The average wedding now costs $30,000

Anyone close to tying the knot knows that endless details go into a wedding, and none are more important than the budget.

That’s especially important now that the cost of the average wedding in 2023 is now $30,000. But savvy brides and grooms are finding ways to cut those costs and stay within their budget.

A Covington, Ky. business owner, Katie Meckstroth is a wedding planner with Simply Designed Events. She says a combo of pandemic postponed weddings and inflation have made everything from venues, to DJs, to flowers much more expensive.

Couples need to decide where to splurge, and where to trim, Mesckstroth said.

“What is your priority for the day as a couple? Is it food? Is it entertainment? Is it your dress?”

She also said couples should be careful with one of the hottest trends this year: barn weddings. Those can actually be more expensive than a banquet hall or event center.

“At a barn,” she said,” you usually have to rent your own tables and tablecloths, then hire caterers and everything else.”

Wedding planning website Zola recently released its “First Look Report,” where it said the average wedding in 2023 is just over $29,000, up $1,000 from 2022.

Zola says couples spend most on their money on the:

  • Wedding venue: $6,500-$12,000
  • Catering: $6,500-$10,00
  • Band or DJ: $2,000-$7,000

Ted Rossman with Bankrate says couples should always be mindful and stay within their budget.

“You’re just starting your life together,” he said. “You don’t want to be saddled with really expensive credit card debt.”

To save on your big day, Rossman said to be selective about timing.

“A Sunday afternoon wedding as opposed to a Saturday night” is usually cheaper, he said, “or maybe you could do Friday night instead.”

Zola offers these tips based on recent trends:

  • Shop secondhand for wedding attire and decorations.
  • Send out digital save-the-dates, or even invitations, saving several hundred dollars.
  • Include a cash fund in your registry, instead of listing gifts you’ll never use.

Katie Meckstroth’s last tips: Provide only beer and wine, not pricey liquor. Plus, that prevents guests from getting too drunk. And order a small wedding cake for yourselves, providing slices of a sheet cake for everyone else.

“Order a very simple cutting cake,” she said, “Then do a lot of cake from places like Costco.”

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