The price of a wedding

Liz recently emailed me this picture that describes some wedding averages. It came out in 2010 after the Royal Wedding to illustrate the cost of an average American wedding. My frist thought was, “WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WHO HAVE AVERAGE WEDDINGS LIKE THIS?” Of course, because it is an average, that means that many people have weddings that cost less than this… and also that many people have weddings that cost more than this.

Sadly, what I have found as I have been planning our wedding is that the price can get out of hand even if you are doing everything possible to keep it down. Why? Because of the world’s most expensive adjective: wedding. Fancy party cake – 100$. Wedding cake – 600$.  Couple hour photo shoot – 1000$. Wedding photos – 3000$ +.  Getting your hair done – 30$. Wedding hair – 80$.  Yes, you can cut back on some things. But other things, like feeding people and putting them all in one spot can be expensive no matter what.

And yet, looking at this diagram also made me overwhelmed with appreciation for the people who are enabling James and I get married for WAY under the “average.”  James’ mother is making our cake, and I have eaten enough of her cooking to know that it will not only be beautiful, but amazing.  I have an army of the most talented bridesmaids anyone could ask for. One of them is designing and orchestrating the printing of all of our save the dates, invites, programs, fans, etc. Another took our engagement photos, and serves as my multi-purpose wedding planner. Talented friends from college are doing our ceremony music and a longtime friend is not only acting as dj at the reception, but is also camping out at the outdoor venue the night before so that no one ruins our decorations. Looking at this diagram makes me experience afresh waves of gratitude that the community that has been a part of our lives, will be a part of our wedding day.

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8 Responses to The price of a wedding

  1. Jordan says:

    *newly elevated friend

  2. abby says:

    …I kind of feel like I got a shout-out! I’m sure you’re doing a fabulous job planning and budgeting, and I can’t wait to see it all come together. 🙂

  3. Fran says:

    That diagram makes me break out in hives.

    Who are these people?

    Are they able to afford to live in a home afterward?


    Your wedding is going to be such a beauty. Without spending a million dollars. EVEN BETTER!

    So excited for you, boo!

    • hs87 says:

      James did point out that the figure given includes the cost of the ring, but still….ridiculous!!!!

      Excited to hear that your beautiful day is now in the works as well!!!

  4. Brittney says:

    I did a paper on this in college. THE KNOT LIES. Yes, the “average” wedding cost is high, but the median (a more true value in this case) is about $15,000. 50 weddings costing $15,000 averaged with ONE million dollar wedding makes a $27,000 average, but a $15,000 median. Have hope.

    • hs87 says:

      Actually, I think that it has sadly gone up in the years since we graduated! This one is admittedly too high, but it also includes the cost of the rehearsal dinner and engagement ring, costs usually not figured in by the bride and her family. Without those, it puts the “average” or median at about 21k. We went to a marriage conference and were give the most recent median quote of $19, 581 (excluding honeymoon and ring). This is also usually 50% higher than the budget they set, which shows how things get out of control. Sadly, from what I have heard from many people, I think that is a pretty accurate median (though it shouldn’t and needn’t be!). Ouch.

      Still… the one cost that really blows my mind is the “wedding day transportation costs” — just drive! : )

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