What does a wedding cost?

What does a wedding cost?

A couple of days ago a local radio station was asking people to write in about how much they spent on their wedding. I caught a minute of the DJ saying that he received answers as low as $500 and as high as $30,000. He said he was shocked that someone would spend so much. “30 thousand dollars?!” he said, “on a wedding?!” I’m going to take a wild guess that this guy is not married.

So how much does a wedding really cost?

TheKnot.com just released their largest wedding survey ever. They questioned over 17,500 brides who got married in 2012 (like me!) all about budgets and style, and the results are fascinating. 

According to the survey, the average wedding costs $28,427 and has 139 guests. Andy and I are so average it’s ridiculous! We had 110 wedding guests, but our budget was right on average.

Some of our real numbers differ a lot, though, which is interesting. The survey results showed that the average catering cost is $63 per person, which I think is pretty low. We paid over $100 per plate (but our food was good!). On the other hand, the average couple spends $988 on a reception DJ or $3,084 for a reception band, and we had a friend run karaoke, which was a tiny fraction of that cost. I also thought it was interesting that the average for photography is $2379, because we paid almost double that, but we paid about half of the average $560 for a cake, maybe because we had cupcakes instead.

The numbers are interesting, but the style numbers are even more fun. Did you know blue is the most popular wedding color (33%)? Yep, average again! Hawaii has the oldest brides (33) and Utah has the youngest (25). Only 35% of 2012 weddings took place in church, down from 41% in 2009 (this really surprised me). TheKnot says that weddings across the country are trending more casual, and couples are becoming increasingly more interesting in creating an event that is fun and entertaining for guests. I love that. Weddings should be fun!

Read the full survey here.

I remember seeing some numbers like this before I started planning my own wedding and, like the radio guy, I was pretty shocked. I didn’t think I would be like that. Who spends so much on one day?! But, when it came down to it, weddings are expensive, even when you DIY as much as possible like we did… and looking back almost a year later I don’t regret a single cent.

So what do you think? Are you married or getting married soon? How does your wedding stack up to the average in budget and style? Do these numbers completely freak you out or are you as ridiculously average as me?

{ all statistics and photo by TheKnot.com }

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