Weddings Costs in New York

The cost of everything has skyrocketed, and weddings are no exception. As the price of goods and services continues to climb, many vendors have been forced to raise their prices. And just like everything else in New York City, weddings are going to cost more in the city that never sleeps. 

Rated the third most expensive state to have a wedding – with New Jersey being number 1 – a New York wedding typically costs around $42,000, and that is just the average for the state. In my personal experience, a wedding in Manhattan proper costs at least $500 per guest. 

Pre-pandemic Guest Count

According to The Knot, the average guest count in a 2020 wedding was just 66 people, with a pre pandemic wedding hosting around 131 people. Even 2021 was almost double 2020’s numbers with an average of 110 guests. It’s no surprise that weddings cost less in 2020, because the number of people at your wedding highly affects the overall cost.


Due to lifted restrictions and vaccinations, not only are more people being invited to weddings, but more people are RSVPing “yes” this year. And when you are trying to cut costs without compromising too much, my advice – as can be seen with me quoted in this USA Today article – is always the same: cut the guest list.


So what makes the guest count so expensive? Besides the obvious increase in food and drinks, more people will be needed to serve those food and drinks – human labor being one of the most expensive (and necessary) costs of a wedding. Additionally, having a larger number of guests will require more rentals (chairs, linens, glassware, china and silverware), in turn needing more tables and the corresponding centerpieces like florals and candles.

You will also send out more invitations and thank you cards, ceremony programs, and wedding favors for each guest. Additionally, some venues have a ceremony fee in which they charge per person. As you can see, each guest at your wedding requires a lot of extra resources.

What are some ways to cut down the guest list?

No kids. We love kids, but weddings are an adult affair. Many people limit children at these celebrations for other reasons beyond cost, so it’s ok to let your guests know they will need a babysitter that night.

No Plus Ones. Do you want to look back on your wedding photos and think, “who is that?”. No, you want to celebrate with the people you love most, so it’s ok to tell your guests if they aren’t in a long term committed relationship that they can’t have a plus one.

Be Firm with Family. Keep your event intimate. Don’t let family invite people who you barely know. The only people who should be invited to your wedding are people that are important to your future.


As can be seen on my previous blog, THE MOST POPULAR AND SURPRISING WEDDING TRENDS FOR 2022, 2020 taught us to treasure the most important people in our life. Instead of inviting hundreds of people of varying levels of intimacy, many couples are creating a guest focused experience. Focusing on specialty foods, unforgettable entertainment, and personalized messaging and decorations is trending harder than a large impersonal event.

Looking for an expert to help you plan and navigate the expensive and complicated wedding world in New York City? Contact me here.