Think Weddings Are Expensive Now? Just Wait

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The average cost of a wedding in the United States now tops $31,000, according to’s latest annual Real Weddings Study.

That’s well over half the average U.S. household income, which is just less than $52,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest “Income and Poverty in the United States” report. Yet wedding costs could climb even higher this year if wedding trend predictions are any indication.

Industry experts tell ABC News that those predictions include costs that range from destination weddings abroad to multiple dresses per bride.

Wedding locales are forecast to be focused on the unique or the exotic. Examples of unique locations include summer camps, ranches, mountaintop lodges and rustic retreats. Exotic locations mean destination weddings in countries such as Italy, Spain and Mexico.

(Of course, it’s possible to get creative without breaking the bank. Check out “10 Cheaper and Better Wedding Venues.”)

As for the bride’s ensemble, the so-called “third dress” is a thing — and it’s apparently catching on. Women partaking in the trend select one dress for their ceremony, a second for the reception and a third for the after-party.

Grace Ormonde, editor-in-chief of Wedding Style and, told ABC:

For the past few years, we have seen the trend of brides opting for a second wedding dress. Brides are now introducing a third look into their wedding day wardrobes. Sexy is in, and brides are expressing their confidence and individuality through their third looks. Designers like Ines Di Santo, Galia Lahav and Berta are favorites amongst brides looking to make a chic statement.

So now we’re expected to move from a wedding dress to wedding wardrobe?

Ceremony decor is also becoming more elaborate with the addition of glass and mirror elements. For receptions, a social atmosphere is the prevailing trend prediction, which can mean intimate set-ups and family-style food. Fortunately, decor and food are among “4 DIY Wedding Ideas” that we’ve broken down for you.

Of course, for trendy brides who feel they need three dresses and an elaborate shindig, advancing technology is now being harnessed to document their special day. editor Jamie Miles told ABC:

Some photographers are getting in on the action by using drones to capture aerial shots, like the view of your ceremony from overhead and the amazing scenery. Videographers are doing it too by bringing along GoPro cameras to the wedding in addition to their video cameras.

If you’re looking for more ways to keep costs down, check out 15 Ways to Save Big on Your Dream Wedding. If you’re already married, tell us how you kept costs down by sharing a comment below or on our Facebook.

Now, here’s a video that every pending bride and groom should see:

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