Wedding Finances...
Fully Engaged Statement #139:
Of the last 30,000 couples that answered this statement on the Fully Engaged inventory, 90% answered "No," 6% were "Unsure" and 3% answered "Yes." While it may seem as if only a hand full are concerned about the cost at this point (before the wedding), it is not so after all is said and done. Current studies have narrowed down who pays to: Bride's parents 44 percent; Groom's parents 13 percent; the Couple 42 percent. (May 25, 2017). So, maxed out credit cards, borrowing from 401-Ks, taking out loans after-the-fact or parents dipping into their retirement to help out are commonplace.

What our job, as Mentors, is to help couples prioritize the wedding ceremony as one of their expression of their faith and help them to understand that they can have a beautiful, meaningful wedding without going into debt. That is why it is extremely important to work with our couples early in the preparation process, before they have already purchased or arranged for some of the elaborate details that drive the costs up so high.
Cost of a Wedding
I've been keeping track of this for years and watched the cost of weddings go up and down with the economy. I've seen statistics as high as $46,000 (including dress and honeymoon) and seen dramatic dips like the one cited below.

Here's a few of the latest statistics :

  • Average Wedding Cost: $33,931
  • Most Expensive Place to Get Married: NY - Manhattan - $96,910
  • Least Expensive Place to Get Married: Idaho - $16,366
  • Average Wedding Gown Spend: $1,631
  •  Average cost of libations -$2,564
  • Average catering cost per guest - $70
  • Average Marrying Age: Women, 29.1; Men, 30.5
  • Average Number of Guests: 136
  • Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)
  • Average Engagement Length: 13.6 months
  • Most Popular Month to Get Married: September (18%)
  • Top 5 Popular Wedding Colors: Ivory/Champagne (33%), Dark Blue & Burgundy/Wine (tie at 29%), Gold (27%) and Light Pink (23%)
  • Percentage of Destination Weddings: 23%

The good news in this study is they found the majority of Gen Z respondents (87%) reported seeing themselves getting married in the future.
Pope Francis' advice about weddings:
"Make [your wedding] a real celebration – because marriage is a celebration – a Christian celebration, not a worldly feast! … What happened in Cana 2,000 years ago, happens today at every wedding celebration: that which makes your wedding full and profoundly true will be the presence of the Lord who reveals himself and gives his grace. It is his presence that offers the 'good wine', he is the secret to full joy, that which truly warms the heart.

"It is good that your wedding be simple and make what is truly important stand out. Some are more concerned with the exterior details, with the banquet, the photographs, the clothes, the flowers…These are important for a celebration, but only if they point to the real reason for your joy: the Lord's blessing on your love." -          
—Address to engaged couples in Rome, February 14, 2014
Resources available from
The USCCB's website: has great resources to help couples plan a budget for their wedding, ways to save money and others. Check it out!