Is This REALLY How Much It Costs To Get Married?

Photographed by Winnie Au.
We all know weddings are expensive. But just how much do people shell out for their "I Dos"? A little over $12,000 according to a new study — which actually sounds like a much lower number than we were expecting. Thumbtack, an online service that connects consumers with professionals, just released its Annual Wedding Trends Report, which includes information about the cost of weddings and trends in hairstyles, photography, and more. It found that the amount an average American couple will spend on a wedding was about $12,189. That number is much lower than previous estimates — specifically compared to The Knot's most recent Real Weddings Study, which found that the average cost of an American wedding was $31,213. That's almost a $20,000 difference! Thumbtack says there are "misconceptions" about all those $30K weddings. "At Thumbtack, we analyzed data from more than 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," the study says.
The end result is a list of wedding "essentials," which comprises a scant 12 must-haves: hair styling, an officiant, a band, limo, catering, and a few more. Meanwhile, The Knot's list has all those items, but also includes several others. For example, the wedding dress, which most brides would probably agree is also an essential. The Knot also included the groom's outfit and accessories, the cost of a florist, venue fees, and several other expenses, like an engagement ring. This difference in wedding cost also varies by city. Both Thumbtack and The Knot say New York City is the most expensive place to get married. Beyond that, there isn't much common ground. When you break down which "essentials" make up each list, it explains the massive disparity between the final costs determined by the studies. But it also brings up another interesting question: Just what wedding accoutrements do most American couples consider necessary to their big day?

More from Living

R29 Original Series