Weddings are a vital part of human culture around the world. In the United States, weddings are the most expensive of any country on earth. The average cost of a wedding in the US varies from state to state, but the overall average is high enough to require a proper wedding budget to cover all expenses.
The Cost of Weddings in the US
In 2020, the average cost of a wedding in the US was $20,300. That figure represents a drop of $4,400 from the year before. 2020 is considered an anomaly because the main reasons why the cost dropped were due to the COVID pandemic which swept around the world. Because of the pandemic, weddings were held in smaller venues to limit the size of the crowd.
By 2021, the average cost of a wedding soared back up to $27,100. There are several factors as to why the average cost went up. Pent-up demand from weddings being delayed from the previous year meant fewer venues were available. Add to this, vendors raising their costs to recuperate from the previous year, rising inflation, and more.
As you can see from the graph, the average cost of a wedding in the US was roughly the same in 2017, 2018, and 2019. The subsequent drop in 2020 and how it bounced back in 2021 are the results of unusual events in the form of the pandemic.
How to Plan Your Wedding Budget
The main area in figuring out how much a wedding cost in the US is based on the venue and the catering. This comprises more than 50% of the overall cost. For couples looking to create a realistic wedding budget, where you have your wedding and who you choose for catering will be the biggest expenses.
This is followed by the engagement ring which averages around $5,204, although that price varies considerably depending on the type of ring and where it is purchased. After the ring is the reception band, photographer, and florist or décor for the event.
But how much is the overall cost of a wedding? That depends on where in the US you decide to hold it.
The Cost of Weddings Per State
However, understanding how much a wedding cost in your area means focusing on individual states. The overall average across the US represents the middle ground. Weddings held along the east coast and in urban areas tend to be more expensive. Apart from California and Hawaii, the top 10 most expensive states to get married are east of the Mississippi River.
The most expensive state in 2020 to get married was Massachusetts which came in at $30,489 while Arkansas was the least expensive at $12,426. However, when broken down by cities, the most expensive urban area to get married becomes the San Francisco/Oakland area where the average for 2020 was $33,679. While the least expensive for a large, urban area was the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater metro in Florida which came in at $20,044.
How much a wedding costs will depend on your location, what you choose as your venue, and other factors that you will need to calculate for your wedding budget.