High Cost of Modern Weddings Gets Even Higher

By: Kaydee Ambas · May 31, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Delayed Demand

Date nights and vacations weren’t the only things being put on hold during the pandemic. Many happy couples postponed their big days as well. Who wants to have a wedding party when all your loved ones are mandated to stay at home?

Now those dream weddings are finally happening — and they’re more expensive than ever. Couples who couldn’t get married during the pandemic are bidding up the prices of venues, DJs, and wedding cake. Additionally, with social media timelines teeming with people tying the knot, some may feel unspoken pressure to make sure their special day stands out.

The US wedding services industry boomed 10% to $71 billion in 2022. This may be great news for vendors, but it’s not ideal for brides, grooms, or wedding guests across the country.

Average Wedding Costs

Currently, the median cost of a wedding is $10,000, give or take, according to a recent SoFi survey.

In addition to pent-up demand, the price hike has been magnified as wedding vendors raise costs to keep pace with inflation. What’s more, the costs may only continue to rise. In a recent survey, 77% of wedding vendors said they plan on raising rates in 2023.

DJs, makeup artists, and florists have all raised their rates since 2019 — by 25%, 20%, and 20% respectively. Interestingly, the only wedding cost to consistently decline is the groom’s attire, as many today opt to be married in casual fits rather than black tie.

Navigating Scale Skew

Both throwing and attending a wedding can be dangerous for your budget, thanks to a concept known as “scale skew.” Scale skew refers to the phenomenon of losing track of costs when you’re already spending a lot of money.

In other words, you might normally balk at a $500 expense. But if you’re planning a wedding that already costs $25,000, what’s another $500 if it means imbibing from a fun champagne fountain you found on TikTok?

This can also apply to guests, who may not be on the hook for an open bar, but still may feel pressure to spend big on wedding gifts, attire, and accommodations. In fact, the cost of attending a wedding is pretty eye-popping these days, too.

When planning big events like a wedding, being aware of scale skew can help you keep costs in perspective and limit your spending. Your wedding may be the proverbial best day of your life. But the next day can be pretty great too, so long as you don’t have to spend it digging out of a deep financial hole.

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