What it Costs to Get Married in Arkansas
Planning for your big day can quickly result in a lot of budget questions. When it’s time to put Pinterest to paper, you’re probably going to wonder how much dough you'll have to shell out for cake for 100 guests, or whether you got a good deal on that perfect reception venue you booked.
Wonder no more. We’ve done some research and put a price tag on some of the most common services you’ll consider during the planning process. Grab a pen, some paper and a calculator. Here are the average costs from wedding industry analysts* for a bird’s eye view at the economics of being an Arkansas bride.
That must-have dream wedding gown? It’s going to cost about $1,131 — or at least that’s the average price Arkansas brides paid in 2014 (before alterations).
Meanwhile, accessories like headpieces, veils and garters add about $200 to the bill – although these items can vary a lot depending on style and brand. If you opt to have your hair and makeup done professionally, expect to spend another $112.
BUDGET TIP: Don’t be surprised to find your costs exceed the averages in this story by 50-100 percent. Designer labels, luxury and custom products and experienced vendors cost more, plain and simple.
Wedding attire for him averaged $189 for a tuxedo or suit rental in 2014. For accessories like cuff links, cummerbund, tie and shoes, the state’s grooms rang up $94 on average.
By now, you probably already have an idea of the cost of rings in Arkansas (the average engagement ring coming in at $3,048), no matter where you land on the spending spectrum. Wedding bands can be a bit more of a mystery. In 2014, soon-to-be newlyweds spent an average of $1,094 on their bands.
Invites & Stationery
Wedding stationery is one of those categories that brides can choose to either add in a zillion little beautiful details or keep it simple with just the basics. Couples in 2014 spent about $104 on save-the-dates, $216 on invitations, $101 on postage and $108 on ceremony programs. Throw in engagement announcements, reception menus, escort cards, thank you cards and a guest book and you're looking at a total of about $950.
You know that rustic décor obsession that took the world by storm? We believe that a thing or two in common with the low averages we found in wedding floral spending. Still if you're looking for florals that run the full gamut (think: boutonnieres, corsages, bridal and maid bouquets, arrangements and centerpieces), you're looking at about $1,189 on average. Be prepared to tack on another $100 for flower girl expenses while you're at it.
PICK YOUR POSEY: Stay open to a color palette instead of specific flower types. That way, your floral expert might be able to get you more blossoms for your buck by avoiding ordering costly out-of-season flowers. Click here for a cheat sheet on which blooms are in season.
For a grand getaway in a limo, expect an average rental fee of about $437. Rather ride away in an antique car or horse carriage? That’ll run you about $464.
Catering & Alcohol
Many venues blend catering costs and rental fees, charging a per-person rate. Hotels, conference centers, restaurants and country clubs are among the venues that often require brides to spend a minimum amount on food and drink.
At these venues, Arkansas brides spent an average of $4,425 on reception food service. On top of that, Arkansas wedding bar tabs came in at about $2,212 on average.
What you're looking for in a dream cake can have a huge effect on pricing. Whether you want lots of layers, fancy fondant or custom creations, be prepared to add a bit more to your bill with each new request. In 2014, each Arkansas bride spent about $391 on her ideal dessert.
Back in 2012, we asked some bakeries around the state to share the prices per serving for basic flavors and icing versus fondant and custom designs.
- Basic: $3-$4/per serving
- Fondant: $4-$5/per serving
DON’T BE SURPRISED: Those surveyed said they charge extra for delivery – about $40 or more – depending on the distance, a rate which has probably risen in the past few years.
Again, this is a category that can vary greatly, but Arkansas brides on average spent $3,333 on event locations in 2014. Garden venues usually cost just a bit more than chapel rentals (depending on church membership), as more setup is involved. Whether you opt for Justice of the Peace, ordained friend or family member, pastor or minister, rabbi or priest, Arkansas brides paid about $191 for a ceremony officiant.
Remember, this doesn't include food or rental costs. If you need chairs, tables, settings, etc, be prepared for the average price tag of $1,597. A hotel room after the reception will cost you about $284, and rehearsal dinners run at about $527.
MAKE SURE TO ASK: Getting married on Saturday? So is everyone else. Opt for a less common day – like Friday or Sunday – to get a discounted rate on your dream venue.
Every year, when we ask our brides the one thing they splurged on (or wish they had), their answer is almost always photography, and with no regrets. Your photos will be the main mementos you reach for to remember the day you said, “I do,” and trust us, your cousin’s point-and-shoot isn’t going to do your big day justice.
On average, prepare to spend about $1,509 on a wedding photographer in Arkansas, another $289 on the digital files and $216 on prints/enlargements. And yes, that's about your basic wedding photography package, and no, it doesn't include the engagement session.
Brides who were ready for their big screen debut spent an average of $971 for Arkansas videographers to capture their weddings on camera in 2014, another favorite we hear more and more brides swear by.
Ready to get your groove on? Ditch the iPod and leave it to the professionals. Couples can expect to pay about $547 for a musician/soloist/ensamble, $644 for a DJ and $1,517 for a live band. Well-known party bands (includes three hours of live music and emcee service and audio equipment) can run much higher, plus travel fees.
Gifts & Gratuity
The sky is the limit when it comes to your choice of showering friends and family with love. In 2014, couple spent an average of $213 on wedding favors, with a total of $420 in gifts overall. When it came to tipping vendors and providers, $351 was the average across the board.
And the total comes to…
On average, Arkansas brides spent $21,164 on their 2014 weddings.
Here’s a regional look at average wedding costs for couples that live in or near:
- Eureka Springs: $19,498
- Fayetteville: $22,928
- Hot Springs: $20,706
- Jonesboro: $22,043
- Little Rock: $24,396
- Pine Bluff: $19,521
- Rogers: $26,563
- Texarkana: $20,534
* Data from TheWeddingReport.com’s 2014 Wedding Statistics & Industry Market Estimates for Arkansas.