Oscar De La Renta said it best:
“Luxury to me is not about buying expensive things; it’s about living in a way where you appreciate things.”
We love this quote because we genuinely believe luxury means something different to each of us– especially regarding weddings.
Whether luxury looks like an intimate gathering on a beach in Mexico or a 300-person event on Lake Como, our goal is to create your vision of luxury on your wedding day.
It’s also our job to pop the bubble and be honest with you: your wedding may be the most expensive celebration you have in your lifetime.
But why is it so expensive?
Inflation. The photographer you would hire for $8,500 is now $15,000+. And the same goes for many other goods and services, especially venue rentals and food.
And if you’re planning a wedding for 2025 or 2026, the average cost will be even higher because the longer your planning period, the more time there will be for prices to increase.
No need to worry, though. As professional planners in Washington, DC (and worldwide), we know A LOT about the cost of DC weddings.
So…how much does a Washington DC cost now?
What about 2025 or 2026? Well, we’re not fortune tellers. But we suggest you budget between $1,500 and $2,000 per guest.
These 5 factors determine the cost of Washington DC weddings.
Your wedding venue is one of the most expensive parts of a wedding. There are various venues in Washington DC, with various styles and costs. Whatever your budget, your venue (including food and alcohol) should be about 40% + of your total budget. Your total should include service fees and sales tax. If you are planning to have a tented wedding, the costs per guest is subject to increase.
Remember that $1,500 – $2,000 per guest budget when choosing your guest list. Is your mom’s coworker from 15 years ago or your childhood babysitter really worth that much? If they are, great! But we bet you’ll probably have a few people on the original list who don’t make it to the final guest count.
The time of year is a huge factor in the price for DC weddings. Late May to early October is peak wedding season, though holidays and special events like the cherry blossoms in March are also popular. During these seasons, the cost of your venue will be higher.
Similarly, the day of the week also plays an important role. Saturdays are the most sought-after, followed by Fridays and Sundays. Depending on the venue, the difference between a Friday and a Saturday wedding may be pretty significant.
The longer your planning timeline, the more likely you will run into increased prices due to inflation. So book your most essential vendors as early as you can!
Most wedding vendors will honor the price listed on your contract once you’ve signed. Talk to your vendors about their policies to ensure you’re not stuck with increased prices a few months before your wedding day. The price you’re committing to now may already account for inflation in a year or two.
Who’s your wedding planner?
Your wedding planner will help you save money while planning your wedding rather than overspend. We know many wedding vendors and venues in the DC area and can help you make the best decisions for your vision and wedding budget.
Here’s a vendor breakdown for Washington DC weddings.
Keep in mind no two weddings cost the same. Some couples may spend more on transportation for guests and less on extras like desserts. Here are the actual numbers from 2 B Astonished Events couples.
3 tips for setting a budget for your Washington DC wedding
1. Decide the # of guests first
At least have a range so you can get a ballpark price when you look at venues. You can also request pricing for different guest counts to compare.
2. Create “must-have” and “would like” lists
Decide what’s most important and not-so-important. Does your dream wedding include live musicians at your ceremony? Put that on the “must-have” list. If you don’t really care about cake, put that on the “would like” list. Then, when you begin speaking with vendors, you can compare your two lists and decide what to put a little extra towards.
3. Don’t look at websites like WeddingWire for accurate pricing
Not to say that these statistics aren’t accurate, but they’re not reliable. Often, these studies include ALL weddings, from the $5,000 elopement to the $500,000 multi-day wedding.
Most weddings collected in that data cost way less than $100,000+, so the “average wedding cost” you’re seeing on blogs like Wedding Wire is likely too low. The same goes for “average prices” on similar websites.
Instead of searching for resources like these, talk to vendors and friends to get more accurate pricing for your vision and guest size.
The bottom line is speak with vendors who have experience with weddings of your size and budget!
Explore our website for more DC wedding planning tips and resources. Here are some quick links!