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An engagement on the beach

How much does a wedding really cost?

Ollie Rozdarz, Co-Founder of Hitchd
Ollie from Hitchd
Sep 05, 20227 min read

You’re in love and excited about becoming newly engaged. After texting and calling your friends and relatives, you and your partner start to talk about what kind of wedding you’ll have.

Sorry to break it to you, but this is also when you will have to start thinking about your wedding budget. The average cost of a wedding will depend on several factors, including location and guest count and how extravagant or simple you keep things.

Because of how expensive weddings are these days, many brides and grooms are looking for ways to save money and recoup some of their expenses by setting up honeymoon funds, like hitchd.

Hitchd is the best cash fund registry because couples receive 65% more financial contributions than other sites, helping to pay for a honeymoon or pay off a wedding, rather than collect unwanted gifts.

Average cost of a wedding in the United States

It’s well known that a wedding in New York or San Francisco will cost more than a wedding in West Virginia or New Mexico just due to the differences in cost of living.

According to The Knot, the national average wedding cost in 2021 was $28,000, not including the engagement ring. This may be sobering news, considering the median income in the US is $44,225, meaning an average wedding can cost some more than half of their yearly income.

The first thing you and your partner should consider when budgeting for a wedding beyond just the guest list count is what wedding expenses are non-negotiable and what costs you may need to cut or reduce.

The last thing you want to do is put your expenses on credit cards and spend your honeymoon figuring out how you’ll pay off the wedding. Or worse, have such little wiggle room from your wedding costs that you can’t take a honeymoon.

Average cost of large wedding expenses

You have to imagine that while the average cost of a wedding seems high, it’s just that. An average. Some couples will take a minimal approach and end up paying a fraction of that, while others go all out and triple the average cost.

Either way, if you’re planning a wedding with guests, you can expect to pay at least a few thousand dollars.

Below are some of the most common wedding expenses and their average costs

Wedding planner

Many couples choose to plan their wedding on their own, or with the help of their parents, but some couples want a bit more wedding planning support and guidance and decide to hire a wedding planner.

A wedding planner will handle of the details and make arrangements with all of your vendors, as well as be there on the day of your wedding to make sure things are going as planned.

Good wedding planners can charge anywhere from $1500-$5,000.

Reception Venue

Are you going for a laid-back, outdoor park-type wedding, or a grand-ballroom type of party? Will your ceremony and reception be at the same place or will you have a separate reception location? The reception venue will be a major cost to consider when wedding planning.

Wedding venues typically charge rental fees which don’t include costs like tables and chairs or sound systems. Some wedding venues will provide (at extra charge or included in overall costs) catering, while others allow you to choose your own caterer or pick from a list of approved vendors.

The average cost of a wedding venue in the US is about $6,000 but can vary greatly depending on several factors. Your ceremony location (like a church or other religious establishment) may also ask for a donation.

Wedding photographer

Capturing special moments from your wedding like the first dance, cake cutting and exchanging of vows is a must, but good wedding photographers are not cheap, nor should they be.

The average cost of a wedding photographer is between $2,000-$3,000 depending on where you live.

A pro tip is to use the same photographer for your engagement photos as you do for your wedding. They may just give you a discount.

Food and drink

Whether you do a buffet, sit-down dinner or a backyard BBQ, food and drink will quickly add to the cost of a wedding and eat up your wedding budget, pun intended. When budgeting for food and alcohol, you’ll need to determine your guest list count. Most caterers and wedding venues base costs per person.

And don’t forget your wedding cake - does your venue or caterer provide one or will you need to find a bakery on your own?

You can budget about $100 per person for food and drinks (if you do an open bar, which, most people will agree is the right thing to do!) and about $350 for a wedding cake.

Some caterers will charge extra for bartenders, servers and other fees, so be sure to take that into consideration for your budget.


Will you have a live band, a DJ or bring your own music? Music is an important part of any big day and something that many couples feel passionate about. Live bands can cost anywhere from $3,000-$7,000, while a DJ is typically less expensive, charging between $1000-2000.

If you are running out of room in your budget, maybe you consider bringing your own music and speakers.

Hair and makeup

Some brides and grooms try to save money and take care of their own hair and makeup on their wedding day, while others choose to leave it to the professionals. If you are planning on getting your hair or makeup done for your big day, you can expect to pay about $100-150 for each service.


Beautiful floral arrangements and bouquets of flowers go hand-in-hand with unforgettable weddings. You’ll likely need flowers at your ceremony and your venue. If your wedding will include a wedding party, you could expect your floral cost to increase quite a bit.

The average cost of wedding flowers in the US is $1,500-$5,000. We hope they smell as good as they look!

How to reduce your wedding costs or pay for a honeymoon with hitchd

We know what you’re thinking. Eloping sounds really appealing right now.

And we have to admit, there are a lot of pluses to foregoing a wedding. But, before you go jetting off to Vegas, consider ways that you can make back your wedding costs and still enjoy your honeymoon or time together as newlyweds.

Hitchd is the #1 (tasteful) cash fund wedding registry that resulting in higher contributions because guests (or invitees who can’t attend your wedding) feel comfortable giving genorously

Set up inspiring “gifts” for your guests to contribute to

If you’re like the millions of couples who now live together before getting married, you likely don’t need a lot of things for your home (okay, maybe those sheets do need replacing soon).

With hitchd, you can create customized “gifts” that your wedding guests and invitees can contribute to. You can set up a general “house fund” as one of the gifts and choose from a bank of beautiful photos and video clips that depict your desire for that type of wedding gift.

Because weddings are so expensive, you may not have much leftover for a honeymoon. With hitchd, your guests can contribute together to give you the honeymoon of your dreams.

Speak from the heart and direct to your wedding guests

Most cash fund and wedding registry sites don’t allow for customized messaging for each gift.

Say, for example, you want to set up a gift for a concert you want to go to on your honeymoon or staycation after your wedding. Maybe the band is special for you and your partner because it was the first concert you went to together.

You could add that story to your gift. “Your contribution toward our love for music and this band means the world to us! We can’t wait to see this band live as newlyweds and fall in love all over again!”

A simple message lets your guests know how much you care about that gift, and compels them to want to fund it. Even better, they can contribute along with other guests, because you are able to customize the total amount and set increments for contributions.

To make it even more personalized, you can choose from millions of free hi-res photos and video loops or upload your own, beautifully displaying the gifts you really want.

The easiest cash fund for your wedding guests

With hitchd, the funds hit your bank account as soon as your guests make a contribution.

And the best part is that we make it easy for them to do so.

You simply choose how you want to receive money (credit card, PayPal, venmo, etc.) and your guests pay using any of your preferred methods. It’s easy and quick and doesn’t require trying to figure out which gift to buy or where to send gifts.

Show your guests you care with customizable thank you cards

Sure, most registry sites allow you to track who gave you a gift, but only hitchd allows you to send electronic thank you cards (from dozens of beautiful templates) in real-time, but you also have the option to mail physical cards to your guests with your customized message.

You could literally take care of your thank you cards on the flight to Fiji as you sip a glass of champagne. It’s that easy.

Why a cash fund like hitchd is a must in 2022

The world is back open, and after a long couple of years, people are finally ready to travel again. With knowing now how much weddings cost, you may not have a ton left over to travel or do the things as couples you’ve been dreaming of doing for so long.

With hitchd, you can let your guests help take care of your honeymoon, or at least important aspects of it for you. You can set up gifts for specific experiences, travel expenses, luggage, or whatever you want!

To get started on building your dream honeymoon fund, visit today.

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