Wedding Expenses Couples Don't Regret Splurging On

Couples share which wedding pros and day-of details were definitely worth the splurge.
by Maggie Seaver

It can be tricky to nail down (and agree upon) your wedding budget priorities. Where to splurge and where to save? Should you go crazy on food and flowers or the band and the party bus? For The Knot 2017 Real Wedding Study, we polled nearly 13,000 recently married couples to find out how they allotted their budgets, how many pros they hired and where they may have spent over budget (and if so, whether or not it was worth it).

As for wedding pros, couples across the US hire and trust an average of eight wedding vendors to pull off their day. The most commonly hired professional vendors include a photographer (87 percent), reception venue (86 percent), ceremony site (79 percent), hairstylist (75 percent), florist (68 percent), makeup artist (68 percent), cake baker (67 percent) and DJ (66 percent).

Even pros like wedding planners and videographers, which aren’t quite as ubiquitous as photographers or florists, have still seen a huge increase in popularity since our first Real Weddings Study back in 2009: 28 percent of couples now hire planners (versus 19 percent in 2009), and 35 percent of couples hire videographers (up from 26 percent in 2009).

Now for the fun part. While every pro you hire will be worth it (who else can make your day your day?), here’s where couples spent more than they expected to suit their style and vision—and why they wouldn’t change a thing.

The Wedding Dress

“I doubled my wedding dress budget. My mom wanted to buy my wedding dress and had a budget of $3,000. I ended up trying on [one] and fell in love—after alterations it was between $5,000 and $6,000.”

“My dress! [It was a] beautiful, over-the-top gown with all the trimmings—a cathedral veil, clutch, shoes, headpiece, earrings, beaded wrap and garter set. It was dreamy.”


“We originally weren’t going to hire a videographer and photographer, but everyone told us to hire a videographer because they all regretted not having one at their wedding.”

“Hiring the videographer was our biggest splurge, since it wasn't absolutely necessary. That being said, it turned out to be one of our best decisions and we are so happy we did it.”


“The flowers I wanted cost almost double my budget.”

Venue, Food and Drink

“[We splurged on] an absolutely incredible ceremony and reception venue overlooking the Atlantic in Maine.”

“[We splurged on] food and alcohol. We wanted our guests to truly enjoy the experience and have quality food and beverages.”

“Our top splurge was probably the alcohol. We wanted people to party and have a good time!”

That Extra Something

“We had a carriage ride as we left the reception venue at our destination wedding ceremony.”

Find the right local pros to bring your wedding day to life on The Knot Marketplace.

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