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Surprising Truth About The Average Cost Of A Wedding

Average Cost Of Wedding

By Jeffrey House Photograpy


The costs of planning a wedding can be overwhelming to say the least!

When it comes to planning a wedding, most couples share a similar thought - "We have no idea what anything costs!"  A wedding is most likely the largest event you'll ever plan.  There are a lot of details to consider and it's a significant investment.  If you don't understand the "true" costs of planning your wedding, it's almost impossible to do it successfully.  

In this article, we are going to share the average cost of a wedding.  This information comes straight from a leading industry source - The Wedding Report.  However, for couples planning a wedding, I highly recommend visiting!  This is a great resource to help understand the true costs of wedding planning and it's specific to your area.  

The Real Numbers

I took the liberty of doing a little extra research for you.  I compared the "Wedding Report" to "" to see how similar the results would be.  My numbers represent weddings in the Albany, NY area, but the reports are almost identical!

So, are you ready to discover the truth behind what a wedding really costs?

So, what do you think?

Is it what you expected?  You probably aren't surprised by the costs of some details, but almost everyone is surprised about others.

Let's Take A Deeper Look

Many of the details we illustrated are self-explanatory, but others require further explanation.  Let's touch on those details for a moment so we have a better understanding.  

The Wedding Venue

The price of the wedding venue includes a full service sit down dinner, bar fees, location fees, rental fess, a wedding cake, and accessories.  The wedding venue by far the largest investment when it comes to planning a wedding.

Wedding Photography

The price of wedding photography is one of those details that surprises most couples.  The cost of wedding photography includes the time to photograph the wedding, copyright image release, engagement session, album, and a few prints.  

Wedding Attire (Dress & Tuxedo)

The prices for each of these includes the attire and the accessories - veil, shoes, jewelry, etc.


The stationary price accounts for save-the-date cards, wedding invitations, programs, guest book, postage, place cards, and thank you cards.  


The cost of flowers included corsages, boutonnieres, bouquets, event decorations, event flowers, centerpeices, flower girl, and petals.  

6 Common Wedding Planning Mistakes

It's very difficult, if not impossible, to plan a wedding perfectly.  There are too many moving parts for something not to go wrong.  This isn't meant to discourage you, but rather help you understand some of the steps you can take to mitigate potential big issues!  

Let's take a look at 6 common mistakes to avoid.

1.  Inviting Too Many Guests

According to, the average wedding will have between 125-150 guests.  Each of these guests will cost you approximately $200-$250 per head.  The quickest and easiest way to save money on your wedding is to limit the guest count.  I know this can be easier said than done, but here a few key points to remember.

One, don't invite anyone you feel obligated to invite.  Most couples experience this pressure when creating their guest list, but there are gently ways around it.  Let them know how much you appreciate their support, but your budget is unfortunately restricting how many guests you can invite.

Second, parents often have their own agenda when it comes to the guest list and often times it includes people you haven't seen in years.  You can delicately establish a few guidelines in this situation - If you haven't seen someone in at least 6 months, they don't receive an invite.  

2.  Trying To Personalize Every Detail

Many couples turn to the internet to help them plan their wedding.  Many of the sites you visit will talk a lot about "personalizing" your wedding to create an amazing experience.  

It's very easy to envision this magical wedding and get caught up in making every detail personalized. But remember, personalizing everything is going to make everything much more expensive.  Select a few details that are important to you and focus on personalizing them.  This will allow you to add unique touches to your wedding, but it won't send your expenses through the roof!

3.  Cutting Costs In The Wrong Places

Planning a wedding is an eye opening experience and when couples start to feel overwhelmed by the costs, they often make decisions they later regret.

For example, one of the first places couples usually turn to "cut expenses" is their wedding photography, DJ, and videographer.

Wedding professionals can literally make or break your big day.  

There have been many couples that spent $5,000 on their flowers, but they refuse to hire a professional DJ or they won't spend more than $1,500 on their wedding photography.

This isn't to say flowers aren't important - They are beautiful and add to the ambiance of your wedding, but at the end of the day all your left with is wilted flowers.  

Your wedding photographs and video will stand the test of time.  They are something you can, and will, cherish forever!  They are something you can share with your children and grandchildren, and they will love having this story that makes up part of their family history.  

What about your DJ?  Like your flowers, they are only part of the wedding day, right?  They don't give you anything that can be treasured for the next 50 years.  Well, yes and no.  A DJ plays a significant role in the success of your wedding.  Your wedding reception is just as much an experience for your guests as it is you.  A good DJ can ensure you reception is an amazing experience - They understand how to "read" crowds and they use different tactics to keep them engaged.  The last thing any couple wants is to spend $20,000 on their wedding venue and watch as their guests run for the door after they cut the cake.  Great DJ's have the party going all night and believe me, this makes for awesome photos!

4.  Having A Bridal Party That's Too Large

Choosing your bridal party is not a decision to be taken lightly.  This may not seem like a big deal, but before you ask anyone to be part of your wedding party, it's vital to define your expectations.  In other words, what will you ultimately expect from the people that agree to be in the bridal party?  

When asking someone to be part of the wedding party, clearly communicate your expectations and give them a few days to think it over.  Make sure they understand there will not be any hard feelings if they decide to decline.  

Like the guest list, don't ask anyone because you feel obligated to ask them.  Ask only those people that understand your expectations, are truly happy for you, and support your marriage 100%!  Many brides have included a "jealous" friend - The friend that is jealous because you're getting married first or because your having a more expensive wedding.  

As a general rule, 3-4 people per side in your bridal party works well.  If you're having a large wedding (i.e. 200 or more guests), you could bump it up to 5-6 people per side.  Keep in mind, larger bridal parties typically equal more drama - This is especially true when it comes to choosing your bridesmaids dresses.  With a larger party, it's more likely someone isn't going to like the color, the style, etc.  

Smaller wedding parties also saves money on your budget.  It's customary to purchase a gift for each member of the bridal party as a "thank you" for their participation.  You could easily save several hundred dollars simply by limiting the size of your wedding party.

5.  Forgetting About The Accessories

When developing your wedding budget, don't forget about the accessories.  This is especially true when it comes to the purchase of your wedding dress.  Brides will often work-up a budget and determine they have $2,000 for a wedding dress.  The pick out their dress and realize they still need to purchase the accessories - The veil, headpiece, jewelry, shoes, etc.  Before you realize it, you're $500 over budget!  

6.  Forgetting Taxes & Gratuity

Practically every purchase you need to make for your wedding is subject to taxes.  And it's customary, on many details, to include a gratuity - Like the wedding venue for example.  While it's not required, many couples also include gratuities for their wedding professionals too.  Depending on the exact details of your wedding, taxes and gratuities can easily reach a couple thousand dollars.

Final Thought

Hopefully, after reading this article, you have a better understanding of the true costs associated with planning a wedding.  And hopefully, we've given you some helpful tips so you can better plan your own wedding.  

While planning a wedding can be stressful, do your best to enjoy it.  This is a great time in your life and you're want to look back with fond memories.