Getting Hitched or Going Broke? The Cost of a Wedding Is Up 81%

A lot has changed in the wedding industry over the last decade, but one of the biggest differences has to be that the average cost of a wedding has gone from $16,000 to $28,000.

That’s according to a new report marking the 10th anniversary of;  The Evolution of Weddings: A 10 Year Comparison notes that the cost of the ceremony and reception has jumped 81% over the last 10 years.




“Today, it’s more important to a couple to give their guests a fun and memorable experience, so couples are spending more money on the food served, entertainment, and other details their guests will interact with,” says WeddingWire Trend Expert Anne Chertoff.

Chertoff notes that some of those additional expenses are popping up in the form of photo booths, food stations, dessert buffets, food trucks, and welcome gifts. This could explain why the average spend per guest has gone up almost $100, from $145 per guest in 2007 to $240 per guest today.

Wanting to stand out costs couples money in other ways as well. “Couples are searching out unique venues for their wedding ceremony and reception. This is all attributed to the couple wanting a wedding that is personal to them and reflects their likes, personalities, and style,” Chertoff says.

“Fewer couples are choosing a house of worship, and are opting for industrial spaces, lofts, and barns—where they have to rent everything from tables and chairs, to china, flatware, and linens,” Chertoff continues.

Other things that are blowing up the budget and driving up the average cost of a wedding?

  • The average spend for an engagement ring has nearly doubled, from $2,600 to $5,000.
  • Almost two-thirds of couples are now taking engagement photos, up from just over one-third.
  • More than 30% of couples are hiring a wedding planner, compared with 11% a decade ago.
  • Four times as many couples are choosing to travel out of state for their bachelor or bachelorette party.

Of course, social media has had a huge impact on wedding planning—and therefore wedding costs.

“Brides and grooms have access to so much more wedding imagery from wedding sites, such as WeddingWire, and social media (Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook). Many of these outlets didn’t even exist 10 years ago,” Chertoff says.”And, thanks to the internet, it’s super easy to discover vendors [that can] turn those images into reality for their wedding day.”