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How much does a wedding cost?

Key takeaways

  • The average American wedding cost $29,000 in 2023.1
  • The reception venue and catering are the 2 largest wedding expenses, making up more than 40% of the average wedding budget.2
  • The amount a couple pays for a wedding can vary depending on which state they host in.

With average wedding costs rivaling the price of a new car, celebrating your nuptials might feel out of reach for many couples. Depending on where you’re hosting, even the most pared-down affair might be enough to trigger sticker shock.

On the bright side, weddings are much more customizable than cars, and a little knowledge could help stretch your wedding budget and create a memorable day. Here’s the average cost of a wedding in the US and by state—plus a wedding cost breakdown and insider insights to help keep you from starting newlywed life in debt.

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How much does the average wedding cost?

Nationally, the average wedding in 2023 cost $29,000, according to data from wedding planning and registry website Zola.3 But the amount a couple pays for a wedding could vary a great deal depending on the event location. States with higher average incomes, such as New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts, generally also have higher wedding costs.

For example, Cassie Dresti, owner of the Los Gatos DJ Company, which does event production in Los Gatos, California, sees local couples spending nearly twice as much as the national average. “I’m in the Bay Area where there are a lot of tech companies,” Dresti says. “Weddings here typically fall into the $50,000 range.”

Zola data puts average wedding costs throughout California at $32,369, which is slightly less than places such as Pennsylvania ($32,562) and West Virginia ($33,333), and a big dip from Washington, DC, which tops the list at $45,400. On the opposite end of the range, a wedding in New Mexico, Vermont, or Alaska can cost you $15,000 or less, Zola finds. More than half the country could expect an average wedding to cost between $20,000 and $30,000, according to the Zola data below.4

Average wedding cost by state

State Average cost
Alabama $20,208
Alaska $12,083
Arizona $22,845
Arkansas $14,545
California $32,369
Colorado $25,625
Connecticut $31,350
Delaware $19,643
Florida $28,121
Georgia $25,284
Hawaii $28,000
Idaho $15,769
Illinois $36,844
Indiana $24,531
Iowa $20,000
Kansas $18,690
Kentucky $24,565
Louisiana $31,100
Maine $22,750
Maryland $29,928
Massachusetts $40,097
Michigan $23,586
Minnesota $25,377
Mississippi $25,000
Missouri $24,293
Montana $28,214
Nebraska $19,643
Nevada $22,353
New Hampshire $22,667
New Jersey $44,219
New Mexico $13,500
New York $43,863
North Carolina $28,170
North Dakota $12,917
Ohio $24,157
Oklahoma $14,464
Oregon $20,955
Pennsylvania $32,562
Rhode Island $29,531
South Carolina $28,456
South Dakota $23,750
Tennessee $23,698
Texas $24,063
Utah $18,409
Vermont $15,000
Virginia $30,205
Washington, DC $45,400
Washington state $21,352
West Virginia $33,333
Wisconsin $25,242
Wyoming $16,111

Wedding cost breakdown

Couples looking to tighten their wedding budget without sacrificing what’s important to them should consider starting with a cost breakdown of the average wedding. Knowing which vendors are most likely to eat up your budget could help you make smarter wedding-day choices.


A reception venue is often the biggest wedding expense. Couples marrying in 2023 spent nearly a quarter of their budget on the venue, Zola found.5 That comes out to around $7,000. But, again, venue prices can vary significantly by location. Dresti explains that most venues in the Bay Area are expensive. "Typically, couples will spend in the $25,000 range just for the venue," she says.

Finding creative ways to save on this piece of the pie might mean choosing a less popular time to hold your wedding. Consider doing it outside of wedding season—generally running from May through October—or have it on a weekday or a Sunday, which tend to be cheaper than Saturday-night weddings. If you aren’t competing with other couples for popular dates, you’re more likely to be able to negotiate a deal. Just keep in mind that many venues impose minimum guest numbers, potentially causing the price to rise if you pay per head.


The second largest wedding expense tends to be food and drink. Zola found that couples generally spend about 18% of their wedding budget on catering.6 For an average 2023 wedding, that comes out to about $5,220. But if you need your caterer to provide event rentals—think: tables, chairs, linens, silverware, glasses, and more—because your venue doesn’t offer them, the caterer cost could be higher. In some cases, however, you’ll have to hire a separate rental company and allot about 5% of your budget to pay for it, according to Zola.7


Having photos and a video you can cherish forever could be important to you, and Zola says couples tend to spend 12% of their total wedding budget (roughly $3,480 of the average wedding cost) on this line item.8 Capturing every minute of the special occasion could be worth the investment in the long run, but if your wedding expenses start to get unwieldy, consider hiring a photographer for a few hours instead of the whole day, or skip some of the extras a standard package might offer, such as prints or an album.


Your reception entertainment will likely include a DJ or band, and for an average wedding, you can expect to spend around 9%, or $2,610, of your budget on one, says Zola.9 From there, the options for keeping the party going—maybe a photo booth, live painter, or interactive food and drink servers—are limitless. The cost of these extras are limitless too.


Bouquets, centerpieces, and other floral decorations take up about 8% of wedding budgets, according to Zola.10 For a $29,000 wedding, that’s $2,320. Couples might be able to keep their floral costs in check by choosing flowers that are in season and grown locally. The rarer the flower and the farther it has to travel to your wedding, the more it could cost.

Wedding attire

This cost generally makes up 7% of a wedding budget finds Zola, or about $2,030, and should include not just dresses and suits, but shoes and accessories for each person getting married.11 If this is where you go for something borrowed, though, you could save a good chunk of change.

Wedding planner

On average, couples who hire a wedding planner spend about 6% of their budget on an event coordinator, says Zola data.12 That’s $1,740 of an average $29,000 wedding.

Though skipping a wedding planner could be an easy way to trim costs, Dresti recommends at least looking into how a planner could help. “Planning a wedding can be like a second job,” she says. “Having a coordinator who comes in a week before or even the day of the wedding could ensure you’re able to enjoy your wedding instead of having to stage manage it yourself.”

Hidden costs to budget for

Invitations, cake, and other smaller expenses might seem negligible compared to the big-ticket wedding day items you’ll be shelling out for—most of these each came in under $500 in The Knot’s 2022 Real Wedding Study—but they’re important to factor into your planning early on.13 Wedding pros also suggest adding a cushion to your total budget that could go toward expenses such as extra flowers you might need to fill out the décor or gratuities for your vendors. Setting aside roughly 10% more than you think you’ll need should cover it.

Ways to save on a wedding

Here are some other potential cost-cutters to consider:

  1. Keep your guest list tight. The more people you invite, the more some of your individual wedding expenses may go up.
  2. Ask friends to use their talents in lieu of wedding gifts. Maybe they could create save-the-dates, bake a cake, take photos, or officiate the ceremony.
  3. Look for vendors who are just starting out—even students—who might offer their services for a fraction of what seasoned pros would.
  4. Consider putting money you save for your nuptials in a high-interest account, not one that earns next to no interest. (Psst … Fidelity’s cash management account offers competitive rates). Depending on how much you stash, for how long, and what interest rate you get, your money could potentially earn hundreds of dollars in interest instead of mere pennies.

See even more ways to save money on a wedding.

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1. The Zola Team, “How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost in 2023?” Zola. 2. The Zola Team, “How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost in 2023?” Zola. 3. The Zola Team, “How Much Does the Average Wedding Cost in 2023?” Zola. 4. The Zola Team, “How to Set Your Wedding Budget,” Zola. 5. The Zola Team, “How to Set Your Wedding Budget,” Zola. 6. The Zola Team, “How to Set Your Wedding Budget,” Zola. 7. The Zola Team, “How to Set Your Wedding Budget,” Zola. 8. The Zola Team, “How to Set Your Wedding Budget,” Zola. 9. The Zola Team, “How to Set Your Wedding Budget,” Zola. 10. The Zola Team, “How to Set Your Wedding Budget,” Zola. 11. The Zola Team, “How to Set Your Wedding Budget,” Zola. 12. The Zola Team, “How to Set Your Wedding Budget,” Zola. 13. The Knot, “What Your Wedding Budget Should Look Like According to Data,” The Knot, April 13, 2023.

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