Why are Weddings So Expensive? Understanding the Costs

The average couple spends a whopping $30,000 on their wedding! When you first start planning for your big day, it’s easy to feel a bit of sticker shock. After all, how can one day cost so much?

Well, there’s a lot that goes into planning a wedding and tons of small details that have to be planned and paid for.

But where exactly does all that money go? If you’re still asking, “Why are weddings so expensive?”, keep reading to learn more about the costs associated with weddings.

The Venue

Your venue is typically the most expensive part of your wedding. In fact, you can expect to spend about half of your wedding budget here.

Of course, the venue is so much more than a room to party in. Today, many venues include table, chair, and linen rentals as well as all your plates, glasses, and silverware. They also often include food and drinks for the cocktail hour and reception.

Some venues take this a step further. They may include the cake or have centerpieces that you can borrow for the evening. Another big cost that’s often included is your day-of coordinator who ensures everything runs smoothly.

The Decorations

When you first start picking out decorations, it may seem like you’ll come under budget. However, $50 here and $75 there quickly adds up.

The first thing you need to worry about is ceremony décor, including aisle runners, aisle markers, alter flowers, and an arch. If your ceremony site already has an arch or gazebo, you may want to decorate it with flowers or drapery.

For your reception, you’ll need to consider centerpieces, table numbers, escort cards, chair covers, a cake stand, and a wedding favor display. Of course, you’ll also want some signage, such as a welcome sign at the ceremony and a signature drink sign at the bar.

Flowers are often the costliest part of your décor. Flowers need to be made last minute to ensure they still look fresh, so florists can be quite expensive.

The Photographer

Once your wedding day is over, all you’ll have left are your pictures. Your photographer puts a lot of work into ensuring they’re able to capture your big day.

They spend your entire wedding day with you, from when you’re getting ready in the morning to the end of your reception. This often involves traveling to various locations, lugging that heavy equipment with them to each and every stop.

After your big day, your photographer will then spend a big chunk of time editing your images and putting everything together for you on a CD or flash drive. While you can save money by cutting your photographer's hours or going with a newbie, most couples agree that this is a place you should splurge.

The DJ or Band

What’s a wedding without dancing? Whether you choose to hire a band or a DJ, this is another large cost to account for.

DJs are typically the cheaper option, though. Before your big day, they will prepare your playlist while taking into account any special requests you have. They’ll also practice the announcements that have to be made, such as the cake cutting, speeches, and introducing the wedding party as they enter the reception.

Bands have a little extra work to do. After organizing the playlist, they’ll then have to practice all their songs. They may also have to learn a new song if you requested one they don’t already know.

The Day-Of Outfits

Your wedding dress will be the most important outfit you ever wear. So it should come as no surprise that it’ll cost a pretty penny. However, certain styles, such as ballgowns and those with a lot of beading, will cost more than simple dresses.

You’ll also have to budget for alterations as well as your veil, shoes, and jewelry. Of course, your groom will also need to rent a nice tux and pay for shoes. He may also want to splurge on a nice watch or cufflinks to wear on the big day.

The Stationary

Stationary ends up costing a lot more than most couples anticipate. You may want to hire a photographer to take a picture for your save-the-date or get fancy invitations with laser-cut sleeves.

You’ll also have to purchase RSVP cards (unless you do it online), thank you cards, and wedding programs. The cost of envelopes and postage also add up here!

The Extras

Most couples want to splurge on at least a few extras. These are the things that really make your wedding unique and reflect you as a couple.

This could include a sangria bar, chocolate fountain, cotton candy machine, photo booth, selfie-station, or a performer. Many couples also choose to do a sendoff, which could include the use of sparklers, colored smoke, or even fireworks.

The Pre and Post-Wedding Events

When people talk about the cost of planning a wedding, you’ll often hear the phrase, "It’s just one day!” However, this isn’t really true.

Before your wedding, you’ll host a rehearsal dinner for all of your closest friends and family members. This means you’ll be paying for food and alcohol as well as decorations and invitations. It’s also customary to give gifts to anyone who helped you during this process, including your wedding party and parents.

You’ll also likely have a bridal shower, bachelorette party, and bachelor party. While the couple’s friends and family usually cover the cost of this, you may need to chip in a bit depending on your loved ones’ financial situations.

If you have a lot of out-of-town guests, you may want to host a breakfast or brunch the day after your wedding. This gives you a chance to see everybody one last time before you head off to your honeymoon (which is another big cost).

The Answer to “Why Are Weddings So Expensive?”

So, why are weddings so expensive? Well, it all starts with the number of products and services you need to pay for, including the venue, caterer, photographer, florist, décor, and stationery.

Each vendor then puts extra work into their product to give you something totally personalized and perfect for your special day.

Are these costs still giving your sticker shock? No worries! Contact us today to learn how we can help you pay for your wedding!