Real talk: Why the heck are y'all spending this much on weddings these days?
· May 31, 2023 ·

Weddings are a ton of fun. It's one of the best parties you can throw, with all of the people that you love, on one of the happiest days of your life.

But is it worth the price of a new car??

After a pandemic-induced backup and pent-up demand, weddings have come roaring back with bigger budgets, longer guest lists and grander ideas.


Almost every aspect of planning, hosting and attending weddings is getting pricier.

How bad has it gotten?

Even guests are going into wedding debt.


40% of people who've gone to weddings in the past five years have gone into debt to be there, per a recent LendingTree survey.

  • That jumps to 62% if they were also in the bridal party — which comes with additional obligations, like showers and bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Even... even the guests are going into debt.

Take a look at how bad the damage is:

By the numbers: The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. ticked up from $28,000 to $29,000 from 2022 to 2023, according to the wedding planning website Zola.

But the average cost was far higher in some states, like Washington, D.C., ($45,400), New Jersey ($44,219) and Massachusetts ($40,097).

Some of the reasons for the sky-high price tags include inflated vendor and service prices (the costs for DJs, wedding dresses, flowers and hairstylists have all skyrocketed), while couples are also feeling pressured to make the big day as social media-friendly as possible with gimmicky offerings like "doughnut walls, custom cocktail napkins, and champagne towers."

Surely it makes for a memorable day. But spending $30,000 on one party is, let's be honest here, just ridiculous. Dropping that kind of change at the outset of your marriage is not exactly how you set yourself up for marital success. Strong marriages are built in part on fiscal responsibility and restraint.

Here's a spoiler for you young brides and grooms out there: You don't need to drop five figures on a wedding. You can throw an excellent party on the cheap — say, less than $10,000. Heck, some of us got away with a fraction of even that. All you need is a church and some food and people who love you.

But you certainly don't need TikTok:

One in three 2023 couples are looking to TikTok for wedding inspiration

Heaven help us.

There are a million ways to save money while still crafting a celebration that you'll remember forever. Maybe skip the Instagram venue. Maybe don't spend $3,400 on a wedding dress. Maybe you don't need six chocolate fountains. There are so many areas where you can shave off high costs while still throwing a great bash. Try it before you spend a massive amount of money.

On the flip side, some good news: Of all the costs associated with weddings, groom attire has actually declined in recent years... by a whopping 3%.


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