The Average Cost of a Wedding in 2020 | The Ascent (2022)

By:Christy Bieber |Published Sept. 2, 2020

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The Average Cost of a Wedding in 2020 | The Ascent (1)

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Weddings have become more than just a chance for a couple to express their commitment to each other -- they've become big business.

Couples budget, on average, around $23,000 for their wedding but end up spending around $30,000, with more than half of all couples increasing their projected spending during the planning process according to Wedding Wire's 2020 Newlywed Report.

With couples spending enough money to buy a car or put a down payment on a home on a one-day event, let's take a look at where this money goes, where it comes from, and who covers the costs.

Key findings

  • The average cost of a wedding in 2019 was $33,900.
  • New Jersey has the highest average cost at $53,400, with Utah taking the lowest spot at $19,700.
  • Shift weddings, microweddings, and minimonies have become more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Photography and food are the most common items to increase wedding budgets for.
  • The average wedding dress costs around $1,500.
  • Wedding photography costs an average of $2,400, while videography averages $1,799.
  • The average cost of a wedding cake is $540, but can vary widely.
  • Across all groups, parents of the bride and groom pay for 52% of wedding expenses.
  • 32% of couples pay for their wedding with a credit card.

How much does a wedding cost?

According to The Knot's 2019 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of a wedding in the United States came in at $33,900. This doesn't include the honeymoon, but does include the engagement ring.

However, it doesn't tell the whole story in terms of how much a wedding is likely to cost couples, as the price tag can vary substantially from state to state as well as based on the type of wedding.

How much does the average wedding cost across the U.S.?

Where you live can have a major impact on how much you spend to say "I do" to your beloved.

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In fact, weddings cost a whopping $33,700 more in New Jersey -- where couples have the honor of hosting the nation's most expensive weddings at an average price of $53,400 -- than in Utah, the cheapest place in the U.S. to get married (couples spend just $19,700 on average).

The extra $33,700 that Garden State residents spend would be enough to cover the full cost of an average wedding in 36 states!

Surprisingly, though, there are just three states in the country where the average cost of a wedding comes in at under $20,000 -- Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming.

The table below shows the average price throughout the country:

StateAverage wedding cost in 2019
Arkansas $21,800
Florida $30,600
New Hampshire$32,100
New Jersey$53,400
New Mexico$25,600
New York$48,600
North Carolina$29,500
North Dakota & South Dakota$29,200
Rhode Island$49,800
South Carolina$30,600
West Virginia$26,500

Average wedding costs by type of wedding

Where you live isn't the only factor that affects how much you're likely to spend when you celebrate the start of your life with your beloved. The type of wedding also makes a difference:

  • Destination weddings average $32,000, while hometown weddings average $27,000.
  • First marriages weddings average $30,000, while second weddings average $14,000.
  • Millennials typically spend $30,000, while members of Gen Xers spend $20,000.

Hometown weddings come at a lower average cost than destination weddings for obvious reasons -- it's cheaper to stay local than to incur the costs of travel.

However, some of the extra wedding costs of a destination ceremony may be offset by a lower price tag for the honeymoon, assuming the couple celebrates in the location where the wedding was held.

It's surprising, though, that millennials -- who have faced unprecedented financial struggles -- tend to spend more on their nuptials than their older counterparts. This discrepancy could be explained by the fact that social media has played an increasingly important role in driving the price of weddings up. More than half of all couples set up their own wedding hashtag in 2019.

Sexual orientation made almost no difference at all in average wedding costs. Opposite-sex couples spent an average of $28,000 while same-sex couples spent just $500 more.

How much do weddings cost in the COVID-19 era?

For many betrothed couples, weddings will look very different in 2020 -- and perhaps beyond -- due to COVID-19.

With most states imposing limits on the number of people attending gatherings and with coronavirus continuing to spread, lavish affairs are being replaced with alternatives, including these three options:

  • Shift weddings still involve a large guest list, but guests attend at appointed times
  • Microweddings are typically small gatherings with under 50 guests. Most couples plan a larger reception at a later point.
  • Minimonies normally involve 10 or fewer guests, mostly including close family members.

While shift weddings will likely retain the high average cost of more traditional affairs, microweddings and minimonies come with much smaller price tags.

In fact, one venue that normally charges approximately $30,000 for a standard wedding with 300 guests has indicated microweddings cost an estimated $2,750 for up to 30 guests or $4,500 for up to 50 guests.

Median and average wedding costs differ

While average wedding costs can provide insight into what couples are spending, they don't always tell the whole story and can establish unreasonable expectations.

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By nature, averages can be skewed by some couples spending exorbitantly -- if, for example, two couples marry and one spends $1,000 and another spends $100,000, an average wedding cost of $50,500 isn't a very accurate representation of what either actually spent.

Median cost can shed more insight into what typical couples are spending, as it is the middle number in the list. Unfortunately, median cost isn't as widely available. However, a quick look at the most recent year in which median wedding cost data was published shows a substantial discrepancy between the median and average cost.

With the median coming in more than $10,000 below the average, it's likely that the average is skewed by some couples throwing over-the-top affairs while most spend a more reasonable sum.

Wedding budget breakdown: Where does the money go?

With tens of thousands of dollars on the line, it's important to understand what couples prioritize and where this money goes.

For most couples, budget increases are driven by five primary factors, according to Wedding Wire:

Wedding cost breakdown: Here's what the typical wedding budget looks like

The data below shows average wedding costs for different spending categories, according to Wedding Wire:

  • Venue: $10,500
  • Engagement rings: $5,900
  • Honeymoon: $5,000
  • Band: $3,700
  • Photography: $2,400
  • Alcohol/liquor: $2,300
  • Wedding rings: $2,200
  • Flowers: $2,000
  • Rehearsal dinner: $1,900
  • Videography: $1,800
  • Wedding dress: $1,600
  • Wedding planner: $1,500
  • Lighting and décor: $1,500
  • DJ: $1,200
  • Guest entertainment: $1,000
  • Transportation: $800
  • Invitations/stationery: $560
  • Cake/desserts: $500
  • Wedding musicians (e.g., soloist, ensembles): $450
  • Favors and gifts: $400
  • Groom's attire: $300
  • Jewelry: $200
  • Officiant: $250
  • Groomsmen attire (each): $180
  • Bridesmaid dress (each): $140
  • Hairstylist (bride): $110
  • Makeup artist (bride): $100
  • Makeup artists wedding party (each): $70
  • Hairstylist wedding party (each): $70
  • Catering (per head): $70

Not all couples will incur all of these expenses, and some will choose to spend far less on certain areas in order to splurge on others.

Let's take a closer look at variation in costs for some of these major categories.

Average wedding venue cost

Where you get married can be one of the biggest drivers of cost, as the price tag of the most expensive venues can be several thousand dollars more than the least expensive.

In fact, according to Wedding Forward, here's the average cost of different wedding venues:

  • Community or event center: $2,000 to $24,000
  • Country or private club: $2,000 to $18,000
  • Banquet hall: $2,000 to $23,000
  • City buildings: $4,000 to $23,000
  • Museum or art gallery: $4,000 to $11,000
  • Brewery or winery: $5,000 to $10,000
  • Hotel or resort: $5,000 to $74,000
  • Barn: $6,000 to $13,000
  • National or city park: $7,600 to $14,000

Average cost of wedding flowers

Wedding flowers are surprisingly complicated, with more than 15 different types of possible arrangements to consider. provides some details on what couples can expect to pay for some of the different floral items at their wedding.

  • Bridal bouquet: $150 to $350
  • Bridesmaid bouquet: $65 to $125
  • Boutonniere: $24 to $45
  • Pin-on corsage: $32 to $48
  • Wrist corsage: $48 to $65
  • Reception flowers: $75 to $250
  • Flower girl petals: $65 per bag
  • Altar flowers: $75 to $500
  • Arrangement next to sign-in book: $150 to $250
  • Arrangement next to place cards: $65 to $125
  • Head table centerpiece: $65 to $150
  • Sweetheart table garland: $12 to $45 per foot
  • Guest table centerpiece: $75 to $400
  • Cake flowers: $25 to $150
  • Flower crown: $45 to $125

Mixing low- and high-priced florals can help keep budget costs down, as can reusing flowers from the ceremony at the reception and choosing flowers that are in season.

Average wedding dress costs

Most brides dream of finding the perfect gown, but the price of perfection isn't cheap. When looking at the average cost of a wedding dress in every state, Insider DATA found that most states came in around $1,500.

In addition to the dress itself, brides may need to pay for extras including:

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  • Accessories such as shoes, veils or tiaras, jewelry, and a clutch purse. Wedding Forward reports these accessories typically cost between $350 and $500.
  • Undergarments, which average around $200 in cost.
  • Alterations, which can cost between $500 and $600 if they're not included by your bridal shop.
  • Cleaning and preservation, which could come at a combined cost of around $500.

Average cost of a wedding photographer or wedding videographer

More than 90% of couples hired a photographer in 2019, according to The Knot. This didn't come cheap at an average price of $2,400.

However, as this data from Wedding Forward shows, the cost depends on the skill level of the person taking the pictures. Here's what you can expect to spend if you hire photographers with varying levels of experience:

  • Student: $500 to $1,500
  • Semi-pro: $1,000 to $2,500
  • Professional: $2,500 to $10,000
  • Grandmaster: $6,000 and up

For couples who want to capture their magical moments on video, rather than just on film, the average videographer comes at a price of $1,799 according to Wedding Wire.

However, most couples spend anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 with the cost determined in large part by the amount of time your videographer spends at your event as well as the level of editing requested.

Average cost of a wedding cake

For couples looking to end the night with something sweet, wedding cakes typically cost anywhere from $1.50 to $12.00 per slice, with the overall average landing at $540, according to Wedding Forward. Factors that affect the price include

  • ingredients,
  • design,
  • number of tiers,
  • frosting type,
  • delivery fees, and
  • equipment rentals.

Unfortunately, couples hoping that alternatives such as wedding cupcakes may cost them less will likely be disappointed as Wedding Forward reports that common options such as wedding cupcakes or cake pops carry an average price tag of $2.50 to $4.00 per serving -- on par with a low- to mid-priced cake.

How much does a wedding planner cost?

With so many moving parts to make up a perfect wedding, many couples turn to a professional for help planning it all. An estimated 30% of couples hire a wedding planner to take care of some or all of the logistics, according to Wedding Wire.

While the average cost of this professional help comes at a price of around $1,500, the price tag depends what type of assistance your planner provides.

Couples have the option of choosing

  • a full-service planner;
  • a day-of coordinator;
  • a wedding-weekend or destination-wedding coordinator; or
  • a professional who offers a-la-carte services and assists with only a specific aspect of wedding preparations.

Obviously, the less assistance a planner provides, the lower the price will be.

How much does a small wedding cost?

The average wedding size is 131 guests, according to The Knot. Having so many people present for your big day is a wonderful way to celebrate, but it's also one of the reasons weddings have such a high price tag.

With catering alone averaging $70 per person, every 10 people you can cut from your guest list could save you as much as $700.

A smaller wedding could also enable you to reduce the size of your venue and save on alcohol.

As many as 92% of couples serve alcohol at their wedding, and the average cost of adult beverages is approximately $2,300, according to The Knot.

Who pays the costs of the average wedding?

With such a high price tag, it can be hard for many couples to cover the costs of the typical wedding. Many get help from their parents while others use savings or even charge wedding-related purchases on their credit cards.

The charts below show how costs are split among the couple, their parents, and other generous contributors, along with how couples come up with the funds to pay for their special event.

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Percent of wedding paid for:

PayerAllMillennialsGenXLGBTQ2nd Marriage

Here's where couples draw money from to pay for their part of the wedding:

The average cost of a wedding around the world

The United States is far from the only country where couples spend extravagantly on their nuptials. The data below from WeddingWire shows the average price of a wedding around the world in U.S. dollars, using currency conversion rates as of March 2019.

The United States is the most expensive on the list by a wide margin in terms of average cost, but couples across the globe have a keen interest in making their wedding special and are willing to pay a relatively high price in order to do so.

What about wedding insurance?

Unfortunately, weddings aren't immune to unforeseen circumstances. (If you've lived through 2020, you know just how true this is.) Which is where wedding insurance comes in.

Wedding insurance policies cover a wide variety of items, from lost rings to injured guests.

Cancellation insurance covers the deposits you made on the venue, DJ, vendors, photography, and so on. It might also cover loss or damage of attire, rings, cake, gifts, and other items, depending on the provisions in your policy.

Liability insurance covers injuries to the people who attend your wedding.

So how much does all of that cost?

According to The Knot, you'll pay between $155 and $550 for a basic cancellation policy that covers things like rings, attire, gifts, and deposits. General liability insurance will cost about $185.

In general, $200 to $400 is probably a safe bet for the average wedding insurance. But costs and levels of coverage can vary widely, so be sure to check multiple options.

Your big day will almost assuredly come with a substantial wedding budget

No matter how you add it up, the cost of a wedding is likely to be several thousand dollars at a minimum, even for a small affair.

Couples would be well-advised to consider their budgets carefully and make sound decisions during the entirety of the wedding planning process, including setting limits up front -- and sticking to them.

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Those who are involved in the wedding planning process should likely also aim to pay for as much of the wedding in cash as possible, rather than relying on credit cards that can carry high interest rates. Charging wedding costs can sometimes add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the final price tag depending on how long the couple pays finance charges.

By taking a financially-responsible approach to their special event, couples should be better able to avoid starting their married life with the substantial wedding debt that can result from such a lavish affair.



How much does the average wedding cost UK 2020? ›

The average cost (excl honeymoon and guest spend) last year was £16,250 and it appears as though the average spend among our couples getting married in 2020 will be around the £17,000 mark.

How much is the average wedding UK 2022? ›

With the average cost of a wedding in the UK sitting at £30,000, our research showed this average is 200% higher than what one in three Brits are willing to pay. In fact, when analysing the data, we found that only one in ten Brits said they would be happy to spend between £21,000 – £30,000.

How much does an average wedding cost UK? ›

The average wedding in the UK in 2021 cost £17,300.

This is 90% up on the average cost of a wedding in 2020, which was £9,100. It's a huge yearly increase, but it does make sense when you consider the limitations on weddings in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Who pays for what in a wedding 2020 UK? ›

"Traditionally, the bride's parents would pay for her whole wedding and reception. But as the average wedding now costs more than £32,000 and couples are getting married later in life, we have found that most couples pay for their weddings themselves - but often with a little help from family members," Lisa said.

How much is a wedding for 100 guests? ›

Most receptions for 100 people cost between $5,000 - $10,000, with $7,000 being the average cost. Here's a general estimate of what you can expect to pay for food, service/staffing, alcohol, and rentals for a wedding of this size.

What is a reasonable budget for a wedding? ›

The average cost of a wedding in 2021 was $28,000 (including the ceremony and reception), according to The Knot's 2021 Real Weddings Study. Here's what you should know about wedding costs and how to realistically estimate how much you'll spend to take the plunge.

Who typically pays for a wedding? ›

You might be aware that the bride's family is expected to cover the majority of the wedding day costs, while the groom's family pays for a variety of extra activities, like the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon.

How much should I budget for a wedding in 2022? ›

2022 wedding price tag

All told, the Wedding Report's average cost for a 2022 wedding sits at around $27,000, which is about on par with 2021 costs.

Is a wedding worth the money? ›

Once-In-A-Lifetime Event

A successful couple in love will only have one wedding in their lifetime. Because of that, a wedding is well worth the time, effort, and investment. Since you're only doing it once, it makes sense to splurge a little and have fun. You're never going to do it again.

Why are weddings so expensive UK? ›

Are wedding couples paying more too? The average cost of a wedding in the UK this year is £31,974, 54% higher than £20,799 in 2014 – and the main reason for the price hike is social media pressure according to Hitched's National Wedding Survey 2019.

How do people afford weddings? ›

7 Best Ways To Pay For a Wedding
  1. Set a realistic budget. ...
  2. Ask family and friends to chip in (when appropriate) ...
  3. Save during your engagement. ...
  4. Pick up a temporary side hustle. ...
  5. Cut costs on lower-priority items. ...
  6. Take advantage of credit card rewards. ...
  7. Consider a personal loan.
29 Oct 2019

How do you plan a wedding for 15000? ›

If your budget is $15,000, you can still have an amazing wedding. With a $15,000 budget, the key is to keep the guest list to 50 people or fewer. Other ways to keep costs within your budget include sending invitations through email or choosing a venue's buffet package rather than a plated dinner.

Do parents still pay for weddings 2022? ›

The old-school etiquette books would dictate that the parents of the bride should foot most of the bill for the wedding but the reality is that most couples end up working together with their families to cover the cost.

How much should groom's parents pay for wedding? ›

Splitting wedding costs equally between the couple and their families is becoming more common across the board: The Knot 2021 Real Weddings Study found that couples pay approximately 49% of their wedding costs, with their families covering the rest at 51%.

How much do parents give for wedding? ›

According to The Knot Real Weddings Study, couples and their families divided up wedding expenses equally. Newlyweds paid for roughly 48% of their wedding costs, and their parents typically paid the remainder of the bill (52%).

Is $20000 enough for a wedding? ›

A $20,000 wedding budget is feasible. More than half of your budget will cover the cost of the venue, catering, and decorations. Other categories to keep in mind are attire, entertainment, vendors, rings, stationery, and miscellaneous fees.

Is 100K enough for wedding? ›

Working with a ₱100K wedding budget in the Philippines is totally doable, especially for a small wedding. But you and your partner should be on the same page when it comes to your wedding budget. You both should agree to spend not more than ₱100,000 for the entire wedding.

What is the bride's mother responsible for? ›

The mother of the bride plays the role of hostess, meaning you should spend some time greeting guests during the reception. Although there are exceptions, other wedding-day duties may include sitting at the parents' table and dancing with the father of the bride to help warm up the dance floor.

Whats the most expensive part of a wedding? ›

The most expensive parts of most weddings are costs associated with the reception venue, including the cost of renting materials, including tables and chairs, and serving food or alcohol.

How much does it cost to feed 150 wedding guests? ›

Average Wedding Catering Cost For 150

The average cost of wedding catering is rounded to $9200. Why so low compared to 100 people? Larger guests list prompt brides and grooms to start looking at cutting corners to lower their budget.

What is the biggest expense for a wedding? ›

Wedding location and getting there

And where will they wine and dine their guests, then dance the night away? Set about 30% of your wedding budget aside for the site of the ceremony and reception venue, which is often the largest single wedding expense, averaging about $10,500 nationwide.

How much does a wedding cost for 100 guests UK? ›

In the UK, most weddings with 100 guests cost between £15,000 and £25,000, with an average price tag of around £20,000. This amount will vary depending on the wedding site's location, cuisine, drink options available, and other factors.

How much does it cost to get married in a registry office UK? ›

Please note that these are legal stipulations. The cost for a register office marriage or civil partnership is £57 which consists of £46 for the registration and £11 for one certificate. The fee is non-refundable.

Why are weddings so expensive UK? ›

Are wedding couples paying more too? The average cost of a wedding in the UK this year is £31,974, 54% higher than £20,799 in 2014 – and the main reason for the price hike is social media pressure according to Hitched's National Wedding Survey 2019.

How much is an average wedding cake UK? ›

What Is The Average Wedding Cake Cost In The UK? According to Bridebook's January 2022 survey of nearly 5,500 UK couples, the average wedding cake spend in 2021 was £310.

Who typically pays for a wedding? ›

You might be aware that the bride's family is expected to cover the majority of the wedding day costs, while the groom's family pays for a variety of extra activities, like the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon.

Is a wedding worth the money? ›

Once-In-A-Lifetime Event

A successful couple in love will only have one wedding in their lifetime. Because of that, a wedding is well worth the time, effort, and investment. Since you're only doing it once, it makes sense to splurge a little and have fun. You're never going to do it again.

How do people afford weddings? ›

7 Best Ways To Pay For a Wedding
  1. Set a realistic budget. ...
  2. Ask family and friends to chip in (when appropriate) ...
  3. Save during your engagement. ...
  4. Pick up a temporary side hustle. ...
  5. Cut costs on lower-priority items. ...
  6. Take advantage of credit card rewards. ...
  7. Consider a personal loan.
29 Oct 2019

What is the cheapest way to get married in the UK? ›

Cheapest Option For Getting Married: Basic Registry Office Wedding. The cheapest way to get married in England and Wales is to get married at your local registry office.

Do I need to inform HMRC when I get married? ›

Tell HM Revenue and Customs ( HMRC ) if: you get married or form a civil partnership. you divorce, separate or stop living with your husband, wife or partner.

What is it called when you get married without telling anyone? ›

Eloping is a marriage conducted without the knowledge of the couple's family and friends, particularly their parents. Typically, those who elope only have a ceremony and do not host a reception or celebration.

How much is a wedding ring cost? ›

On average, wedding bands cost about $1,100 for women and around $550 for men, according to one estimate from The Knot. But the ultimate price often depends on the metal you choose. Think: Yellow gold, white gold, or rose gold.

Is it cheaper to get married abroad or in the UK? ›

In some cases, however, you may choose to bring some suppliers over from the UK. This might be a preferred wedding photographer, musician or make-up artist. Although costs won't differ to the UK, you can expect to pay more for their time, as well as flights and accommodation.

How much should I save for a wedding UK? ›

How much to save for a wedding? The total amount you need to save for your wedding will vary. An average UK wedding costs about £17,000* (excluding your honeymoon), including the average costs for wedding cakes, wedding and engagement rings, rehearsal dinners, reception, décor, professional photography, etc.

How much wedding cake do I need for 200 guests? ›

Wedding Cake Sizes Chart
Number Of GuestsTiersSize (Width of Tiers)
30 or less110 in
30-6028 in x 10 in
60-12036 in x 10 in x 14 in
120-20046 in x 8 in x 10 in x 12 in
1 more row
15 Oct 2019

How much cake do I need for 90 guests? ›

The number of cake servings will help determine the size of your cake. In general, three tiers will serve 50 to 100 guests. So, if you're having 150 or more, you'll likely need four or more tiers.

What is the average cost of a 3-tier cake? ›

Wedding cake prices
GuestsTiers*Average cost
753-Tier$250 – $500
1003-Tier$280 – $630
1203-Tier$350 – $800
1304-Tier$500 – $860
10 more rows
26 Jan 2022


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