How Much Does It Really Cost to Get Married?

By: Jilly Pretzel

Everyone knows weddings can get pricey, but how much should it cost? Between the catering, the flowers, and the venue, you’ve probably heard horror stories of all those numbers adding up to the price of a down payment on a house—and a nice house at that.

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Then again, some thrifty couples claim big savings on their wedding. They cut corners in creative ways and come away with their bank account almost completely intact.

So, how much does a wedding really cost? A study hosted by The Knot in 2018 found that the national average cost of a wedding was $33,391. Here’s a breakdown of some of the priciest parts of a wedding and opportunities to save.

Wedding Dress (Average: $1,509)

Though the national average sits at 1.5 thousand, dresses can certainly go for a lot more. It’s not unusual to find five or ten thousand-dollar gowns as you browse the racks.

While these numbers might sound scary, know that you can avoid those prices with some smart shopping. Know that dresses from different shops will have different price tags, so if you’re looking to stay in budget, skip the boutiques with the fancy decor and the free champagne, and go for the more inconspicuous spots. They often have the same dresses (or similar ones) at lower prices.

Start saving for your big day with NKBC Learn more

Venue/Ceremony Site (Average: $15,163/$2,311)

When it comes to venues, be sure to shop around, and when need be, get creative. Look at various styles of venues and at different areas in your city. Prices can change drastically depending on the look and location. Then, think outside the box.

Some places that are not typically used as a wedding venue might give you a better price than the more traditional venues. Look into parks, museums, and libraries. You could end up with a great deal and a unique wedding.

Flowers (Average: $2,379)

Lots of florists have wedding minimums—for example, some require their customers to spend at least $3,000 on their wedding. If you know you want a good number of floral pieces, make that minimum cost count. Reuse pieces from your ceremony in your reception so the flowers you buy look more bountiful. Research flowers and figure out which ones are less expensive (i.e. daisies instead of orchids) so you can get more of them.

But maybe you don’t need that many flowers. You might only need bouquets and boutonnière s for the wedding party. If that’s the case, find a florist who will do an à la carte order for you. Only ordering those few pieces will save you a lot of money.

If you’re still looking to save big on flowers, try stopping by your local grocery store. Sometimes they have great deals on arrangements you can pre-order. Or, simply pick up flowers you like and practice putting them together yourself. DIY flowers can be a fun thing to do with bridesmaids and, if your wedding already has a country feel, can add to the theme. Think about bulk ordering flowers and collecting jars for DIY centerpieces.

If you’re still looking to save big on flowers, try stopping by your local grocery store. Sometimes they have great deals on arrangements you can pre-order.

Best Savings Accounts 2019

1.80% APY
$25 Min balance for APY
Yes FDIC Member

2.25% APY
$100 Min balance for APY
Yes FDIC Member

1.50% APY
$5 Min balance for APY
Yes FDIC Member

Event Planner (Average: $1,988)

Hiring an event planner can save the bride and groom a whole lot of stress, but a planner comes at a price. If you already have an idea of how you want your wedding to go—and that vision isn’t particularly complex—you might do better to plan it yourself.

However, if you decide to go without a planner, you should seriously consider hiring a coordinator for the big day itself. They’re usually in charge of checking in vendors, making sure decorations are set up, and even communicating with guests. Day of coordinators come at a fraction of the price of a full planner but are instrumental in helping your day run smoothly.

Want a more accurate estimate of how much your wedding might cost? Use our wedding budget template to estimate your overall costs and track your expenses.