How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost, According to Data?

Though the final cost depends on many factors, the data reveals key benchmark figures.
Average wedding cost collage of wedding couple, money, calculator
Photos: Annie Piland Photography, Getty / Design: Tiana Crispino
kim forrest the knot
by
Kim Forrest
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
Senior Editor
  • Kim writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in etiquette and planning advice
  • Kim manages freelance writers for The Knot Worldwide
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Kim was Associate Bridal Editor at Washingtonian magazine and Associate Fashion Editor at Conde Nast’s Brides Local magazines
Updated Feb 19, 2024

So, how much do weddings cost? Every year, The Knot Real Weddings Study reveals the average wedding cost and more official data relating to the price of weddings across the United States. Nearly 10,000 couples across the country participated in the study for 2023 and shared details on what wedding planning looks like right now.

It's true, weddings are an expensive celebration–the national average cost of a wedding in 2023 was $35,000, which is a $5,000 increase from last year's national average. You might be wondering what led to this increase. Notably, nationwide inflation in 2022 led to an increase in the cost of many goods and services in the wedding industry which affected an overall increase in total wedding expenses.

It's hard not to feel the effects of inflation. 85% of survey respondents said they have been affected (or anticipate being affected) by the economy as they're wedding planning. This is where talented wedding pros, like the ones you can find on The Knot Vendor Marketplace, come into play. On average, our data shows that couples hire 14 vendors in total. Notably, couples are increasingly investing in wedding planners (37% hired a wedding planner in 2023, up from 30% in 2019). A wedding planner can help couples prioritize their wedding funds efficiently to maximize overall spending. (Pro Tip: You can also use The Knot Budgeter to track your expenses).

To better understand how much weddings cost, we spoke with two expert wedding planners to get their insight. Below, Terrica, a renowned business coach and the owner of Georgia-based Cocktails & Details, and Jennifer Price, owner of Illinois-based Event Shoppe Chicago (a recipient of The Knot Best of Weddings Award), dig into the data regarding how much a wedding costs and offer their advice on how to plan effectively. After all, "no one has a better finger on the pulse or economics than a planner," says Price.

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Average Wedding Cost by State

So you're probably wondering—how does this nationwide data affect my wedding budget? The cost of your wedding will likely depend on a variety of factors, including the number of guests, number of vendors hired, style and, perhaps most significantly, where your big day takes place. Throwing a wedding in a densely populated, expensive destination (a big city like New York City, San Francisco or Chicago, for example) costs more than it does in a smaller or less populated location (such as Idaho, West Virginia or Wyoming). As Terrica explains, "The cost of living, sourcing, shipping, etc. will greatly vary by state. Additionally, states may also have different labor laws that may also affect pricing." All of these factors will ultimately impact the amount you spend on a wedding.

To get a better idea of what you can expect to spend in your chosen wedding destination, see our list of average wedding costs in the US by state (excluding Alaska and Hawaii), below. Note that this is just the cost of the ceremony and reception, and doesn't include the engagement ring, which costs $5,500, on average.

How Much Does a Wedding Cost?
Design: Tiana Crispino

Alabama: $34,000 Alaska: Unavailable
Arizona: $32,000 Arkansas: $25,000
California: $41,000 Colorado: $34,000
Connecticut: $44,000 Delaware: $39,000
DC: $42,000 Florida: $34,000
Georgia: $30,000 Hawaii: Unavailable
Idaho: $20,000 Illinois: $39,000
Indiana: $26,000 Iowa: $24,000
Kansas: $25,000 Kentucky: $20,000
Louisiana: $37,000 Maine: $44,000
Maryland: $39,000 Massachusetts: $42,000
Michigan: $29,000 Minnesota: $31,000
Mississippi: $33,000 Missouri: $27,000
Montana: $20,000 Nebraska: $22,000
Nevada: $21,000 New Hampshire: $44,000
New Jersey: $55,000 New Mexico: $26,000
New York: $49,000 North Carolina: $31,000
North Dakota: $22,000 Ohio: $30,000
Oklahoma: $25,000 Oregon: $30,000
Pennsylvania: $38,000 Rhode Island: $44,000
South Carolina: $39,000 South Dakota: $23,000
Tennessee: $28,000 Texas: $32,000
Utah: $17,000 Vermont: $44,000
Virginia: $38,000 Washington: $30,000
West Virginia: $36,000 Wisconsin: $29,000
Wyoming: $26,000

Maybe you haven't yet decided on a state, but you know the general part of the country where you'd like to get married. Here is a look at the average wedding cost by region of the US:

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  • Average cost for wedding in New England: $43,200
  • Average cost for wedding in the Mid-Atlantic: $45,600
  • Average cost for wedding in the Midwest: $29,600
  • Average cost for wedding in the Southeast: $32,800
  • Average cost for wedding in the Southwest: $30,500
  • Average cost for wedding in the West: $33,700

In addition to looking at the average cost of a wedding broken down by state and region, there is another geographic factor to consider. Is your wedding site local or will you be traveling? If you're considering a destination wedding, it's worth noting that these events tend to be slightly more expensive than hometown events. While destination weddings tend to be smaller than hometown weddings, the cost of travel, accommodations and other expenses can drive up the budget.

  • Average cost for domestic destination wedding: $43,300
  • Average cost for international destination wedding: $42,000
  • Average cost for hometown wedding: $33,300

How Much Does a Wedding Cost By Vendor?

The number of vendors hired is one of the most important factors in determining the total cost of a wedding. According to our data, couples hired 14 wedding vendors on average, which is on par with pre-pandemic data. And of course, how much wedding venues and pros charge varies—a lot. It's always best to research wedding vendors near you and ask them about their specific rates (and what those rates include). An internal study found out exactly what couples spent on different wedding vendors last year on average. See the average cost of wedding vendors below:

    Average Wedding Cost By Number of Guests

    One of the biggest factors in determining how much you'll spend on your wedding is your guest list. It goes without saying, but the more people you invite, the more you'll spend. How much does a 100-person wedding cost? Typically, less than the cost of a 200-person wedding.

    In 2023, the average guest count was 115. Interestingly, this number is down slightly from 117 in 2022. However, the cost per guest has increased from $256 in 2022 to $304 in 2023. What does that tell us? Couples care more than ever about creating a meaningful guest experience for loved ones. "Couples are seeking more connection and quality with their guests over quantity," explains Terrica. "This means more custom, intentional details, thoughtful interactions as well as giving guests an experience they may have not had before."

    If you're looking to cut down on wedding expenses, trimming your guest list is a good place to start as that will bring down the amount you need to spend on variable costs. However, it's important to note that not all wedding expenses are variable. Some expenses are fixed (meaning they will cost the same for a 100-person wedding and for a 200-person wedding). "A DJ's or photographer's costs will be the same regardless of the number of guests you have, whereas a caterer, cake or rental pro will not," says Terrica. Keep in mind that even within variable costs, there is a lot of room for customization and cost differences. Price explains that "a five-course tapas-style meal for 60 people won't cost the same as a plain chicken dinner for 125 guests."

    Here are some helpful statistics that show how guest count affects the average cost of a wedding in the United States:

    • How much does a wedding with 1-50 guests cost on average?: $16,700
    • How much does a wedding with 50-100 guests cost on average?: $28,300
    • How much does a 150-person wedding cost on average?: $45,600
    • How much does a 200-person wedding cost on average?: $60,800

    Additional Average Wedding Cost Factors

    In addition to location and guest count, a few other factors have a major impact on the overall cost of a wedding. Terrica explains that "average numbers should be looked at as starting rates. There are so many factors that go into the cost of any wedding such as the guest count, number and types of venues, length of the wedding, types of service, number of vendors, etc." So while these numbers help to paint a picture of what you might expect, the final cost will be dependent on how any given couple personalizes their wedding.

    Average Wedding Cost by Generation

    Different generations have different priorities which contributes to changes in how much a wedding costs depending on the generation of the to-be-weds. Notably, small guest lists are a big trend we've seen with Gen Z.

    • Average cost for Gen Z wedding: $25,500
    • Average cost for Millennial wedding: $39,400
    • Average cost for Gen X wedding: $24,300

    Average Wedding Cost by Time of Year

    In the same way that a trip to the beach is going to cost more during the summer than the winter, a wedding that takes place during wedding season will cost more than an off-season wedding.

    • Average cost for January-March wedding: $34,900
    • Average cost for April-June wedding: $33,900
    • Average cost for July-September wedding: $35,600
    • Average cost for October-December wedding: $34,700

    How Has the Cost of Weddings Changed Over the Years?

    The average wedding cost of $35,000 is higher than in past years due to inflation. "The cost of items—such as consumables and hard goods have gone up universally, so for some vendors, performing a service or providing a product may not be as cost-effective as it once was," explains Terrica. "Additionally, providing staff with a livable and competitive wage also plays a role in final costs necessary to produce an event."

    The 2023 average wedding cost is a 25% increase from 2019 ($28,000) and a 16% increase from the 2022 average cost of a wedding ($30,000).

    • Average wedding cost 2023: $35,000
    • Average wedding cost 2022: $30,000
    • Average wedding cost 2021: $28,000
    • Average wedding cost 2020: $19,000
    • Average wedding cost 2019: $28,000

    With the exception of a COVID-related dip in 2020, the average cost of a wedding consistently hovered around $28,000 from 2017 to 2022. In 2016, the average spend on weddings was $29,000, also a time of economic uneasiness and recession. In 2015, couples spent over $2,000 less, averaging $26,800 for their weddings. The average cost of a wedding in 2014 was $25,400.

    What Does This Mean for Weddings in 2024?

    If you're planning a wedding in 2024 and beyond, you're probably wondering what all this means for your upcoming event. Well, it means that you'll likely see higher costs for certain wedding products and services and there may be a few details affected by shortages. That being said, it's absolutely possible to throw the wedding of your dreams during a time of inflation. Here's our best advice for planning a wedding right now:

    Start planning early.

    The earlier you can start to plan, the better. You'll have your pick of venues and wedding pros that fit your budget, rather than scrambling to find someone that works within your desired price range. You'll also be able to lock in prices for certain products and services now, so that even if inflation drives rates up, your contract will stay the same. Additionally, tighter planning timelines mean rush fees and other last-minute charges that drive costs up.

    Set your budget—and leave some wiggle room.

    Sit down with your partner and any financial contributors (family members, etc.) to create a realistic total wedding budget. If possible, reserve 5% of your budget as a "just in case" fund to help avoid overspending (which is very common, btw—more than half of those surveyed went over budget). We also recommend using an online budget tool to keep track of your spending during the planning process.

    List your priorities.

    Terrica advises couples to "know your hierarchy of needs versus wants and find strategic ways to allocate your money in those categories." Price shares similar advice and warns couples against falling victim to "shiny item syndrome"–the desire to say yes to every enticing option presented to you, even if it is outside of your priorities.

    Work with your partner to come up with a wedding mission statement and figure out what's most important. This may be having amazing food and a killer band, or going over the top on flowers and decor. This list of priorities will help you make decisions and decide where to splurge and save as you plan.

    Hire a star vendor team (and a planner!).

    A team of expert wedding pros will help turn your vision into reality—within your budget! In particular, a wedding planner will ensure that you stay on track throughout the planning process and source vendors that are within your price range. Yes, a planner may be an additional expense, but it's well worth it. "A wedding planner can help couples maximize their budgets by finding out what their hierarchy of needs are and identifying cost-saving measures," says Terrica.

    Be flexible.

    With the higher costs and shortages hitting the wedding industry, flexibility is key. Yes, you may be obsessed with peonies but if your florist suggests less-expensive blooms to help you save, be open to the idea. Listening to your vendors and trusting their expertise is especially important right now—remember, they're here to help!

    Hannah Nowack contributed to the reporting of this article.

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