Congratulations on your engagement! If you got engaged recently, you have probably started the process of planning for your wedding. Whether your budget is large or small, you are probably curious and maybe concerned about wedding costs.

If you read wedding websites and magazines, you might have heard that the average wedding in the United States costs about $28,000. If this number sounds exorbitant to you, then you’re not alone! You have to remember that these figures are counting on people who are members of these sites and subscribers to these magazines to report what they’re spending, and chances are good that these particular brides are spending more than those who don’t join wedding websites. Also, remember that when you are dealing with averages, a handful of couples who spend a much higher amount can skew the figure.

As Will Oremus, writer for points out, in 2011, when the average wedding cost over $27,000, the median wedding cost was actually about $18,000. If you look at the median cost, then you can see that half of bridal couples spent more, and half of bridal couples spent less. Some considerably more, and some considerably less.

Still, if you’re newly engaged, you’re probably wondering what things cost. Here are a few averages. Keep in mind that “average” does not equal “what most people spend.” All statistics are from

  • Wedding Gown The average wedding gown costs a little more than $1,000. This does not include alterations, veil or accessories. You can save money on a wedding gown by choosing something simple or by checking out vintage or thrift shops. Keep in mind that if you go the used route, you will probably still have to pay for alterations.
  • Tuxedo Rental Your fiance has it easy; in most cases, grooms rent their tuxedos and accessories. The average cost for last year was just $111. If your man prefers to buy his tux, he’s looking at an average of under $300.
  • Wedding Entertainment The average cost here was $1,300. Bands tend to cost more than wedding DJs.
  • Invitations If you were just getting invitations printed, then you could expect to spend an average of about $250, plus $85 for postage. If you’re sending out save-the-date cards, engagement announcements and all the rest, though, this price will go up substantially. Remember that there are various budget printers available now that can allow you to save money here.
  • Limo If you’re planning on hiring a limousine, plan to spend an average of $487. You can cross this off your list entirely if you are looking for a place to cut costs, though.
  • Reception The average reception cost about $10,500 last year. This includes over $4,000 for food, about $2,200 for alcohol, a little over $2,500 for the reception venue and $1,400 for various other rentals, such as chairs, silverware and wine glasses.
  • Photography and Videography The average wedding photographer charged $1,777 for the wedding day itself, on top of any engagement photos and of course the prints themselves. Wedding videographers charge an average of about $1,200, plus the cost of the edited CD.
  • Honeymoon This, of course, varies widely, but the average spent last year was $3,700.

If these numbers are discouraging, remember that you can spend whatever you are able to on your wedding. Whether you are striving for the fairy tale wedding of your dreams or you are content with a small ceremony and simple reception, the ball is in your court when it comes to establishing and sticking to a wedding budget. Don’t feel as though you have to spend what’s “average.” Just spend what you and your spouse-to-be can, and focus on living happily ever after