only paid $2,600 for their wedding, but they had to cut a lot of corners to do it. Then for their honeymoon they went on a $4,000 vacation to Hawaii and bought $8,000 worth of furniture when they got back.

    Comment by dan on June 5, 2003 @ 5:46 pm
  8. My sister did things just the same way as in that article. They skipped corners in every way they could. I think my sister actually spent less than the gal did in the article. It’s outrageous to spend so much money on a wedding. I personally would like to see the money go towards home improvement, adult toys and vacations. :)

    Comment by Mel on June 6, 2003 @ 8:45 am
  9. We reduced our list of wedding guests from 100 down to 50, which really help us save a lot without sacrificing quality. But I guess if you have a big family, this isn’t really an option. Our net cost for 50 people is $15,000 which I think is very reasonable.

    Comment by David on June 21, 2003 @ 8:07 pm
  10. Marry rich and get her (or her parents) to pay for it. I’m a jazz musician and my wife is a mutual fund manager, so we were able to have a $55,000 wedding. Besides, isn’t the bride traditionally supposed to pay for the wedding, or most of it?

    Comment by Neil Lorberbaum on June 21, 2003 @ 8:20 pm
  11. We got hitched in Vegas. Dress on clearance: $300. Tux rental $150. Tix to Vegas $170/person round trip. 4 weeknights at Bally’s in January $37/night. Little White Wedding Chapel fee $55 incl. limo. Video fee: $75. Marriage license $35. Tips for limo driver and minister: $35/each. Broadcast w/o sound on the internet for all friends and family to watch: free! Bally’s buffet dinner for 10 people: $12/each.

    My parents gave us everything left over from the money they set aside for the wedding. No stress, no worries. It was great! Plus, we got to see Blue Man Group on our honeymoon.

    Comment by Renee on June 21, 2003 @ 8:47 pm
  12. I think that when I get married, I’ll probably just use the chapel by my house for the reception and my mom will make the cake. She made her own cake for her wedding and saved a ton of money just on that.

    Comment by Alicia on June 22, 2003 @ 11:31 am
  13. When I get married, I plan to run around screaming, “I’m getting married!” and then ask for donations. If that doesn’t work, I sure hope the girl’s parents are rich because I want to have a $100,000 wedding. $1,000 for the normal expenses (the cake, dress, tux, food) and $99,000 for the 400 foot gopher made entirely of cheese.

    Comment by dan on June 22, 2003 @ 5:00 pm
  14. I wonder if gophers can get monkeypox from prairie dogs…

    Comment by Renee on June 22, 2003 @ 6:04 pm
  15. Got married 19 years ago on a less-than-$2000 budget. Did EVERYTHING on a shoestring, and that’s no joke. It ain’t QUANTITY, it’s QUALITY.
    Doing a superficial Science Fair project now for a radio station to prove that people who spend more money on the wedding don’t stay married that long. You wouldn’t believe the evidence piling up; and I’m not even counting celebrity weddings!

    Comment by Laura on August 16, 2003 @ 9:37 pm
  16. That sounds like an interesting project. I’d like to see the results once you compile them if you wouldn’t mind sharing them.

    Comment by dan on August 17, 2003 @ 12:54 am
  17. To Dan, and anyone else interested. Yes, I’ll be happy to share my findings with you after the Science Fair. It will be held September 13th. I’ll let you know then how it went.

    Comment by Laura on August 18, 2003 @ 6:03 pm
  18. Laura, I would like to have your results from that science fair project you did. I am writing a paper about weddings and their high cost. Your research would be extremely helpful.

    Comment by Mark on October 10, 2003 @ 1:10 pm
  19. I eloped but got married at a church. A few of my college friends found out and bought me a bouquet and made me put on a dress- not a wedding dress just a cute little dress- I was wearing jeans. My now husband borrowed a jacket from a friend and the minister who did our college services married us. We gave the minister $20.00. That is all we spent. We have been happily married for almost 21 years and have two of the most wonderful children in the world-ages 19 and 18. I think some of the people who have the huge weddings are more concerned with putting on airs than the marriage itself!

    Comment by jamie on November 7, 2003 @ 10:38 am
  20. when i get married i want a typical church wedding with my entire family there and i want to marry the man of my dreams

    Comment by Brittany Hilton on November 24, 2003 @ 3:19 pm
  21. How easy it is for brides and grooms to spend their parents money for expensive weddings. Recently had the opportunity to talk with a young woman who had been estranged from her father for over five years. Her contact to him was “Can you help with my wedding, I think you owe me that much”. Daddy is on his own guilt trip so now coffing up the money for an extravagant wedding that he isn’t even ivited too. Seems this young lady’s mother is going to walk her down the aisle and does not want Daddy anywhere near the church. I wanted to tell Daddy he is being taken for a ride, but he is too excited that his daughter is talking to him no matter that it is all about the wedding and how much money she needs from him. We have raised a society of children that just want and want from everyone else it seems. Yes the bride will be beautiful at her WEDDING at least on the outside, but wonder how she would feel if she knew her father is borrowing to do all this for her. This is the same daddy that was living in a shelter only two years ago when depression made his life unlivable when his daughter had nothing to do with him taking mother’s side in a nasty divorce. Weddings at another’s expense “BA HUMBUG”.

    Comment by sharron myers on December 1, 2003 @ 9:25 am
  22. I am planning a wedding for under $5,000.00 and I am doing a good job I have everything from the wedding dress to party favors and iam paying for my husbands rings. My key is not everything needs to be designer. You can go the cheap route.

    Comment by Bekah on January 10, 2004 @ 3:21 pm
  23. I am looking to plan my wedding but I am a grad student and my man is newly employed and very in debt graduate as well. I see all of you complaining about $ but for the ones of you who have married for less how did you do it we have big families like 200 people and that is cuting the list down alot. I am stressed about this but I love him and don’t want to wait any longer.
    Any help Please!!!!

    Comment by s on January 21, 2004 @ 8:33 pm
  24. i am a stay at home mom and my husband to be is self employed and we are really struggling to have a wedding we have 2 children and very little funds we have about 200 people to invite and i just want to know how you managed to have a cheap wedding any suggestions or tips would be much appreciated.

    Comment by t on January 23, 2004 @ 8:57 pm
  25. I don’t know about the accuracy of $22,000 for the *average* wedding. I know alot of average people, me being one of them, and they don’t have $22,000 to spend on a wedding. Our wedding, which you were a part of may have looked expensive but in the end only cost around $5k-$6k. They don’t have to be expensive and I think alot of hype is placed around it to make women feel obligated to bankrupt their parents in order to celebrate that special moment. Bah, you don’t even remember half of it anyway!

    Comment by Soma on January 29, 2004 @ 10:00 am
  26. The average simply means the total cost of all weddings measured, divided by the number of weddings.

    If you knew of two weddings, one that cost $4,000 and another that cost $40,000, the average cost of a wedding would be $22,000 even though no one paid $22,000 for a wedding.

    Comment by dan on January 29, 2004 @ 10:34 am
  27. so how much did you end up spending for your wedding compared with the average?

    Comment by whaleman on January 29, 2004 @ 6:48 pm
  28. I don’t know the total because my in-laws took care of the reception and invitations and I took care of the tuxes and brunch. It was fairly inexpensive though.

    Comment by dan on January 30, 2004 @ 9:45 am
  29. My husband and I have been married for 20 years. My best friends husband married us outside the church on a fall day . The sky was blue and cows were grazing in the pasture next to the church. We spent $20 on the marriage license. I wore the skirt and blouse I was wearing the day we met. I have no idea what my husband was wearing- all I remember was looking into his eyes as we recitied our vows. A couple of weeks later, we had our close family over for cake and punch. We had no debt and w wonderful romantic day. After all, a marriage is only between two people-it doesn’t take a village to consumate!

    Comment by Rebecca on February 1, 2004 @ 6:13 pm
  30. I am also trying to plan a wedding on a budget. Mine is $10,000. Although my parents are willing and able to help (I am the only daughter)it seems absurd to “blow the whole wad” on a party, when we will need a washer/dryer a refrigerator etc. after the party! I have the mixed fortune of being in Hawaii where it is paradise but everything cost too much. For example the catering menu I got from the Hyatt @17.50pp is $4.50pp in my home town yacht club. I am so “over” talking to snobby caterers and flakey coordinators. If someone could give me a good idea I might still go through with it. I am the point where I want to send announcement cards and go on my honeymoon and call it a day. So much for the dream……

    Comment by Sandy on January 20, 2005 @ 11:51 pm
  31. At my wedding I was in a court room with my family members in the audience. I had a many appetizer-party afterwards at my home. I spent about 2 or 300 dollars.

    Comment by Patty on January 24, 2005 @ 1:23 pm
  32. My finance and I have been together for 9 years and he just asked me to marry him, we have 3 kids and can only afford around $5,000.00 for our wedding and reception. There are around 150 friends and family that we want to invite, any advise will help on how to make this all come together.

    Kim Gowan

    Comment by Kim Gowan on December 16, 2005 @ 5:54 pm

Comments are closed