It’s hard to imagine anything could take away from the excitement of wedding planning—until you start adding up the fees for each vendor and expenses for the big day. While it’s no secret that weddings are the most expensive party you’ll host, you may not know the exact reasons for those costs. Not knowing where the money goes or why services appear overpriced can frustrate anyone, which is why this bridal guide will explain the expensive truth behind why weddings cost so much money.
How Expensive Are Weddings?
Giving an exact standard price is tricky because the numbers vary greatly depending on an array of factors, including the location you choose and the season in which you plan to tie the knot. However, as of this year, the typical wedding costs around $30,000. This price covers all aspects, such as venue, attire, caterers, invitations, entertainment, and other key areas.
The price of your big day may be higher than the standard if you have an extensive guest list—175 guests or more—or plan a destination wedding. Likewise, seasons such as late spring and early fall are more popular, so vendors tend to increase their prices.
5 Reasons Weddings Are Expensive
Weddings aren’t just little parties; they’re massive celebrations that require food, entertainment, photos, and dressing your best. All of these elements add up, especially when you have 100 people or more commemorating the moment alongside you. Some of the main reasons weddings are expensive include the following:
- It’s a lot of work
- Vendors have their own expenses
- There is competition
- Venues are elaborate
- Wedding dresses are exquisite
Each of these areas adds to the expensive truth as to why weddings cost so much money. By learning more about them, you will know exactly where your money goes.
It’s a Lot of Work
Planning a wedding requires weeks of work for everyone involved. Your vendors are no different than any other individual with a part in the planning, and they deserve fair compensation for their work. Key members, such as wedding planners or day-of coordinators, pay extra attention to the fine details to help ensure your big day is your dream come true.
Making the Details Perfect
As we said before, a wedding isn’t just some party—it’s arguably the most significant celebration of your life. Most couples want the details to be as close to perfect as possible, and achieving this takes time. For instance, your photographer doesn’t just take pictures at the wedding then give them to you; they’ll also edit each one to correct lighting and other aspects to make the photos look outstanding. This time and effort is well worth the price once you see your finished wedding photos.
Vendors Have Their Own Expenses
Wedding vendors must factor the prices of their products into their overall charges. Your baker, for example, needs to buy ingredients to make your beautiful wedding cake, and these prices can fluctuate due to the market. And a multi-tier cake costs more than a small one because baking it requires more ingredients. Not to mention, a beautiful cake can be very time-consuming, making the labor costs understandable.
Additionally, larger vendors have teams of employees they need to pay, and spaces they need to rent for their businesses. All of these factors influence what a vendor charges for their service.
Your caterer cooks the delicious food provided at your wedding, which requires quality ingredients and a team of people to help prepare and serve the meal. Also, some food options cost more than others. Generally, serving steak at your wedding comes with a higher price tag than chicken because it costs the caterer more to purchase the beef. You also pay a certain amount for each plate of food. The more guests you have, the more food they’ll need to prepare, which means higher service fees for you.
Most couples have flowers at the ceremony and reception as decoration, as well as bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids to hold. Florists charge for their products and the time put into creating the arrangements.
One thing to expect when planning your flower budget is that the price of your preferred blooms will depend on what is in season. During spring, it’s best to have peonies, tulips, and Queen Anne’s lace; in fall, celosia and amaranthus are wonderful. Talk with your florist about which flowers are in season during the time of your wedding for the best prices.
There Is Competition
Weddings are held every day, and the best vendors are always in the most demand. Due to this, these businesses set their prices according to their services. By keeping their prices higher, they can also take on a smaller volume of clients, allowing them to dedicate more time to each without feeling underpaid.
Venues Are Elaborate
The more exquisite your wedding venue is, the higher the price tag will be. For example, getting married in a private banquet hall or at a resort often costs more than a barn wedding. All your venue options might look stunning, but you’ll need to decide which aesthetic level is worth the price.
Know What’s Included
When you talk with each venue manager, inquire about what your rental would include. Although some venue packages include furniture and certain decor, this may be considered an upcharge for other locations.
Wedding Dresses Are Exquisite
At first glance, it’s easy to wonder why wedding dresses are so expensive compared to other dresses. Bridal gowns can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars, making them the most expensive dresses most brides ever own. It’s important to note that this is generally a fair rate despite the price sometimes seeming over the top.
Making a dress style such as a ballgown requires nearly 10 yards of fabric to give it that poofy, princess-style skirt. Even tea-length wedding dresses require several yards of material. In addition to using a large amount of fabric, dressmakers use quality materials, such as chiffon, satin, or taffeta.
Also, making a wedding dress can take months, especially if the gown has a lot of appliques or beading. So, when you purchase a dress, you pay for the material, quality, and hours of work, which can really add up.
Tips for Budgeting for Your Wedding
Although weddings are expensive, there are many ways to budget your money to keep your spending on track. Every couple deserves to have their ideal day, and with our advice, you can achieve this without feeling pressured to overspend.
Consider the Season
As you plan your wedding, determine which season you’d prefer to get married in based on price and aesthetics. Autumn brings beautiful shades of orange, red, and yellow as leaves change, but it’s also prime wedding season, meaning you might have higher venue and vendor rates.
To ease your decision, evaluate how the weather will impact your vision. If you want to get married outside, then winter may not work. On the other hand, if you want a budget-friendly wedding and you’re willing to have it inside, mid-winter is usually best as fewer couples wed at this time.
Evaluate All Vendor Costs
Don’t hire the first vendor that comes up when you begin your search. Instead, compile a list of vendor options so you can compare their prices, reviews, and services. Doing this will make it easier for you to decide if each option’s price is worth what you’ll receive in return. If you feel stuck between a few options, you could book consultations with each vendor to meet in person and discuss the details of your wedding.
Set Your Priorities
As you create your budget, you must determine which areas you plan to spend the most on. One tip for prioritizing your wedding budget is to set your non-negotiable expenses first by noting your must-haves. Some couples splurge on their venue, while others go all out for dessert. As you establish your priorities, keep the guest experience in mind so you don’t neglect food or entertainment.
Establish a Cash Cushion
A cash cushion is money you set aside as a safety net in case you go over the established budget for specific areas of the wedding. This prevents you from dipping into your savings, taking out loans, or asking others for money.
Aim to set aside at least 10 percent of your overall wedding budget to retain as a cushion. If you plan to spend $30,000 on the wedding, for example, you should save an extra $3,000 for unforeseen expenses.
Everyday Bride Tip
If you have money left from your cash cushion once all wedding expenses are paid, save it for the honeymoon. With that money, you can plan some extra excursions and go out for a lavish dinner or two.
A Final Note
A lot of time and money goes into your wedding. By establishing a thorough budget in the early stages of planning and taking the time to find vendors that offer your desired services at fair rates, you can keep your big day affordable while still creating the wedding of your dreams.