Planning the perfect wedding doesn’t have to cost a small ransom. At Thumbtack we analyzed data from 750,000 price quotes for the most popular wedding services to find out what couples typically pay – for everything from the DJ to the decorator.
A Breakdown of Wedding Costs
There are a lot of misconceptions about the average cost of a wedding – with plenty of sites claiming that the average price is around $30,000. The truth is, most couples spend far less than this – and the average Thumbtack customer puts on the perfect event for $11,000 or less.
Here’s what couples that used Thumbtack have spent for the most popular wedding services over the last 18 months:
Music Makes the Party
One easy way to save money on your wedding is to hire a DJ, rather than a band. Nationwide, live wedding bands cost 2.5 times more than DJs. The average cost of a DJ is $600 – varying greatly depending on the size of the party, and whether you need the DJ to bring a sound system and lighting.
Hungry Guests Are Not Happy Guests
Catering is another big wedding expense. The national average for wedding catering is $3,000, but this figure varies greatly depending on the size of your wedding, if you have an open bar, what kind of food you serve, and whether it’s a buffet or sit-down dinner. In Los Angeles, for example, sit-down dinners are at least 25 percent more expensive than self-serve buffets.
Capturing the Memories
A wedding photographer is an important expense for many couples.You’ll often find the best deals closer to the wedding date because photographers who aren’t yet booked are willing to give a discount (the same way hotels and airlines discount unused inventory at the last minute). But waiting also means you’ll have fewer options to choose from if you have a particular photography style in mind. Ultimately, the price you pay depends on how long you need the photographer and what kind of photo files or prints you want as keepsakes.
Looking Good for the Camera
Many brides-to-be (and some grooms) choose to get their hair and makeup done professionally. Some just get it for themselves or their close family members, and some want it for the whole wedding party. The price depends on the size of the wedding party,whether you want a pre-wedding trial run, and if you want special add-ons like fake eyelashes and hair extensions.
While these prices cover the main services that most couples want, they don’t include one very important part of the day: the venue. Venue prices can range from several hundred dollars if you book the backyard of an Airbnb home, to hundreds of thousands of dollars if you book the ballroom at a Four Seasons. An experienced wedding planner can save you hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars and help you select the perfect location.
Bottom line: You don’t have to spend a fortune on your wedding to throw a great party. Happy planning!