I promised in the reader survey that I’d take your comments to heart and actually use them to make this wedding blog for couples in the DC area better. In turn, hopefully it will make your wedding planning process easier. Because, let’s face it, planning a wedding in the DMV is not easy, or cheap! The number one thing that you told me in the survey (besides more DIY!) is that you wanted to know more about budgets. You wanted to know the nitty-gritty financials of the real DC area weddings that we feature. I’ve done a few posts over the past weeks on finances, so hopefully you’ve noticed! And, today, here is one more! How much does having a wedding in the DC area really cost?
Before we get started, I must share one thing about United With Love that many of you asked in the reader survey. The reason that we don’t post real budgets along with our real DC area wedding features is out of respect for the couples that we feature. Most couples aren’t comfortable with sharing detailed budget information. The amount of money that a couple spends on their wedding is a very personal choice. Prior to each real wedding feature, we interview each couple and almost all of them don’t answer the budget question, and those that do answer ask that we not share their budget information. I completely understand and respect their choice, and this is why we don’t share real wedding budget info.
Back to the task at hand. How much does a wedding in DC, Maryland and Virginia cost? You aren’t going to like my answer. The truth is, I have no idea! No one has any idea what a wedding in the DC area, or any area of the country will cost. I – and just about any wedding professional – can give you predictions and averages, which I will in a bit. But, predicting an overall arbitrary budget for a wedding is almost impossible.
Budgets vary greatly depending on priorities of the couple, total number of guests, fashion selections, vendor choices, food and drink options, rentals and everything in between. Adding a single guest to your wedding can easily add $300 to the cost of a wedding at a hotel in downtown DC. A couple can have a wedding at the Hay Adams in DC for 100 people and spend just as much as a couple who hosts 200 people for a wedding at Glen Echo Park. To that end, a recent survey from Splendid Insights revealed that staying on budget is not a top priority for half of the couples who are planning a wedding.
The cost of your wedding in the DC area is what you can afford to spend and, most importantly, are comfortable with spending. I do recommend that you settle on some type of an overall budget and then you can design your wedding around that number. I know it seems impossible to do in the DMV, but you can spend as little or as much as you want on your wedding. You can spend under $10,000 on a wedding and you can spend over $100,000 on a DC area wedding. It all comes down to your priorities and choices. In fact, this is the reason that United With Love was started. We wanted to feature real weddings – and the vendors who make it happen – for wedding in all budget ranges and style choices – not just the really big, expensive ones.
I reviewed a few different online sources (Theknot.com, Splendidinsights.com, Costofwedding.com, Weddingwire.com) and found that the average couple in the U.S. spends around $25,000 to $29,000 on their wedding. In the Washington, DC area, the average couple spends around $30,000 to $35,000 on their wedding ceremony and reception. The same $32,500 average cost is true for weddings in downtown DC, Baltimore, Charlottesville, Annapolis, Northern Virginia and parts of Maryland. The average cost includes all of big and small ticket items like venues, fashion, food, drink, transportation, but doesn’t include the honeymoon.
The Knot conducts a real wedding survey each year and in 2011 the Washington DC area (including DC, Northern Virgina and Maryland Suburbs) was the 10th most expensive area in the country to host a wedding. Baltimore was number 12 on that list. The most expensive place to get married is New York City at $65,000, while the least expensive is West Virginia at $14,000.
So what does all of this tell you? Planning and hosting a wedding anywhere in the country is expensive! But, just be glad we don’t live in NYC!
If you need wedding budget help, be sure to read up on my tips for saving money at your wedding in the DC area.
Please read the follow up to this post with more budget help for planning a wedding in the metro DC area!