There’s nothing like Black love! The heart, soul and the beauty of Black couples coming together at the altar to say “I do” on their special day is breathtaking. While the cost of a wedding in the U.S. is steadily on the rise (right now the average wedding cost is $29,195), you might not be sweating the cost if you have a large budget, of say $1 million, to work with. 

21Ninety is exploring what different wedding budgets can afford a couple in 2024 based on wedding planner’s expert opinions. Our team focused on major cities and asked planners to weigh in on venue, food, florals, entertainment, and attire for specific price points.

This series will focus on three budgets: $60,000, $400,000 and $1 million.

$1 Million in New York City

21Ninety spoke with wedding planner extraordinaire, Lauren Dickens, owner and chief creative officer of Elle Audrey about what a couple might get with a $1 million budget. Based in the New York tri-state area, Dickens and her team at Elle Audrey specialize in luxury event planning, design and production. In densely populated New York City, wedding costs are some of the most expensive in the country, with average prices in NYC and the surrounding areas around $150,000 to $200,000, Dickens says.

“A million dollars can go a long way in Manhattan, the outer boroughs and surrounding areas and would be considered an ultra luxury wedding,” Dickens said. 

In the past 15 years, since she began her career in wedding planning, Dickens says wedding budgets have grown exponentially. 

“There has also been a huge price increase post-covid, and with inflation, there have been price increases across the board, including the cost of labor,” she said. “People have also gotten very competitive and want to outshine each other – bigger and better than the last.”  


If a client has $1 million to spend, Dickens recommends premier New York City venues such as The Pierre, Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center, The Pool, Cipriani or Guastavino’s, which are all located in Manhattan.


With a $1 million, Dickens says a couple would see a wide range of high-end quality food, with a full top shelf open bar. Cocktail hour would be full and overflowing, with a range of seafood, quality meats and elaborate food displays. The reception would have a multi-course meal starting with a warm or cold appetizer, followed by an intermezzo, a variety of main course selections and ending with a decadent dessert.


Dickens estimates that floral and decor would range from $300,000 – $400,000 or more. This would include bridal party flowers, boutonnières for groomsmen, flowers for the flower girl and any floral arrangements at the reception.


Nowadays, Dickens says that most couples are opting for bands or band/DJ combos and layers of entertainment throughout the evening. Clients spending a $1 million might consider a string quartet or a live singer during the ceremony and maybe a celebrity performance during reception. 

Wedding Attire

With a $1 million budget, Dickens says that a couple would be able to afford everything they want and could possibly imagine for their big day. For men, this might include a high-end, traditional matching tuxedo or trousers and a formal dinner jacket. Women might opt for custom-made or luxury wedding dresses, as well as an outfit change for the wedding reception.