There are a lot of questions that come up for couples during the wedding planning process—whether that’s questions about which type of wedding venue to book, whom to ask to be in the wedding party, or how to find the perfect wedding photographer.
But, out of all of the questions that may come up while planning a wedding in the coming year, the question that comes up the most for couples is, without a doubt, “How much do weddings cost in 2022?”
For Zola’s First Look Report, we asked over 3,300 engaged individuals for their insights into all things wedding planning, including how much they’re planning to spend. Let’s take a look at what they had to say—and what weddings will really cost in 2022:
Let’s jump right into it—what will the average wedding cost in 2022?
And the answer is: it depends.
According to the survey, 28 percent of couples are budgeting between $10,000 and $20,000 for their big day—making that budgetary range the most common for a wedding in 2022. But, as a whole, the amount that couples were willing to pay for their weddings were all over the map—with budgets ranging from $5,000 all the way to $100,000-plus.
For example, 16 percent of couples budgeted less than $10,000 for their wedding, which could, for example, cover costs for a backyard ceremony or a small celebration at a local recreation center. But, 12 percent of couples budgeted between $50,000 and $100,000 for their wedding, which would, in most places, take care of an event at an upscale wedding venue for a sizable guest list. And two percent of respondents budgeted over $100,000 for their wedding, which, depending on the wedding size, could pay for a destination wedding in some of the world’s most exclusive locales.
And even when couples have a wedding budget in mind, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the amount they ultimately pay for their wedding will align with that budget. A whopping 70 percent of couples are spending more on their 2022 weddings than originally planned. And, while some of the reasons for going over-budget are more evergreen (for example, underestimating how much they’ll need to spend), others are more 2022-specific—like supply chain issues driving up the cost of wedding-related items.
The bottom line is that there is no “average” cost for a wedding; your wedding costs will depend on what kind of wedding you want to have (and how well you stick to your budget). In 2022, you can plan an unforgettable wedding, no matter what kind of budget you’re working with.
Now that you understand how much couples are budgeting for their weddings in 2022, let’s jump into how they plan to cover those costs.
The most common way that couples are paying for their weddings in 2022 is by sharing the costs with their parents and/or in-laws. However, more couples are opting to pay for the wedding themselves, with 37 percent of survey respondents reporting that they’re planning to pay for everything related to their wedding entirely on their own. Six percent of respondents have even gotten second or third jobs to cover wedding costs!
Some couples are also becoming strategic to cover wedding costs; eight percent of respondents said they were optimizing credit cards to pay for their wedding (for example, by using a card that offers cash back or points that they can utilize for their honeymoon).
Sticking to a wedding budget is important; however, in 2022, many couples are willing to splurge a bit, particularly if those splurges will make their big day more fun, engaging, and memorable for them and their guests.
When asked as to which category they’d be willing to spend more in order to get exactly what they want, 73 percent of respondents cited the wedding photographer as their ultimate splurge. Sixty percent said that they’d be willing to splurge on an open bar, while 55 percent and 47 percent would spend more on their wedding venue and attire, respectively.
Weddings are a significant expense for couples, but, in 2022, couples are also thinking about what comes after the wedding—and are budgeting accordingly.
Other financial priorities for couples in 2022 include starting a family (23 percent of couples are putting aside money to cover the costs associated with starting a family, including fertility treatments), paying off debt (47 percent are budgeting for student loans, while 25 percent are working towards paying down other debt), a car (39 percent), and medical expenses (10 percent).
When you’re planning your wedding, it’s only natural to wonder what other couples are paying for their weddings. If the wide range of wedding budgets in 2022 has anything to teach us, it’s this: There is no “perfect” price for a wedding. Instead, set a budget that you’re comfortable with—and then use that budget to plan the perfect wedding for you.