The National Average Cost of a Wedding Hits $35,329

We polled nearly 13,000 brides and grooms who married in 2016 for The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Study and learned that they’re splurging on total personalization and creating the ultimate guest experience.
by Maggie Seaver
Bride and groom exiting their outdoor wedding ceremony
Julia Wade Photography

We just released the 10th annual The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Study, and that means it’s time to talk wedding costs and spending trends. After surveying nearly 13,000 real brides and grooms across America, we found that the overall cost of a wedding has soared to new heights, with a national average of $35,329 (and that’s not including the honeymoon).

The Knot started tracking the average cost of a wedding in 2006, and 10 years later that amount has hit an all-time high. Since just last year’s survey, which revealed a national average of $32,641, the average cost of a wedding has increased by $2,688 (a bigger jump than that from 2014 to 2015, a $1,428 difference).

But remember, this number is still an average, which means, depending on where you choose to wed, your wedding bill could be higher or lower. Tying the knot in, say, Manhattan could cost an average of $78,464, while an Arkansas wedding will average at $19,522.

So what trends and habits are causing this drastic leap in wedding spending? Couples today have total personalization and unforgettable guest experiences top of mind. Interestingly, that doesn’t mean a larger head count. In fact, the average number of wedding guests has decreased to 141, down from 149 in 2009, while the average cost per guest has increased to $245, up from $194 in 2009.

With to-be-weds now shelling out more money per guest, they’re more excited than ever to create the ultimate guest experience complete with out-of-the-box entertainment and exceptional amenities, including everything from food trucks, lawn games and photo booths (which aren’t going anywhere any time soon) to aerialists, gospel choirs and live portrait artists. (Read on, right here, for a full forecast of the hottest wedding trends for 2017.) We’ve also seen an overall increase in spending across all reception categories in 2016, including catering, cake, flowers, photographer, entertainment and the venue itself.

Here’s how much, on average, a wedding costs in each state across the US:

The Knot Real Weddings Study 2016 infographic

And here's full a breakdown of how couples are allotting their budgets:

The Knot Real Weddings Study 2016 infographic

Not sure where to begin with your wedding planning? Take our Style Quiz and we'll pull together a custom wedding vision just for you.

Up Next
Your Wedding Budget Calculator - The Knot
Use The Knot’s personalized wedding budget calculator to track wedding costs. Follow a checklist with a breakdown of your budget to make planning a wedding on a budget easier.