Nobody likes talking about them. But they're such an important part of our lives, and help us plan and make decisions within our means.
A really common question is how much is normal to spend on a wedding.
If you've been to more than one wedding in your life, you probably realize there's going to be a huge range of costs. We've all been to the more "budget-friendly" wedding. My wife and I kept our costs down below the $10,000 mark, and honestly a significant portion of that was "venue" maintenance (I put venue in quotes because we got married at her parent's house, so my mother-in-law had landscaping and a number of other things done). We've probably all been to the wedding that feels like it cost way more than that, too. Open bar, lots of guests, huge venue (maybe even separate venue for reception and ceremony), a party bus for the bridal party, etc. etc. etc.
Talking about money can be hard, but it's important. I talk about that HERE.
But let's look at the costs of weddings currently, and keep in mind that there is no right answer for how much you should spend on your day.
There was a survey done by The Knot, and in Illinois (since that's where we're primarily based) the average cost of a wedding was $39,700! The average for the entire U.S. was $33,900.
You may not live in Illinois, so it's important to know that states with large urban populations (such as Chicago) have generally higher average costs. Utah, for example, had an average of only $19,700.
It's also important to remember that this is an average. So many weddings spent far less. Some undoubtedly spent much more.
The five biggest expenses in the U.S. through 2019 were:
1. The reception venue
2. The cost of the engagement ring
3. The cost of a reception band (NOT a dj)
4. The cost of the photographer
5. The cost for the rehearsal dinner
So these are where you can expect most of your money to be going in your budget.
Without the engagement ring, the next largest expense would be a videographer.
Don't be afraid of talking about your budget with your significant other, and anyone who may be helping with the wedding costs. It can save a lot of stress and sense of failed expectations. And don't be afraid to reach out to your vendors to see what kind of payment plans may exist. Often times they are willing to work with you, because all of us in the industry want your day to be as special as can be.
At the end of the day, there's no answer about how much you should spend on your wedding. Creativity, ingenuity, and a willingness to try something different can be excellent money-savers. The most important thing about your day is that you and your partner are getting married, and there are people coming around you to support you and celebrate that with you. Don't allow yourself to feel like you aren't spending enough, or that your spending too much! Have "the talk" and figure out what YOUR number is, regardless of what others may be doing.