How much does the average wedding cost?

When you add up everything, you may be surprised.

Published: Jan 23 2014 08:30:42 AM EST
Wedding costs
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

From the dress, to the flowers and the food, weddings can cost a pretty penny. So just how much is the average wedding these days?

69 News put our recent bride, Melanie Falcon, to the task of finding out.

First, she started out by asking some brides at the Jenks Bridal Show at Rauch Fieldhouse in Bethlehem, how much they thought.

"Maybe around $10,000 or $20,000," said the recently engaged Lyndsay Gruver.

"$50,000," guessed bride Jamie Ruane.

Trisha Bready paused and thought, saying, "Probably $20,000?"

Edwin Pena, a groom who's engaged to Angela Reppert said, "Probably between 10 and 15-grand," but he was quickly corrected by his fiancé, who said "I think 20 to 25."

Another bride, Ashlyn Kent, simple said, "Too much probably!"

So while the guesses at this bridal show were all over the map, the average is pretty concrete.

According to wedding website theknot.com, the national average is $28,400.

And according to costofwedding.com, using WFMZ's zip code, the average in the Lehigh Valley is just under $28,000.

So where does all that money go?

Using Lehigh Valley numbers, the biggest expenses are venue, food, and rentals-- averaging over $12,000.

That's followed by the rings, coming in at $4,300.

Next up is photography. "There's nothing with a bigger variable. You could literally find a photographer in the $800 range and, without doubt in the Lehigh Valley, you could find a photographer in the $8,000-plus range," said Wesley Barrett, owner of Wesley Works. Don't forget that wedding video. Combined-- the average is over $3,000.

Next up, every bride's favorite part- the dress! "The sky is the limit when it comes to bridal gowns," said Suzanne Giovino, owner of Jon's Bridal by Suzanne.

Fortunately, however, the average isn't sky high. "Our average cost I would say is right between the $1200 and $1500 range, and that would probably incorporate her veil or headpiece," explained Giovino.

Count the alterations and jewelry, and saying yes to the dress will cost you an average of $1,700.

Next on the list are flowers and decorations, adding up to over $1,600.

Then don't forget things like your DJ or band ($1,380), invitations ($860), gifts and favors (nearly $700), and of course, the cake.

The average for a cake is "anywhere between $400 and $600 depending," said Michelle Quier, owner of Granny Schmidt's Custom Cakes. She said she's done everything from smaller cupcake weddings to more extravagant cakes.

Then, there's makeup, hair, tuxedos, limos, programs… and the list goes on!

"There's so much that you don't know you need to look at until --it's all overwhelming," said bride Ashlyn Kent.

However, it doesn't have to be overwhelming, and it doesn't have to cost anywhere near the average to be awesome.

Just remember to have fun planning your big day!