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Really?! 30K Wedding?! It doesn't have to be!!

National Average? $30,000, what does that mean in numbers?

So “The Knot” ran their national average for the wedding expenses early February 2018. Turns out, the national average is $31,213.00 for a wedding today. This is a huge difference when compared to the national average of the years past. 2006 national average was $28,000; 1998 national average was $20,000; and 1990 national average was $15,200. That is a growth of 100% in the last 18 years! So, what does that mean in numbers?

Based off the percentages that “The Knot” has listed for each of these categories, you are looking at these figures for your expenses. Using the National Average of $31,213, and basing the information off of the range percentages they have listed, I have a Low, Medium, and High cost list, all of which end up OVER the national average, even using the National Average as the base line to start off.

                                                                                                                                         Low                        Med                      High

Reception 48-50%                                                                                                  $14982                  $15294                  $15606

Ceremony 2-3%                                                                                                        $624                       $780                       $936

Attire 8-10%                                                                                                                $2497                    $2809                    $3121

Flower 8-10%                                                                                                            $2497                    $2809                    $3121   

Entertainment/Music 8-10%  

                             $2497                    $2809                    $3121

Photography/Videography 10-12%  

                            $3121                       $3433                    $3745

Stationery 2-3%                                                                                                           $624                       $780                       $936

Wedding Rings 2-3% (engagement Ring Not Included)

                                                                                                                                      $624                       $780                       $936

Parking/Transportation 2-3%                                                                                  $624                       $780                       $936

Gifts 2-3%                                                                                                                    $624                       $780                       $936

Miscellaneous 8%                                                                                                       $2497                    $2497                    $2497

Just in case 5%                                                                                                          $1560                    $1560                    $1560

Totals:                                                                                                                        $32771                  $35891                  $37891

This does not include your honeymoon expenses! If you are paying for your own honeymoon, you want to make sure to account for that as well!

The Knot does not say the number of guests these numbers are for, however, I ran a calculator of my own from and came up with these figures for a guest list of 200.

Attire: $1689

Beauty & Spa (which is not included in The Knot) $299

Entertainment $2011

Flowers & Décor $1943

Gifts $1207

Invitations $1321

Jewelry (wedding rings) $2556

Photography/videography $6643

Venue, Catering & Rentals $18,482

Bringing the total cost to $36,151.

This leads me to believe that their figures are calculated on a wedding guest list of less than 200.

Now, since we are photographers, we are going to look at this on the photography stand point. Not only are we photographers, but we are what is considered FULL SERVICE PHOTOGRAPHERS. We do not just click the camera and pass off the digital images to you for you to figure it out yourself, we handle everything from the first click to the last image, canvas, album, gift with your image on it is in its final set of hands!

We take the mess out of making sure you have what you need from your very important day. Because of that, I can assure you that you would not be spending the amount listed for your stationery if you were to go through On Cue Photography. So there are ways to get around some of these numbers, you just have to seek them out.

The last wedding that On Cue Photography had the stationery printed for the client, they went with Wedding Invitations, using their engagement images we took, for a guest list of 100 was $491. Of course, the more pieces that are purchased, the less it is per piece.

When trying to decide on a photographer, keep in mind the number of photographers you are paying for. Most of the wedding photographers will only include rates for 1 photographer and if you want a second shooter, it will raise the cost. For On Cue Photography, all of our wedding packages automatically include 2 photographers, husband and wife team, and we include 100 miles round trip from our office location right in the rates.

Going through a small business owner for your formal attire will also be helpful in lowering the cost. Some formal wear owners guarantee that they will only sell a style or specific dress to just one person. That guarantees you are the only one wearing it, while also saving some money from not having to go through chain companies that hike their costs up to cover their franchise fees. Such local formal attire company would be Formal Affairs. 

Flowers, these can be real or artificial. From a photographers stand point, if you are go with artificial, make sure they are a really good copy of the real flowers, otherwise it is clearly obvious in the pictures that you went with artificial. The cost of artificial vs real flowers isn’t as different in price as it used to be. So really, go with what you prefer! From The Knot, Q&A on flowers, “But keep in mind that while silk wedding flowers can be more practical than real flowers, they can also be just as expensive, if not more so.”



Gifts and favors for your attendants, bride and groom to each other, and to parents is another way to drop some of the expense. I’m not saying DON’T get them gifts, but instead of purchasing high dollar items that are engraved, make it more personal, and make them yourself. There is nothing better than a heartfelt, well thought out gift made by the ones you love.

                             Handmade Gifts

Your entertainment, food, venue, and photographer are areas you want to make sure you cover. Not just because I am a photographer, but think about this for a second. When you go to someone’s home, after they get married, do you see the images? Do they put the video from the wedding in and you watch it? Do they pull the images up on their computer so you can see them digitally?

Answers to all of those are likely no. If they are not in print, in an album, on the coffee table, it is likely no one will ever see them, unless they follow you on your social media and you have posted them all there (with the permission of the photographer and correct format).

However, an album, now that is something someone will pick up and flip through, for years to come. When it comes to your entertainment, your food, your venue, and your photographer, you get what you pay for. You want experience? You want knowledge? You want professional? You want someone who continues their education? You are going to be paying for all of that in your rate. You want someone who points and clicks and hopes for the best? Well, you will be paying for that too, but at a much different rate….I would hope.  This day will come but once, and can’t be redone. Make sure you trust the one(s) who will be capturing those cherished memories as they will have to last a lifetime.

All of that to say this, figure out what you plan to spend total, and divide it according to the different percentages. From there, make sure you know what you are willing to drop expense on, and what you aren’t. What is most important to you, besides that you at the end of the day you will be married?  If you can drop expense on gifts so you can afford more in venue, then do it. If you can drop expense on flowers so you can afford the photographer’s rates, then do it. If photography isn’t that important to you, then drop there and put it where you need to put it so that you get out of your day, what it is you are wanting. Your wedding doesn’t have to cost $30,000 in order to be perfect for you, but whatever you spend, you want to make sure you stay in your budget, and hopefully this article will help with that.

So, what's included in a photographer? Well, depending on who it is, it may include one or two shooters. Most include a set number of hours depending on the package, some will charge hourly. Ask about mileage expense, meal expense, tolls, permits, parking (if charged at venue), batteries, any other additional expenses that are billed out separately. What, if any, printed items come in the package, what about digital negatives, who owns the rights, what can be done with the digital negatives, how long do you have access to the images? Does the photographer archive, or delete the files after the time frame is up? What about tragedy, how is that covered? (Before and after the wedding) How long does it take to get to see the edited images? Is editing time included? How long after the images are viewed does it take to get printed items (if that is part of the package)? Does the photographer help with ordering items or are you all on your own? Is there an additional fee if you need help with ordering, if it isn't included as part of their service? 

 Need a photographer? You found us! Now….USE US! We love to be used. ;)

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