by: Lauren

Hi everyone! So today I’m releasing something that I have been working on for a very long time- over a year actually. As some of you know, I’m on a mission to educate brides- because you can’t be expected to know about weddings when you’ve never planned one before! Well, for the last year, I have been collecting data from WEDDING PROFESSIONALS throughout the US. This data is what surveyed wedding vendors have reported that their brides spend with them on average. I set out on this informative mission so that brides can have *some idea* of what to expect when using professionals for their wedding. I’m so excited to finally be able to share this information with you all!

*Please note that these figures are averages obtained directly from professional wedding vendors all over the United States.*

What Does A Wedding Cost? What To Expect When Using Professional Vendors

[Please note that there were a few "vendor categories" not included in the sampling, such as officiants, favors, gifts, and fashion. All of these categories are incredibly varied, most of which (except for fashion) are in price ranges of the low hundreds.]

I’m hoping that this information will serve as an educated bit of knowledge for brides on what to expect for estimated wedding cost when using professional wedding vendors. I want everyone to be educated and prepared- because I know that if I had known this information myself, I would have most definitely made some better decisions! Please know that I’m not saying that these numbers are required in any way, shape, or form. Pricing does indeed vary depending on location, experience, what you get, etc. These are just averages sampled from wedding professionals throughout the country, and I intend to continue to collect data and release an updated version of this infographic next year as well. In the coming weeks, I will be addressing each vendor type and their associated average costs to further this informative series. :)

You see, when I myself was a bride, I had NO CLUE about what to expect what a wedding would cost. I wanted to do everything “by the book” and hire professionals, but I didn’t know what to expect. No clue whatsoever. What I didn’t know at the time, was that I wasn’t alone in this. Now that I’ve been in the wedding industry for 3 years, there have been several times that I’ve heard brides say, “How am I supposed to figure out my budget if I don’t know what things for a wedding are supposed to cost?” You have the budget percentage suggestions in magazines and on websites, but even that doesn’t tell you what to expect your photographer or planner to cost. And sure, you can refer to the national statistics and whatnot, but in my experience, even those numbers aren’t accurate- at least not for the weddings that I’ve seen! In the “real world”, when you’re purchasing something, it always helps to know what to expect to spend- at least a range. For example- you go to buy a cocktail dress at a department store, and you know to expect to see a range of about $70 to $120 (give or take), right? Well, this my friends, is to provide you with an expectation of what to spend for wedding vendors!

Want more information on vendor pricing and wedding budget? Check out these posts:

Why Do Weddings Cost So Much?!

Wedding Budget 101

Budget Before You Book!

Define “On A Budget”

Do “Off Season” Discounts Exist?

How To Find Out Wedding Vendor Pricing

Comparing Vendors: Apples To Oranges

Why You Shouldn’t Negotiate With Wedding Vendors

What Negotiation Doesn’t Mean

 

Have questions? What have you yourself experience as far as pricing, and what area are you in? Share your own experience in the comments if you have already booked your vendors!

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What Does A Wedding Cost? What To Expect When Using Professional Vendors

Lauren

Owner & Editor at Every Last Detail
Lauren Grove is the editor and owner of Every Last Detail. A clueless bride-turned-wedding planner, Lauren uses her experiences and knowledge to educate and inspire brides all over the world.

36 responses to What Does A Wedding Cost? What To Expect When Using Professional Vendors

We love your comments, but please remember to keep them kind and positive, as this is a place for inspiration and sharing information. We have the right to remove or not approve any negative or harmful comments.
  1. Troie

    Many of these costs are directly related to the number of guests – so your report would be even more informative if the range or average number of guests were included.

  2. Orlando Wedding Cinematographer

    I have to say i think that the national average should be a bit higher on the cinematography end, but I understand that this is a poll from your advertisers. I stress that different regions pricing will vary greatly.

  3. Megan [Glamour and Grace]

    I think this is fabulous! this list is averages of what the average bride spends, so it is very relative to the average number of guests at a wedding. Because it is all averages, you can easily variate your costs by figuring out what is most important to you and what you can skimp on.

  4. Sarah {A Paper Proposal}

    This is such an informative, awesome post! I feel like I always see budgeting posts on wedding blogs, but they hardly ever give you the exact numbers like this one does! thank you so much for the hard work!

  5. Virginia Sauder

    Where does the dress/and tux/clothes fall in these categories? Or is that not figured in these numbers since a professional is not used to find/buy/tailor the dress?

  6. RisingSky- Tampa Wedding cinematographer

    I agree with “Orlando wedding cinematographer”‘s comment as to the pricing average. I am wondering if this average was taking into account videographers as well. Videography tends to run in that range, but I have found experienced wedding cinematographers starting prices are higher than what this states the average is. But overall, I greatly appreciate the content of this post because it is eye opening for brides to realize the different costs to consider. And each of these professionals are worth what they’re charging–which is why i tell so many brides you have to pick your priorities and invest in those. It all depends on what is important to you as a bride.

    • Lauren Grove (Post author)

      As far as the cinematography average, I too was a little disappointed by the low number. I think some of the respondents to the survey probably are more “videographer” based, and that could be the reason for the discrepancy. Alas, there’s always next year’s survey to reconcile! ;)

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  8. Erin Davenport Photography

    Fantastic to see this all put together, Lauren! Looking forward to reading your breakdown of the categories :)

  9. Michelle

    Well done Lauren!!! Love this. AND the invitation monies seem to be closer to TRUE than other data reports I have seen in the past. Hats off! xo

  10. Meghan

    What is the average guest count for the catering category?

  11. Amalie Orrange

    Such great info, I had to share it! Thanks so much lauren :)

  12. Anni

    Love this! I see where most of it is dead on, although I’m a little thrown by the catering… maybe it’s because I live in Chicago, but for our wedding it was $15K for the food alone, and another $800 or so for alcohol from a local liquor store. What lucky couples are getting catering for so cheap?

  13. Stephanie

    Please add the average number of GUESTS! I did my wedding for less than half the cost in the Dallas, TX area, for 140 guests – would love to know how that compares.

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  15. John

    I love the graphic! You can’t hit every price point out there, but I think it really succeeds as a starting point. thx!

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  17. Chris Nemes

    Saw this in the DW Forum, looks really nicely designed and can be a great source of shares.on FB or Google+. Great job! Now I’m inspired to do one, too. :D

  18. Allie

    so great that you pulled this together! will def help many brides to have realistic expectations!

  19. Rebecca Ellison

    that’s a great chart, and to me its interesting to see where photography falls in relation to say floral. I’m a wedding photographer and the average you stated for photography is close to my average as well, and I always get “sticker shock about hot expensive it is… but if people regularly pay that much for flowers and planning, it makes sense to pay that much for memories too!
    Thanks for the hard work in putting this all together

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  23. Sara

    great chart!

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  28. Corinne SebestaSisti

    Lauren, this is such a great reference! I do think it would help to include the guest count and maybe a bridal party count so they can see if their wedding measures up. But still, we need more articles like this! Whenever I hear a bride tell me she has no idea what her budget is or should be, I think there really should be some good, realistic resource for them to check out. I mean really, why should they know? They’ve never done this before and unless they are in the industry they have no idea how different variables factor into pricing.

  29. EllenCara Boulder

    Great visual aid when educating/supporting couples in the planning process. Thank you!

  30. Socorro Alicea

    Lauren- thanks!! This is based in how many guests?

  31. Gee | EverythingWeddingsAndMore

    I totally agree that these numbers definitely differ based on number of guests. But this is pretty awesome Lauren, can tell you have put so much work into this.

  32. abby

    This is exactly what I needed. Thank you! It helps so much :)

  33. Christie O. {Mountainside Bride} (just curious)

    I love that you positioned this as the cost of wedding vendors rather than the cost of a wedding. SO many surveys position their vendor surveys as he “actual costs of weddings.” But the reality is, most brides spend more on their priorities than things that are less important. Therefore adding up vendors costs and parlaying that into direct wedding costs is misleading at best. Thanks for stopping the insanity! xoxo!

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