More Couples Than You Think Go Over Their Wedding Budget (and Here's How Much They Overspend)

If you're shelling out more than you'd initially planned, you're actually in good company. Here's how much the average couple went over on wedding expenses in 2017.
maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
by Maggie Seaver
maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
Maggie Seaver
Wedding Planning Expert
  • Maggie Seaver is an Associate Digital Editor at RealSimple.com.
  • Maggie writes about life, career, health, and more.
  • Maggie was an editor at The Knot from 2015 to 2019.
Updated Mar 19, 2018

Coming up with the right wedding budget for you isn't always the easiest or most glamorous part of planning—but sticking to your number is a whole other ball game. How are you realistically supposed to anticipate every little wedding expense that bubbles up (seemingly out of thin air) on your way to "I do"?

First of all, if you find you're going over your original wedding budget, please don't beat yourself up. You're far from the first couple to do so. After polling nearly 13,000 US couples for The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study, we learned 45 percent spent more than they'd planned by an average of $7,319. Some high spenders even blew past their already lofty limits by over $20,000. Whoa, baby.

Overspending is common enough that we recommend actually planning to go over your budget while making your budget. It's kind of a genius way to beat the system when you think about it: By accounting for extra charges (like weather backup plans, hidden costs, overtime fees, miscellaneous emergencies), you allow yourself a little wiggle room and won't technically end up overspending.

But beyond these often overlooked extras, today's couples continue to put personalization and guest experience first. That means if given the choice to upgrade their welcome baskets, rent an awesome late-night food truck or hire some canine ambassadors to charm the crowd (yes, that's a thing), they're likely to go for it—even if it wasn't part of their original budget plan.

So what's the moral of the story? Be realistic about your budget. Cut where you can (maybe leave your cousin's cousins' significant others off the guest list) and make a little room for unexpected expenses you'll be happy to have saved for down the line.


For more budgeting ideas, see what five real couples splurged on and why.

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