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Inflation drove up wedding costs, California couples pay $41,000 on average

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Soaring inflation is driving up the cost of nearly everything, including weddings, according to a new report.

Wedding research firm The Knot, in a recent report, found that the national average wedding cost was $35,000 last year, up $5,000 from the previous year. California had the fourth most expensive wedding in the country by state at $41,000.

The most expensive wedding in the nation was in New Jersey at $55,000. This was three times more than the lowest state, which was Utah, at $17,000. New York was next at $49,000, followed by Connecticut., Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont at $44,000.

Happy just married young couple at the first wedding dance
The cost of weddings has been on the rise due to inflation. In California, couples spent an average of $41,000 on weddings last year.

 

The report attributed the overall cost of weddings to record inflation in 2022, which drove up the cost of many wedding-related goods and services.

According to The Knot, wedding budgets vary depending on a variety of factors, including the number of guests, vendors hired, style, and venue. Most notably, couples are investing more in hiring wedding professionals. The cost of hiring a wedding planner as a percentage of total wedding expenses increased from 30% in 2019 to 37% in 2023.

The highest average cost among hired businesses was $12,800 for the reception. This was followed by the wedding ring at $5,500, live band at $4,300, wedding photography at $2,900, florist and liquor at $2,800, and rehearsal/dinner at $2,700.

The report noted that the cost of weddings varies from state to state due to differences in suppliers, shipping costs, labor, etc.

The average wedding cost also varied by guest count.

Fewer than 50 guests averaged $16,700, 50-100 guests $28,300, 150 guests $45,600, and 200 guests $68,800.

The average number of guests last year was 115, down slightly from 117 in 2022. The cost per guest increased from $256 in 2022 to $304 in 2023.

As the cost per guest has increased, small weddings, where couples invite a minimum number of guests, have become more popular to reduce wedding costs. This is because the cost of a wedding photographer or DJ is the same regardless of the number of guests, but the cost of catering, cake, and rentals varies depending on the number of guests, the report analyzed.

The cost of weddings also varies by generation. Millennials spent the most on weddings at $39,400, Gen Z at $25,500, and Gen X at $24,300, with Gen Z favoring small weddings.

Peak and off-peak wedding seasons also differed in cost. The most expensive weddings occurred during the wedding season months between July and September at $35,600, while it was
$34,900 from January to March, $33,900 from April to June, and $34,700 from October to December.

Except for a dip in 2020 due to the pandemic, the average wedding cost remained steady at $28,000 from 2017 to 2022.

When compared to 2019, the year before the pandemic, the average wedding in 2023 cost 25% more.

Experts suggest that in order to reduce wedding costs, couples should start planning early, create a wedding budget, and choose contractors that fit their budget.

BY EUNYOUNG LEE, HOONSIK WOO    [lee.eunyoung6@koreadaily.com]