Here’s How Much the Average Wedding Costs Increased for the Past 10 Years 

Every year around March, The Knot reveals the national average cost of weddings (not including honeymoon but including engagement ring costs) for that previous year. They usually survey and question anywhere from 13,000 - 17,000 couples who got married in that year. 

Now, of course the numbers they provide is just an average. The actual cost couples face can be more or less expensive depending on the wedding style and area you live in. Still, this average can help engage couples to know what you expect as well as and help wedding vendors know if there is an upward or downward trend in their specific service.

I decided to take the results for the last 10 years and compare it to see where the costs of wedding spending are going. Some of the results may surprise you.

Overall the national average cost of weddings has increased by 16.34% in the past 10 years! 

Although it is a bit surprising to see the overall cost increase by so much, this does make sense. More couples are waiting until they are older and more financially secure.

At this time a lot of couples are in a more comfortable state than previous generations, making it easier to splurge a bit on the wedding.

What's more interesting is that the cost of Reception Venues has increased by the same rate of around 16% as well. 

What's more interesting is that the cost of Reception Venues has increased by the same rate of around 16% as well. While some wedding costs haven’t increased by too much or it has a high fluctuation, the cost of reception venues has been very steadily increasing with only really one dip down for the past 10 years. Most likely this is where the majority of the increase in wedding cost is going to.

While the cost of wedding and reception venues have definitely been steadily increasing, the national average cost of engagement rings is a completely different matter.

The price has actually gone down by almost 3% in the past 10 years, but do take that information with a grain of salt. The average cost of engagement rings has the highest fluctuation of any expense. With a high of $6,163 in 2016 and with a low of $5,130. With a difference of $1000, it's hard to say if the price of engagement rings will stabilize and slowly increase or if it will always be in a shaky situation.

Below are all of the other wedding expense costs except for Officiants and Hair and Makeup artist. (they have only been included in the last 3 years), As you can see the graph is a bit messy and overwhelmed with information so let's split it up.

I’ve split the details of the wedding costs into two main categories. Expenses costing under $1,000 and expenses costing over $1,000.

Wedding Expenses Costing Under $1,000

Wedding expenses that cost under $1,000 have had the largest  change in the past 10 years. 

The cost of ceremony musicians has gone up by over 43%. This means on average ceremony musicians have increased their fees by over $300 in the past 10 years.

And if this trend continues, then in the next 10 years the average cost of ceremony musician will be over $1,000.

This is the largest percentage cost increase of any of the wedding expenses. 

And yet, in the same category, the cost of invitations has decreased by over 31%.

This drastic change could be because instead of having to send large and details invitations as well as RSVP slip and return envelope, you can just send one simple invite and put everything else on your wedding website.

Not to mention creating your own invitations is a much easier DIY projects that the average person can do. 

The cost of Favors and Wedding Cake has also decreased in the past 10 years.

It's likely for wedding cakes, more couples are opting for cheaper and different variations rather than the classic wedding cake.

Expense Type

Increased Percentage

Ceremony Musicians

43.41%

Transportation

19.16%

Groom Attire

18.73%

Catering (per person)

10%

Wedding Cake

-5.87%

Favors

-19.18%

Invitations

-31.87%

Wedding Expenses Costing Over $1,000

Average Wedding Costs Over $1,000 _ From 2009 to 2018

Unlike the previous group, wedding expenses that are over $1000 have all been steadily increasing.

Its possible that a lot of wedding couples try to lower expenses in the cheaper category while spending more on the more expensive one.

It shouldn’t be too surprising that the ceremony venue expense, which has increased by over 41%, is the biggest price increase in this category. 

Since there is a trend to spend more money in the Reception Venue then it makes sense to match that with the ceremony location.

Wedding Expense Types like Reception DJ, Wedding Dress, Videographer and Reception Band also have a solid rate of cost increase. I’m sure  shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” has definitely inspired more brides to spend more money on their dream dress.

Although Videographer has increased by a good amount, the cost of wedding photographers has not increased by a lot.

As wedding couples are spending more I was expecting a higher percentage increase than 8% for this wedding expense. Still, the average price for Wedding Photographer does not fluctuate too much and overall there is an increase in the past 10 years.

While this wedding expense type may not have the highest percentage increase, it is likely a safer vendor category to be in. When times are a bit harder, couples may opt out on expensive venue or entertainment, but they always want to remember and treasure the moment. As such wedding photographers will likely have a stable cost rate.

Expense Type

Increased Percentage

Ceremony Venue

41.52%

Reception DJ

30.96%

Wedding Dress

30.47%

Videographer

26.72%

Reception Band

22.58%

Wedding Planner

13.69%

Florist / Decor

13.19%

Rehearsal Dinner

10.33%

Photographer

8.77%

Did we miss anything in the article?
Have any suggestions or questions?

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About the Author

Ashley Ohno has worked in both the accounting and the digital marketing fields for many years. She has lived in Japan for over 3 years and during that time has worked with clients from all over the world.

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