How Much You Can Expect to Spend on a Wedding in 2018

The average cost of a wedding – in old fashioneds – and why some couples are nixing large ceremonies altogether

The average cost of a wedding in the United States? $35,329, according to a 2016 survey conducted by wedding super-site The Knot. That’s enough to cover three years of in-state tuition at UW-Milwaukee. A 20 percent down payment on a $175,000 house. Or 4,156 old fashioneds at Camp Bar.

Unsurprisingly, couples looking to save money are throwing smaller ceremonies, or doing away with them entirely. “More couples are booking courthouses, or intimate celebrations with a few friends and family members,” says Scott Patrick, the owner of Cream City Weddings.

Wedding venues are beginning to see the appeal, too. The Enchanted Barn in Hillsdale now offers a weekday “Elope With Us” package for a fraction of what a more lavish weekend ceremony would cost.

Beyond saving money, some couples want to avoid the stress of a big ceremony or “a long, drawn-out planning period,” Patrick says. Making those thousands of old fashioneds the cherry on top of a great idea.

image by Getty Images

7 Facts About Wedding Gift-Giving

1) $160: Average amount shelled out by guests who give cash

2) Americans spend about $15 billion a year on wedding registry gifts.

3) Kitchen appliances top gift lists. And the Kitchenaid stand mixer is king.

4) 48%: couples who register with one or two companies

5) 15%: couples who register with five or more companies

6) 27% of couples admit to secretly removing registry items.

7) 34% of couples return at least six gifts.

Sources:, Forbes, Field Agent and Slate

‘Free and Easy’ and Gift Giving by the Numbersappears in Milwaukee Weddings 2018.

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.