Wedding planning by the numbers: how much couples spend and on what

Weddings aren't cheap. What do you think is a reasonable amount to spend on one?. PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images

A new survey of thousands of couples reveals just how much people are shelling out for their big day.

“The average cost of a wedding remains close to US$30,000, with couples spending roughly US$250 per guest to attend,” said Andy Whittaker of WeddingWire, the company behind the 2015 Newlywed Report.

That breaks down to a 120-person guest list at a standard wedding. The venue often eats up the largest chunk of the budget, when you look at the money typically spent on vendors:

  • Venue: $8,798
  • Catering: $6,877
  • Band: $3,848
  • Photography: $2,435
  • Rehearsal Dinner: $1,935

While the survey is U.S.-based, the figures are similar to what Canada’s Wedding Bells magazine found in 2015: Canadian couples spend $30,717 on a wedding, including the honeymoon.

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Experts say coming up with a budget is a crucial first step in the planning process, which takes an average of 13 months.

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READ MORE: Wedding Planning 101: What to do as soon as you get engaged

“Brides and grooms should start planning as early as possible to ensure they secure their desired dates and preferred vendors,” Whittaker said.

The most important factors to consider when choosing a vendor include: price, reviews, location and availability.

There are also the costs that come before and after the wedding (those aren’t included in the $30,000 estimate). The average engagement ring cost was just over $4,700, according to the report.

READ MORE: What to spend and how to save on a diamond ring

A honeymoon, meanwhile, can set couples back close to $4,000.

Some are turning to honeymoon registries to help alleviate the costs.

READ MORE: Top destination wedding spots for Canadians and things to consider

Other fun findings from the report include:

  • “All of Me” by John Legend and “Thinking out Loud” by Ed Sheeran are the popular first dance songs right now.
  • 40 per cent of couples are creating their own personalized wedding hashtag.
  • The most popular time to get engaged is in December, on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
  • The top months to get married are: June, May, September, October, August, July.

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