Average Wedding Costs

Gone are the days of quick cake and punch receptions held in a church basement. Today’s weddings are far more celebratory and romantic affairs. From designer gowns and towering buttercream cakes to live string quartets and multi-course plated meals, it’s no wonder that the average wedding cost in the U.S. has risen to $27,698. 

Although newly engaged couples may experience some initial sticker shock when faced with the high price point of modern weddings, the feeling of seeing all of your hard work come together on your wedding day is like no other. 

After all, there’s no other time in your life when you’ll be able to look around and see the faces of all of the people who matter most to you and your beloved in the same room. The best part? They’re all there celebrating you! 

Curious about the full cost breakdown for all of the food, fun and festivities? Check out the infographic below for the inside scoop.


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Surprised by the price tag of some of these wedding items? We don’t blame you - but trust us when we say that there are some things you don’t want to cut corners on. Not only will you and your beloved look back on this day for the rest of your lives, but so will your guests. And remember - photos last a lifetime! 

Here’s how to ensure that your wedding celebration is the beautiful, sentimental, and lavish affair of your dreams.

The Venue

Your venue will set the mood for your entire ceremony and reception. Is it a modern urban brewery? A sweet, rustic ranch? A tropical white sand beach? A classic and formal hotel ballroom? It’s not worth saving a bit of cash on a venue that doesn’t reflect the style and theme of your entire event.

If you’ve got your heart set on a swanky 20’s-themed event that would make Jay Gatsby himself jealous, that stuffy meeting room or drab community center probably won’t cut it. It’s also important to choose a venue that will allow you to personalize and decorate it the way that you want. If you’re dreaming of extravagant floral centerpieces, beautiful crystal chandeliers and draped fabric installations, make sure to select a venue that will allow you to implement your vision.

The Photography

Photography is the one element of your wedding that will continue to play an important role long after the big day has come and gone. Whether you frame your photos and display them in your home, purchase a special album for your coffee table, or simply share them on social media, you want your wedding photos to accurately reflect the style and atmosphere of your big day. 

Many wedding photographers offer vastly different artistic styles, ranging from formal portrait style to candid documentary style. Choosing the right photographer from the get-go will ensure that you will cherish your wedding photos for years to come.

The Attire

Speaking of those wedding photos...did we mention that they last a lifetime? You definitely don’t want to flip through your wedding album years down the road and cringe when you see that ill-fitting suit or those frumpy bridesmaids dresses. Not to mention that cheap materials often don’t photograph as nicely as more luxurious materials. 

There’s a reason for all of those wedding dress shopping series on TV - wedding day attire is a seriously important decision! Be true to your personal style, but keep in mind that you want to look your best even if you’re having a casual or quirky wedding. For more wedding fashion tips, check out our list of 50 groomsmen suspender ideas.

The Food

We’re not saying you have to serve filet mignon, but there’s no denying that the meal is one of the most important parts of the entire wedding reception. It’s also one of the elements of your big day that will affect your guests the most. All of the free booze and beautiful floral centerpieces in the world won’t fix a terrible meal. 

The key is to choose a trustworthy, reputable caterer who can work with you to customize and build your menu...and most importantly, keep the food from going cold before your guests get a chance to eat it. Your food selection is also the perfect opportunity to reinforce your chosen event style or theme, from trendy hors d'oeuvres to colorful signature cocktails to the main course. And don’t forget the cake, which is often the single most-photographed wedding food item!

The Music

Wedding entertainment doesn’t come cheap, with the total cost averaging out at around $1,389. But isn’t it worth it to invest in a quality entertainer who can keep the party going? Live bands can often be a pricier choice than DJs, but there’s no denying that live music makes a bigger and more lasting impression. The combination of live instruments and vocals creates an infectious energy that gets people on the dance floor - and keeps them there! 

Guests will also love being able to request their favorite songs and hear them played on the spot by a talented local band. Plus, live music tends to carry more emotion than prerecorded songs. And after all, that’s what the day is really about, right?

Were you surprised by the average cost of modern weddings? Share our infographic with your friend or family member who’s currently planning their own wedding!