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Average Wedding Prices in 2021
UPDATE: I’ve created an updated article within my brand new video series to help you plan a budget wedding! Use this link for the updated article or check out the fun “how-to” budget wedding videos on my YouTube channel here!
After planning a wedding for under $5,000 all on my own, and after helping with numerous friends’ weddings, I can confidently say that I have a good idea of the average cost of wedding decorations (and so much more!).
If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I love saving money, and that helped me a lot when it came to planning a full wedding.
Now, there are all sorts of blog articles and advice out there about “how to save money on weddings”, but I struggled with finding people who I could relate to, and very little realistic advice.
I was legitimately able to have a wedding under $5,000. Yes, it is possible!
When researching how to have a cheap wedding (but one that didn’t look cheap), the only advice I could find was to have outdoor BBQ’s and no receptions.
It was ridiculous the basic “advice” that I found, so, I figured that my experience could help a handful of my readers – whether you are going to have a daughter’s wedding in the near future, if you want to save cash on your own wedding, or if you have friends who are getting married!
Now, this article is not intended to give all my tips and tricks to savings. (It would practically be a novel!)
In fact, I have a series in the works to lay out all of the guidance I can give with saving for a wedding, and this is just one within that series!
Therefore, in this article, you will learn:
- The average cost of wedding decorations and other wedding expenses
- How your region determines the cost of a wedding (for all you USA ladies!)
- How to pay for a wedding – and how to save up for one
- How to start a wedding budget and track your expenses
A Breakdown of Wedding Costs
Weddings. Cost. Too. Much.
Most weddings cost around $20,000.
That’s quite a lot if you are a typical 20-something, new graduate, or don’t have thousands already saved up in the bank.
But, you’re engaged (or you know someone who is) and you’re planning a wedding. You have to afford it somehow!
In short, the average price for wedding decorations is around $2,750. This number ranges based on what your overall wedding budget is. For example, on average, Americans spend anywhere from $3000 to $20,000+ for fresh wedding flowers.
You may be thinking: “That’s a huge range. I don’t even have budget for the low end!”
How will you afford it? How much do you need to ask your parents for help? Should you take out a loan or use credit cards?
Let’s first start with the basics!
Average Cost of Wedding DecorationsWhat to Expect to Pay
- Dress accessories ($500)
- Groom accessories ($150)
- Bridesmaid accessories ($100)
- Reception decor ($1000)
- Garland and floral ($500)
- Centerpieces ($500)
This list is not exhaustive but includes the majority of the large expenses when planning multiple weddings.
Additionally, this is a list of averages. I’ve included ranges for everything I had found throughout my wedding planning, and does not include the most expensive options.
· Dress: $300-$5000
Tips: Looking for a dress at the low end of that range? Go to consignment shops. I would avoid buying from sketchy websites due to the lack of quality. Remember that, to mostly everyone out there, a $1000 dress will look nothing different than a $10,000 dress.
· Alterations: $20-$500
I was charged $20 for strap shortening and $100 to add beading to the bodice and a beaded belt. If your dress already fits decently well, you really don’t need a ton of modifications to it – no one will notice!
· Accessories: $100-$3000
I did an incredible amount of searching for the least expensive, yet quality, options. I found a veil for under $20 on Amazon, comfy white heels, and all my jewelry for literally just a few dollars off Romwe here.
Again, people won’t know if you bought the $350 veil from the bridal store or if you got it from Amazon! Save your cash for better things like honeymoon excursions or a home down payment!
· Dress: $40-$350
Tip: No one likes spending hundreds on a bridesmaid dress they will only wear once! Save your girls some money and buy a cute dress for tons less than at a bridal store. I got my bridesmaid dresses for less than $40/each off Amazon and they were just as cute as any other expensive ones!
· Accessories: $100
Tip: For my wedding, since I did a ton of research on how to save money, I bought all the bridesmaid jewelry from Romwe for $1 each (NO JOKE.) and got tons of compliments!
· Suit: $100-$500
I went with using a nice suit he already had. But don’t miss out on all the rental options out there if he doesn’t already have a suit!
· Accessories: $50-$300
I saved some serious cash by buying online! I found some of the items we purchased off Amazon, including their ties, shoes, and got a set of pocketsquares for the groom and groomsmen!
· Church: $0-$200
· Full Day Venue: $1000-$8000
Be on the lookout for a venue that provides services like decorations, DJ, lighting or more. It will save you a ton in the end!
· Bridal bouquet: $100-$350
· Bridesmaid bouquet: $50-$125 each
· Boutonniere: $10-$40 each
· Garland/Floral Displays: $150-$500 each
· Centerpieces: $75-$300 each
I could not fathom spending so much on flowers, so I bought all fake flowers from Hobby Lobby and Michaels. (Only when on sale! Use those coupons, too!) I managed to spend about $150 for ALL the flowers for the bridal bouquet/bridesmaids/boutonniere IN TOTAL!
I also found garland, wreaths, and floral for centerpieces for awesome prices at these stores. Be sure to look at those options first!
How to Make Extra Cash For Your Wedding
First important tip: START EARLY.
To avoid making this article too long, I’ll stick with a few of my favorite pieces of advice!
#1. Utilize Survey Sites
I started with survey sites early on and made a handful of extra cash to save up for expenses.
Now, this won’t pay for your whole wedding by any means, but being able to pay for things like wedding flowers or centerpieces by simply filling out surveys is pretty awesome!
I know of people who use dozens of survey sites, but I only stick to two. (I just don’t have time to use a ton of the apps!)
I have a step-by-step article here about how to start with one of my favorite sites!
If you want to double your earnings, check out both of my two favorite apps:
Some extra dollars will always be helpful, and it will be smart to keep on earning after the wedding, too!
#2. Start Saving Cash NOW
I used a popular free app called Acorns to set aside money for the entirety of my engagement.
For some of you, that could mean 2 years of saving up money!
Acorns works by linking to your bank and helping set aside “cents” to a savings account after you make purchases.
It’s a really neat way to save up money without even thinking about it – and you could literally save up hundreds in a year!
If you’re interested in checking Acorns out, go get your free $5 credited to your account here!
#3. Should You Get A Loan To Pay for a Wedding?
I know of multiple women who took out loans or purely use a credit card for wedding expenses.
To be honest, it really is not the best way to start your marriage, but it is understandable if you have a few items that you just don’t have cash for – like a photographer or a venue.
My best piece of advice is to know your credit score before starting to rack up credit.
I use Credit Karma, which I’ve loved for years!
Not only is it free, but checking your credit score through them won’t make any difference on your score (unlike some other services out there!).
If you are considering taking out a loan for a wedding, I won’t try to fully discourage you from doing so, but encourage you to do your research – weddings don’t have to be as expensive as you’d think!
How To Pay For A Wedding
By now you can see that the average cost for wedding decorations (and venue, and attire, and everything else) is crazy expensive.
For starters, you and your future partner should start tracking your expenses.
I use a free, beginner-friendly platform called Personal Capital, but any will do!
Once you input your assets and liabilities, you’ll have an idea of your net worth. This is an important step for this process!
Additionally, you can set up a budget and track all of your expenses!
Check out my full review of this free app here!
Starting a budget is critical in the first few months of engagement. This will help you set limits to how much you will spend overall.
The reason for this is because you WILL find yourself overspending if you are not careful.
From adding an additional menu item to buying a few extra decorations, you are bound to go over budget.
So, for absolute “budgeting beginners”, I’d recommend writing out your total spending amount, and making a list of everything you want at your wedding.
It will be a huge list, but breaking everything down will help with all of your larger expenses!
Some commonly missed items include:
- Food accessories – like napkins, cake toppers, cupcake tiers, forks/spoons/plates, trashbags
- Signage – like printed posterboards on easels or parking signs
- Miscellaneous décor – like votive fillers, hot glue sticks for DIY projects, church pew decorations
How to Avoid Overspending on Your Wedding
First, let’s review how much it will cost!
If you live in the Midwest, your costs will be significantly less expensive than in a large metropolitan city.
For example, a wedding photographer in Oklahoma costs on average $2500, while you could easily fork out $7000 for for a good photographer in NYC.
Venue prices change drastically depending on your location as well!
With this in mind, I’d advise making a list of all the large expenses (photographer/videographer, venue, dress) and contacting numerous vendors to find the best price.
And, don’t be afraid to negotiate!
Negotiating prices makes a HUGE difference when it comes to a photographer and a videographer!
For example, I contacted vendors and after looking at their package prices, asked for some changes to them, and I ended up getting great deals!
Some extra tips that I learned along the way!:
- BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF about how much you can afford. I set out to have an inexpensive, yet beautiful, wedding. But I knew I couldn’t have it at the most expensive venue, with the most expensive vendors. It is important to be realistic!
- DO YOUR RESEARCH, AND THEN SOME MORE. There are all sorts of ways to save money! I’ve included a handful on this article, but there are so many more tips out there – take advantage of them and make sure to not overspend!
What did you do to save extra money on your wedding? Do you have any tips?