The Real Cost of a 2014 Wedding

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This past year I’ve embarked on planning a wedding. A large venture – both financially and otherwise. After many conversations with friends and family, one thing has made itself very clear. Times have changed. What once was on average a $10,000 affair has quickly quadrupled in cost. And I know what some of you are thinking, “Don’t have a wedding! Save the money you would get from guests and buy a house!” Well, how does one receive monetary gifts without hosting a wedding? Hmm? And it’s not just that. Weddings are a fun way to celebrate! And many parents insist on having a wedding that was just as beautiful – if not more – than theirs. But if that’s the case, there’s a price to pay. And as wedding season is upon us, I feel it is my responsibility to inform guests just what went into the couple’s big day. I do not feel it is guest’s responsibility or obligation to contribute beyond their means or cover the cost of their meal. But I do think it’s important for guests to have a full understanding of what goes into planning a wedding. And also a perspective on why the bride and groom weren’t able to invite their childhood babysitters or father’s, sister’s in-laws. Here’s a breakdown of what a wedding costs per guest these days for an average of 140 guests. This list is related to guest experience alone and does not include dress/groom’s tuxedo cost as well as bridesmaids/groomsmen gifts among other small (but costly) details.

Invitations: $300-$800. For 100 stamps alone it is well over $100.

Ceremony Fee: $800 – $1,000

Venue Fee: $3000 – $5,000

Florist: $1000 – $2,000 ($100 for a aisle filled with flower pedals)

Itinerary Card: $120

Reception Dinner: $12,000 – $15,000 (including late-night snacks about $100/person)

Chair Rentals: $1,000 – $1,500 ($8/$10 a chair)

Open Bar Alcohol: $4,000-$8,000

Wedding Cake: $300-$700

Favours: $200-$400

Reception DJ: $900


On average a wedding is about $210 per guest. I am anticipating lots of comments like “Why would anyone pay that much?” and “This is ridiculous!” but in reality, who doesn’t love a wedding? A time to see family you haven’t seen in years, enjoy a good meal and have a good dance party? And even the most basic wedding these days comes with a price tag. So, this summer keep these numbers in mind while you help celebrate the newlyweds!