Average Wedding Costs

Average Wedding Costs

Average Wedding Costs

I am wondering where I can find out the estimated cost for the average wedding so I can build a budget. Do you have this info, or could you direct me to the proper resources? Thank you, Dawn.

What IS an average wedding?

First, I’d like to say that “averages” vary widely and are dependent on a number of factors. Whether the variance is caused by age, area, beliefs, up-bringing or something else, it’s an important factor to consider. Averages (and statistics, studies, etc) can be collected in numerous ways and that too reflects a factor that you should consider when using them as a basis for your own budget. Personal experience, polls, questionnaires, a segment of the population participating are all ways in which these “averages” can be collected.

Having said that when trying to figure out Average Wedding Costs ..the statistics that I’ve collected over the years reflect two main things:

  • Budgets that have been sent to me by couples as well as statistics that I have read (in bridal magazines, books, etc.). The ones that I’ll share with you have slight differences than some that I’ve seen on the web and other media sources. All figures are for US weddings. I’ll explain those that need explanation.

Average Wedding Costs:

  • The average cost of a wedding in the United States is between $19,000-$20,000. This is slightly higher than most averages I’ve seen and may be because I get more mail from couples that live in larger cities where costs are higher.
  • The average cost of a veil (headpiece) for a bride in the US is $150.00. The price of veils has risen in the past five or so years and this figure is based on a brides who make their own as well as brides who buy their veil.
  • Average officiant’s (judge/priest/etc) fee-$100.00. This has gone up steadily (about every year) and at this writing fees range from $50 to $150…though it can be less or more depending on area.
  • Average cost of a wedding gown in the US- $800.00. This is slightly lower than the averages I’ve seen and takes into account outlet store, thrift shop, seamstress made, made by hand, retail and borrowed (alteration costs) dresses.
  • Average price of tuxedo rental- $75.00. This includes shoe rental and tuxedo rentals generally range from $45.00-$100.00 depending on area. This has been pretty consistent and I found the same “average” in files as far back as 1991.

There are sources on the web which will give you a more detailed list of averages. One of the most extensive is located on a page called Wedding Budget Planner and it lists averages item by item. Washington Wedding Net has a few pages that may be of interest: a statistics page (for Washington weddings I assume), an article titled “PUTTING A PRICE ON HAPPINESS; Wedding Costs Can Vary Widely, So Setting Priorities Is Crucial”–and finally an article on Cost Conscious Couples.

If you’d like to pursue other avenues for finding out average wedding costs, your local library can be an invaluable source…as can books. Whether you find a copy of “Bridal Bargains” by Denise and Alan Fields, a book on the most current Census statistics (US) or a bridal magazine…there are many sources that can yield the information you’re seeking. As an added bonus, you can also check the index card file for items such as “statistics”, “wedding”, etc. to find even more information.

Another option is to use the search engines to your advantage. My favorite is Open Text, because you have the option of using an exact phrase (such as “wedding expenses”, “wedding budgets” or “wedding statistics”). Another search function that might be helpful is DejaNews which allows you to search newsgroup postings…two to try would be “alt.wedding average costs” and “soc.couples.wedding average costs”. Other search engines include Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

With all of these resources, you’ll find that the “average wedding costs” are often contradictory. Once again, this is due to differences, whether they be in area or in compilation of data. While it’s certainly possible that your wedding will be exactly in line with the averages…it’s more likely that it won’t. Your wedding—whether it is less than, the same as or more than the averages—will be unique in the fact that it will reflect you and your partner, your tastes and ideals…and just as important…your very own set of averages.


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