Weddings cost a boatload of money or at least everyone in the wedding industry wants you to pay a boatload. The average cost of an American wedding is $26,000, but I’m sure the median cost is less as there are plenty of people that get married in a courthouse. You are not required to spend a ton on your wedding, but if you want to invite a lot of people then you need to get clever if you don’t want to spend a fortune.
The decision of where to have your wedding is probably the most expensive one. You could have it at the park and it would cost almost nothing whereas a fancy hotel will cost a bunch. The location is broken into two parts, the ceremony and reception. You can have them both at the same place which could save money, but perhaps that place would have to be really big and charge a lot, so splitting it may be cheaper.
We had the ceremony at a church and the reception at a restaurant. This turned out to be cheaper than many of the places which could do both.
Food is probably the next biggest cost of a wedding. You usually pay by the number of people invited and can get over a hundred bucks per head. Ours was cheaper because we had lunch and the venue cost came along with it.
Wedding dresses are really expensive, often over $1,000. Rental tuxedos are also expensive. My wife found an excellent dress that wasn’t technically a wedding dress but looked the part for under $200. Great job. I rented a suit and shoes which cost more than I paid for one in China.
Diamonds and honeymoons
Some will say you should spend several months of salary on an engagement ring, I don’t think that is necessary. I bought all our rings from Blue Nile (used a cashback portal) and was very satisfied. Altogether the engagement and two wedding bands were around $4,000.
Most people go crazy with a $5,000+ honeymoon to Hawaii. We went to Spain which sounds like it would be more expensive, but with a good price for flights it was under $3,000 total. This was before I was into points so I didn’t even get points for the hotel stay!
The total cost for our wedding was $19,950 ($8,000 food + $4,000 alcohol + $1,250 church + $4,000 rings + $600 clothes + $1,600 photographer) excluding honeymoon for 150 people. I am a bit surprised it cost that much because I felt like we got a pretty good deal. Despite the high cost, I do think we managed to keep our costs relatively low for such a large number of people and I don’t see many ways we could have done better with such a nice wedding. I estimated on Cost of Wedding and it returned $42,000, so I feel a bit better. In addition, our reception was at a Lawry’s property so we received 10% back of the bill in gift cards and used $1200 over then next year. Best of luck to anyone planning a wedding, my wife knows it is a lot of work and can be expensive.