by: Lauren

[Editor’s note: If you haven’t noticed by now, wedding cost is something that I talk about a lot here on ELD. Part of the reason for this is because I was absolutely unaware of the true cost of weddings when I was planning my own wedding. The other reason is that when I entered into the wedding industry, I actually learned why things cost what they cost, and it all made sense as to why weddings cost “so much”! And so, I have made it my mission to take both of those personal experiences with wedding costs and educate you about what I have learned. I’ve talked about why weddings cost so much before, but I felt like it was about time that I touched on the subject again- so I’ve updated this previously published post on why weddings cost so much…]

 “Why do weddings cost so much?!”


I’m pretty sure this is a question that I think just about EVERY bride (and groom and parent and friend) asks. Don’t worry- I asked the same exact question when I was planning my wedding. And I never really figured out the answer until AFTER my wedding when I started working in the industry, learning the ins and outs and what it really takes for a wedding to happen. (Thankfully, since that’s a HUGE part of why I started blogging in the first place!)

Why Do Weddings Cost So Much?! via

So at first, you’re SUPER excited to start planning your wedding, right? And yeah, you know weddings can cost a good chunk of change… but when you start getting the proposals and quotes from people, THAT’S when it really hits you. I think a HUGE part of it is that you don’t really have a good *idea* of what things cost beforehand. Whenever I give brides a ballpark range of what to expect for what something would cost, it’s always so much easier for them to think about and make a decision. There’s just something about knowing ahead of time, that helps SO much, don’t you think?

Here’s the thing: when I was planning my wedding I did always wonder why things cost so much. But I was so focused on the COST that I never really considered or bothered to find out the WHY…

1. Making it happen.

What does it take to make a wedding happen? Wedding professionals. I don’t know what it is about weddings, but for some reason, lots of people don’t consider working in the wedding industry as a “normal” job. Maybe because weddings are such happy and fun times, so it’s hard to think of any “work” being associated with them. (Confession: I was one of those brides who thought this!)  Or maybe it’s because there are indeed a few “hobbyists” in the wedding industry providing services to brides. Whatever it is that’s causing this thought process, it’s wrong. Wedding professionals aren’t charging what they charge just for the heck of it. They charge what they charge because it’s their livelihoods. Their career. How they put food on the table for their families. Sure, some charge less and some charge more, but it’s what they think they’re worth and what they need to live their lives. Oh and let’s not forget about experience, which is also a huge factor of wedding professionals’ costs too. And also, their TIME. They work during the week, and then they still have weddings on the weekend. Half the time, they’re not even being paid enough for the time they put in, but it’s what has to be done to make awesome weddings happen.

[Note: wedding professionals don’t charge more because the word “wedding” is attached. This might be true for those who *aren’t* in the wedding industry, but don’t think it’s true for those who are. Let’s kill that myth right here and now.]

2. The *Things*

Yes, there are *things* that are needed for your wedding. Lots of them. And these things are also what “cost so much”. Rentals, purchases, food, alcohol, flowers, linens, etc etc. They’re all things, and are a HUGE part of the wedding costs. These things usually have to be purchased (or rented) FOR your wedding, so they can be functional AT your wedding. [Get ready for a baking/cooking analogy because that’s all I can think of right now…] Think of it this way: You want to make cookies to bring to a party. But before you can make your cookies, you have to buy all of the ingredients. That’s what the things for your wedding are. They’re the elements, the ingredients, of your wedding. These things still cost money- they don’t just appear out of thin air. And trust me- you don’t want to buy them yourself. So that’s where wedding professionals come in, because they know/own/make/have access to those things.

Why Do Weddings Cost So Much?! via

Images by Ashley McCormick Photography

3. Guests.

Yep, the guests. Guests are really why weddings cost so much. I probably say it once a month. The more guests you have, the more money you’ll have to spend. It’s more food, drinks, tables, linens, centerpieces, etc etc. And guess what? It’s something that YOU can have control over. If you don’t want to spend much on your wedding- keep your guest list small. That is the key to EVERYTHING!

4. What YOU Want.

You can be your own worst enemy when it comes to what your wedding costs- I know I was! A wedding that costs “so much” could just be the result of what YOU want! But hey, it’s AWESOME to know what you want, and hopefully get it for your wedding day! :)

I was actually inspired to write this post because of something I saw on a local photographer’s blog. She had seen a bride’s posting on Craigslist about photographers costing too much money, and she wrote a little response to the bride. It’s SO informative and something that not everyone realizes- definitely go and read it! Oh and after I wrote this whole post, I forgot that I wrote a Thursday Tips similar to this a while ago. It’s a little bit of a different breakdown though, so be sure to read it next! :)

It’s important to me that you know something: I don’t share this information to “inflate” the expectations for what weddings cost. I do it to educate you about weddings, and to share the truth with you… because in my experience, there’s a ton of fluff out there, and not enough truth! It is my goal to help brides and to hopefully keep some of you from making the same uneducated wedding planning mistakes that I made.


Okay, so out of the things I mentioned above, which is the most IMPORTANT to you? It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your planning, halfway through, almost done, or already married- I’m sure one of these things is/was what you absolutely have/had to have!

I would love to hear from those of you who are fairly into your planning or already done- in what area did you spend the most? I love your comments, so tell me tell me! :)

Why Do Weddings Cost So Much?! via


*Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2012 and and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 
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Why Do Weddings Cost So Much?! via


Founder & 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.

22 responses to Why Do Weddings Cost So Much?!

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. Tifani Lyn

    When my Fiance and I sat down and he said it will cost about $12,000 for a wedding i about died. We aren’t getting any help from our parents so we are doing it all ourselves. I didn’t realize how much each thing costs until I started searching! First was our photographer, that was MOST IMPORTANT! I already had my heart set on one that was $2700. I live in Grand Rapids MI & once I started to look for a venue I hated everything unless it was $2000-$4000, Finally I found a barn for $2000. The Dress $1000. The Food $3500. I thought that would be it but you have $300 things popping up everywhere!
    I’ve been spending LOTS of time making table runners and decorations myself and hopefully it will be swoon worthy. Thank you for posting this! I know people dont realize how much it costs to be a photographer, or what to cut corners on… my wedding isn’t even here yet but there are a few things I would have not spent money on already :)

  2. Caroline Creates

    I’ve been dealing with this question a lot lately too about custom invitations. Thank you for such a great post!

  3. Jillian Nicole

    This was amazing to read! I love all the posts going around right now that are so informative–a la Rhiannon @ Hey gorgeous and now this little gem! I totally agree with you about the guests. We looked at it as quality over quantity. We knew what we would be able to provide for 200 not so close friends and compared That to what we would be able to provide for 40 Family and friends that are basically family {we also both come from super small families, so that made it way easier} and the decision was a no brainer. We had amazing professionals who made our day gorgeous and one i will never forget! So go Ahead and hire those fabulous vendors and if you’re going to cut anything out, start with that second cousin twice removed and that lady from work you feel obligated to invite, but have never really talked to! :)

  4. Jenna Stratman

    I love this post. It’s so important that brides understand WHY the price tag is what it is before handing over the credit card. Knowing where your money for your wedding is going will definitely help you appreciate the services and items you’re paying for more.

  5. Kristine {In Love, Engaged}

    Great, great post, Lauren. It can be really difficult to come to terms wit h the amount of money you’re spending on a single day–or the amount of money your family is spending. I know I struggled with feeling guilty for some time about that piece. But you have to remember that any time you’re throwing a well thought out and planned party for over 100 guests, you’re going to be spending a good chunk of money. And amen to the piece about wedding professionals charging what they need to charge in order to make a living! :)

  6. Layla Mayville {Simply Savannah Events}

    You know I’m a regular reader to your blog and really think you hit on something important here! I think the number of guests is a huge effect on your wedding and something you should talk about 1st!!! The size of your wedding is really going to change how much you are going to pay and if you can’t afford that or your family doesn’t realize adding x,y, and z to the guest list will effect the cost, maybe you need to sit back and re-evaluate. I love how you talked about weighing want you want, knowing what is important to you two is great, maybe it’s the food or photography or not having your family do everything, either way deciding on what matters to you TWO will help when starting your budget. Thanks Lauren for the GOOD info! :)

  7. Elisa Suter via Facebook

    Wowza… I’m in the middle of three posts about budget, how much vendors make, etc., right now. We must all be on the same wavelength!!! <3!

  8. Pingback: What Does A Wedding Cost? - Every Last Detail Every Last Detail What Does A Wedding Cost? - Every Last Detail |

  9. Jennifer Fisher

    OMG. Lauren. THIS. IS. PERFECT. Well done, my friend. :) xoxo

  10. Gian Carlo

    Thank you for providing incredible valuable information and insight to all couples planning their beautiful wedding day out there. you are a true star in our industry.

  11. Ray Colon (a Vendor)

    I Love reading your Blog. You are always on point with your advise and do such a great service to all the Brides.


    Ray Colon

  12. Catherine Ann (a Vendor)

    Hit the nail on the head once again, Lauren! (-:

  13. Kelly Hancock (a Vendor)

    Excellent post my friend!! Could not agree more with everything you shared.

  14. Kelley Kennedy (Teacup Floral) (a Vendor)

    Along the same lines as keeping the guest list small, don’t forget the size of your wedding party can really add on to your cost (especially with flowers). Inviting all of your sorority sisters, cousins, coworkers to be in your wedding party can really add up when it comes to your bouquets and boutonnieres.

  15. Andria (a Vendor)

    Very informative! Thank you so much for detailing what really goes into a wedding. I don’t think a lot of people understand until it is all laid out. Love your blog!

  16. Rhiannon (a Vendor)

    This is why we’re roomies at conferences. :)

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  18. Michelle (a Vendor)

    Found you via a repost of this article on Huffington Post. Just have to chime in and say how refreshing it is to see frank, realistic advice. So often I see articles setting brides up for dissapointment by telling them they can have the moon, DIY everything (while posting pics of pro pics) , or worse yet leading them go believe their vendors are out to gouge them. Thanks for going another route

  19. Stephanie Cole (a Vendor)

    Thank you for posting this! Sometimes I feel like the Grim Reaper of wedding dreams after listening to potential clients’ visions and their budgets. Personally, I always want to be upfront with final costs – no one wants to enter into their marriage with a ton of looming debt due to their wedding. There are definitely ways to save money and work on a budget but couples also have to be willing to have some flexibility too.

  20. Kelly (a Vendor)

    Awesome blog post! Every word of it is so true. People inquiring for my services on custom invitations get surprised at cost sometimes. This post has inspired me to write a post about custom invitations so hopefully potential clients are aware of the cost breakdown. Thank you! Huge fan of your blog. :)

  21. Pingback: The 1 Thing That Has The Biggest Impact On a Wedding Budget | Every Last Detail

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