The Average Wedding Cost in NYC May Surprise You

Experts dish on what you'll spend to wed in the Empire City.
New York City, average wedding cost in NYC
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Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
by
Hannah Nowack
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
Hannah Nowack
Senior Editor
  • Hannah writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a focus on real wedding coverage.
  • Hannah has a passion for DE&I and plays an integral role in ensuring The Knot content highlights all voices and all love stories.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Hannah was the Social Media Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings.
Updated May 20, 2024

As soon as you settle on a wedding in the Big Apple you're going to want to know the answer to this question: What is the average wedding cost NYC couples can expect to face for their wedding? New York City happens to be one of the most expensive places to get married in the US, according to The Knot 2023 Real Weddings Study.

But don't fret, we tapped experienced NYC wedding planners to get their insight on current wedding planning advice. Amy Lynn Parmar is the owner of Poppy and Lynn; the expert founded her company in 2018 and focuses on weddings in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Sheavonne Harris is the owner of Events by Sheavonne; the pro boasts more than 22 years of experience planning NYC weddings. Below, they dive into unique cost considerations that come with planning a wedding in the Concrete Jungle along with ways to save without sacrificing your wedding style.

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Average Wedding Cost in NYC

"Believe it or not, there is a high price tag for the NYC skyline view as your wedding backdrop," says expert Sheavonne Harris. The average cost of a wedding in New York City in 2023 was $63,000 for the ceremony and reception (with another $6,900 allocated, on average, to buying an engagement ring). That is roughly 80% more expensive than the national average cost of a wedding in 2023 ($35,000). Overall, this is to be expected as the cost of living is generally said to be around 69%–80% higher than the national average, depending on which financial resource you consult.

While costs in NYC are higher than in other parts of the US, they're that way for good reason: New York City is an amazing destination for a wedding. After all, Alicia Keys and Jay-Z famously described NYC as the "concrete jungle where dreams are made of; there's nothin' you can't do."

NYC Wedding Cost Allocation

While our study found that the cost of a wedding in NYC is 80% higher than average, we found that the average household income of our respondents was only around 40% higher than average. Additionally, we found that 52% of NYC to-be-weds went over budget in New York City. Why am I sharing this startling information? Because it's all the proof you need that hiring a planner to help create your wedding budget breakdown and ensure your spend efficiently should be a top priority.

A talented wedding planner will be able to help you adjust your budget based on your priorities. They'll also be able to help you source the best vendors for your wedding. Our data found that NYC nearlyweds hire 15 vendors on average (7% more than our national average). Working with a trusted expert to source, vet and book those pros is the best way to ensure you end up with a talented team you can rely on.

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NYC Wedding Staffing and Delivery Fees

Expert Amy Lynn Parmar sheds some light on a contributing factor to NYC's higher-than-average wedding costs: operating expenses. "Naturally, NYC is an expensive place, but a lot of that has to do with the cost of operating in a city like this. With more expenses for business owners, the cost of services goes up. Everything is smaller, more crowded, and at a premium," says the pro. Harris concurs, emphasizing that the operating costs for vendors has risen especially since the pandemic, with many pros raising their prices 10 to 25%. "This was not a decision made lightly; it was a necessity. Unfortunately, rates are expected to keep rising," admits the pro.

Notably parking and loading spaces are tight and hard to come by in NYC, which means vendors (like florists and rental companies) will have a harder time delivering and loading in their goods for the wedding. Parmar shares that this contributes to "either higher priced delivery fees or higher labor fees in order to have enough hands to do the job in the amount of time given."

NYC Wedding Venue Cost

Not only is it harder to access venues in New York, but many NYC wedding venues are smaller than average. "Space is limited in the city. There are fewer options for high guest counts and those that exist will come at a premium. There are way more spaces that can fit under 100 guests than spaces that can fit over 200," says Parmar. The pro emphasizes that lowering your guest count can help in two ways: increasing your available options and decreasing your budget.

NYC Wedding Catering Cost

NYC catering companies, in particular, face unique challenges that can contribute to the cost of wedding catering. Parmar explains that "catering companies typically have to build out a kitchen since a lot of venues are spaces that have been transformed into event spaces, and do not have traditional equipment."

Ultimately, Harris encourages to-be-weds to "be flexible! Stand strong on the categories that are important to you, but also be prepared to pay for them."

Average Number of Wedding Guests in NYC

There are few things that New Yorkers love more than an excuse to have a lively night on the town. As such, it should come as no surprise that New Yorkers invite more people to their weddings than the rest of the country. So while it might be a tricky task to find a venue to house these folks, we found that the average wedding guest count for NYC weddings in 2023 was 121 (compared to 115 nationally). Additionally, the average cost per wedding guest for a NYC wedding was $520 (compared to $304 nationwide). In short, New Yorkers want to party with lots of friends while ensuring the event is a memorable experience for guests.

What Does This Mean for NYC Weddings in 2024?

There's a reason that iconic parties, from the New Year's Eve Times Square ball drop to The Met Gala, take place in New York—it's an epic place to party. So while a NYC wedding may cost more than elsewhere in the US, it's an investment that you won't soon forget. "You also are getting married in a city full of some of the most talented, well-connected people in the world," emphasizes Parmar. "The talent and quality of service you are getting is top notch simply because this city weeds out those that can't meet the standards. It's a tough city and the people who work here are even tougher!"

Flexibility and prioritization is the key to pulling off the perfect NYC wedding. As Parmar notes, "don't feel like you have to conform to the 'standard rules' of weddings—NYC is meant for rule breakers and can provide so many cool alternatives and new definitions of what a wedding can look like. Don't be afraid to look outside the box and utilize this city to the fullest."

Harris encourages nearlyweds to start out by having an "honest discussion with yourself and those who are financially supporting your wedding" to align on priorities before diving into planning.

Specifically, when considering your NYC wedding, consider non-Manhattan venues as well as an off-peak wedding month or day of the week. "Look into off-peak months at venues as well as weekday weddings," advises Parmar. "New Yorkers can party any day of the week and any time of year—don't feel confined to just Saturdays."

Something else I also like to mention is don't be afraid of the other boroughs! Manhattan may be what you see in the movies, but a lot of great hidden gem venues are located in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and even across the river in Jersey City. If you play your cards right, you can get dreamy skyline views of Manhattan from your venue for a fraction of the cost of what a Manhattan venue may come in at.

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