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National Average Cost of a Wedding


Photo Credit: The Knot 

Photo Credit: The Knot 

Every year, The Knot conducts a survey to discover exactly what couples are splurging on for their wedding as well as some of the trends real couples are creating. According to The Knot, and the 18,000 couples they surveyed in 2015, the national average cost of a wedding is $32,641. *Please note this is not a standard, it is just what The Knot found to be the national average. The prices depend on the region you are getting married in as well as the different vendors you choose for your wedding day*

The wedding mogul studied nearly 18,000 couples planning their weddings to find not only the national averages but other statistics as well.  This real weddings study found that the most expensive location to get married in is Manhattan, NY with the average amount spent on a wedding equaling $82,299 with the least expensive place to wed is Alaska with $17,361 as the average (no surprises there).  The national average marrying age of a bride is 29 years of age while a groom is 31 years old. The most popular month to get engaged is in December (hello, two holidays! Let’s get original guys) with an average engagement of 14.5 months.

Not only did the study find averages but also what some of the most commonly chosen wedding colors, but also the most common number of groomsmen and bridesmaids. What would you think is the most chosen color for weddings? If you guessed Ivory or white, you would be correct! Out of the 18,000 couples surveyed, 47% of them said the bright color was part of their color palette. Ivory was followed by blue (39%), metallics (34%), pink (30%), and purple (21%).  However, metallic gold has grown increasingly popular jumping from 7% in 2012 to 22% in 2015. The Knot also discovered that the common number of bridesmaids and groomsmen standing beside the bride and groom was five for 2015.

Photo Credit: The Knot 

Photo Credit: The Knot 

The Knot’s research discovered that couples are inviting fewer guests but are spending more on their guest’s experience resulting in an increase in price to $237 per guest. This high cost could be due to the custom guest entertainment. Adding personal touches to the wedding reflects the couples’ personalities and guest experience which has more than tripled from 11% to 36%. Activities can include a cigar rolling station, wine or liquor tasting, s’mores dessert bar, and even a live dance performance. Other personal touches like signature cocktails also offer a unique guest experience.  In 2008 only 12% of couples were offering signature cocktails and the percentage has almost doubled in 2015 to 22%.

Typically, the summer months have been defined as “wedding season” (again, depends on where you chose to get married). However, fall weddings are becoming increasingly popular. In 2015, 33% of couples chose summer nuptials, a decrease from 2014’s 39%. The autumn season has been making headway with 39% of couples saying “I Do” in September (15%), October (17%), and November (7%) which is an increase from 31% in 2014.

Photo Credit: The Knot 

Photo Credit: The Knot 

Looking at the national averages, there may be a few ways to cut down the price of your wedding. The day of the week can determine the cost of the venue as well as what other vendors may charge. Saturdays are the obvious and most common day of the week chosen for a wedding hence the price increase. To lower the venue cost, consider a Friday wedding or even a Sunday.  A reception band and a reception DJ will vary in price. Ask potential DJ’s and bands if they can offer you ceremony music as well to potentially cut down on costs of having to hire musicians for the wedding ceremony. In The Knot’s 2015 study, one in three couples hired a videographer. Maybe forego the videographer if you are on a tight budget.  However, the videos that are produced are intimate moments that you will always be able to cherish and share by video. 66% of couples did not hire a videographer on their wedding day in 2015, if you did not hire one, the majority of marrying couples would agree with you. To nix the ceremony site fee, choose a wedding venue that has a ceremony site as well as a reception venue on the property. Once again, depending on certain venues, they may have a higher rate for the use of the ceremony and reception site but many venues, like Ma Maison, do not charge extra for the use the ceremony site as well as the reception space.  The high rate of $273 per guest for catering can be attributed to many factors. The extra activates like the previously mentioned whiskey tasting bar will force your caterer to hire another bartender to facilitate the bar causing the price per guest to increase. You may have also been dreaming of having a specialty mac’n cheese station at your wedding reception but stations are one of the most expensive food services you can choose. Instead of stations, choose family style or a plated dinner reception to reduce the cost. The alcohol package you choose will also contribute to the cost per guest. If you know your guests are not top shelf alcohol drinkers, you may not want to choose the platinum bar package and instead select a silver or gold bar package. There are a variety of ways to cut down on prices as previously mentioned to help keep the average wedding costs down.

Were you surprised by any national averages? Did you find any categories to be inaccurate? Did you fit into any of the national average categories (i.e. wedding colors, wedding month, or dollars spent)? Do you think the averages for 2016 will be higher? What financial trends are you expecting to see for the upcoming year? Was The Knot’s study helpful to you?


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