The Cost of Weddings Has Reached a New High
3:50 pm, March 11th | by Colette McIntyre
Before this dissolves into the same type of fight I had with an engaged classmate in a gender studies course (I used the word “capitalism” a lot…it was a long tirade), let me first say this: I understand a wedding’s appeal. I have been known to sit down to a long (often guilt inducing) marathon of Say Yes to the Dress, only to change the channel, notice that My Fair Wedding is on, and spend three additional hours with David Tutera and his “world class sense of style.” Weddings are pure fantasy, the closest the average woman gets to starring in her own Julia Roberts movie — I get it and I’ve repinned it. But this year’s Real Weddings survey from TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com has convinced me that my gender theory-laden diatribe against the wedding-industrial complex wasn’t that far off the mark.
After surveying nearly 20,000 brides on wedding budget, preferred style, and other miscellaneous ceremony details, the Real Wedding study found that the average 2012 wedding, excluding the honeymoon, cost $28,427, the highest dollar amount since 2008. As BusinessInsider points out, that total is just a few thousand dollars shy of what the average homeowner drops on a downpayment.
What’s responsible for the spike? Surprisingly, it’s not the wedding dress: brides spent $1,200 on their dress last year, which is just a $100 increase from 2011. To offer some context, most couples spent double that amount on the reception band alone.
The real culprit is the location; brides reported spending $800 more on the location of their ceremony than in previous years. About half of the wedding budget — $13,000 — went to covering venue costs. The second highest expense was the engagement ring, which cost more than $5,400 on average. In case you are currently contemplating where to tie the knot, try to steer clear of the Big Apple: New York City is the most expensive place to get married, with Manhattanites spending more than $76,000 on their ceremony.
And because some of you really love these sort of things (cough Sarah cough): the most popular weddings colors were blue, purple, green, and metallics; Utah brides have the largest number of wedding guests (209); Hawaii is home to the oldest brides (33, on average); and Wyoming has the most casual weddings.