"The greatest wealth is contentment with a little." - English Proverb

How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost? Over $30,000

By , March 15th, 2015 | 4 Comments »

what does the average wedding cost
If you search for “wedding television shows” on Wikipedia, there are 33 entries which range from “Bridezillas” to “Amazing Wedding Cakes,” along with several variations of “Say Yes to the Dress.” So, which came first? Were Americans so interested in weddings that a multitude of television shows were produced to serve this interest? Or have the many shows led to our interest and desire to spend thousands on our weddings?

In any case, a survey of approximately 16,000 brides by the XO Group determined that the average cost of a wedding, excluding a honeymoon, was $31,213 in 2014, though a marriage in Manhattan might put a new family back approximately $76,328. According to the Washington Post, this number represents a five-year high for wedding costs though when adjusted for inflation, “That spending is not quite equal to pre-recession highs, but it’s getting close.”

Among other interesting results from the survey, XO Group found that only 12 percent of couples pay for a wedding “entirely themselves.” Of the ones who receive help, the bride’s parents typically contribute 43 percent, the bride and groom pay for 43 percent and the groom’s parents contribute only 12 percent to the wedding bill.

In terms of perspective, Market Watch reports that the average cost of getting married in the US is “exactly the same — give or take $92 — as a 15 percent down payment on a median-priced home worth $208,700 in the fourth quarter of 2012.” And disturbingly (at least in economic terms), with divorce rates creeping above 50 percent, nearly 17 percent of couples who marry will decide to marry again, some more than twice.

Importantly, it’s not just the soon-to-be newlyweds who¬†potentially find themselves¬†spending too much¬†money. Market Watch reports that 43 percent of Americans decline wedding invitations for financial reasons, while 36 percent have gone into debt to attend a friend’s wedding.

Looking at the economic bright side, Sreekar Jasthi, an analyst associated with the finance website NerdWallet.com told Market Watch, “[The greater expenditure] shows that people are feeling better about the economy.” But the good news ends here. Jasthi continues that, “Our research shows that the least-expensive counties spend a greater portion of their income. That’s concerning.”

To avoid the potential debt some of their peers are placing themselves in to pay for their weddings, Bloomberg Business reports that 38 percent of millennials delay getting married in order to afford a home. At the very least, perhaps this report will highlight new ways for couples¬†to save as they consider their wedding plans.¬†For example, realizing how expensive it is to marry in New York, a couple could consider changing their wedding’s¬†location from NY to somewhere less expensive and save money, even with the added travel costs.¬† As Peggy Duncan said of her daughter Katie who was married last May, “She was pretty good at cutting costs and being willing to do different things to save.”

(Photo courtesy of Susan Murtaugh)

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  • michael says:

    People could use the money they spend on their wedding so much better. What kills me are the people who go into debt to have a wedding. That’s a recipe for future divorce.

  • When we only had a simple wedding celebration especially that we are very young then. If you have enough money for your wedding, you can have an expensive wedding but don’t fall into a debt just to have a wedding.

  • Tim Bulkeley says:

    Expensive weddings are foolish, not only do they cut into a couple’s ability to save or buy a house, but research shows that weddings that cost less lead to marriages that last longer!

    If only a few strong minded people would have weddings with a potluck dinner instead of an expensive feast, and photos with real friends and close family instead of photo shoots at expensive “locations” there would be less stress and money in the bank.

  • J in MT says:

    My wedding was quite extravagant… but it really didn’t cost much. With everything I would put it at around $2-3K. It was probably a little higher because of the open bar. I don’t get how a wedding could cost more than my car. I just don’t get it.


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