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Flowers, booze, and venues: 2024 wedding costs hit record highs

"I understand why people go to the courthouse."
The average wedding cost is now $33,000
Ways to keep a dream wedding on budget
Posted at 3:28 PM, Jan 17, 2024

Getting married is more expensive than ever this year, but there are ways to keep even a dream wedding on budget. According to Zola, the average cost of a wedding is around $33,000 for 2024. That price tag can go up or down, depending on where you live.

"The sticker shock is real."
Jason Gonzales

Blayke Roznowski and Jason Gonzales are tying the knot soon. Avid hikers, they've always dreamed of getting married on top of a mountain, but when they first started crunching the numbers, they were faced with some hard choices.

"You're like, okay, maybe we're going to elope."
Blayke Roznowski

From the cost of the venue to logistics, the numbers started adding up fast. "It's to the point where both of us kind of looked at each other and said, do you even want to do this?" Gonzales said. "I understand why people go to the courthouse."

Ultimately, Roznowski and Gonzales decided to move forward with their mountaintop wedding, focusing most of their spending on their top priorities.

Manage your expectations

"Know what your expectations are for your wedding day."
Katie Meckstroth

The Ohio-based wedding planner says communication is also key to organizing a dream wedding that stays on budget. By managing your expectations, you can stay on the same page.

Consider your guest list

"A lot of the cost that comes from the wedding is the amount of people," Meckstroth said.

To start, take a long, hard look at your guest list. "The larger the group is, the more money it costs," said Meckstroth.

Limit the alcohol

Next, when it comes to drinks, remember that the cost of alcohol multiplies fast. "An open bar is not a cheap thing to do," Meckstroth said. She recommends serving a specialty cocktail or providing your guests with just wine and beer.

Pay for your priorities

You can also save money by cutting out the things that aren't important to you. For example, spending more on your pictures while buying a cheaper cake, or hiring a live band, but making your own table centerpieces.

As for Roznowski and Gonzales, they suggest thinking outside the box and not letting traditional expectations hold you back. "There's just not really any hard and fast rules that you have to follow," Roznowski said.

Instead, they encourage other engaged couples to look past the cost and the stress of planning a wedding and focus on what matters the most. "No matter what you do," Gonzales said. "You're gonna remember it for the rest of your life."