Want one more sign the economy is improving? Couples spent an average of $30,000 on their wedding last year -- a record high.
Wedding budgets have grown for the past two years, with newlyweds (or their families) shelling out an average of $29,858 for the big day in 2013, up 5% from the previous year, according to a survey of 13,000 brides and grooms by wedding website TheKnot.com.
|Location||Avg. cost of wedding|
|1||New York City (Manhattan)||$86,916|
|3||North/Central New Jersey||$51,287|
|5||NYC Outer Boroughs||$47,121|
|6||Santa Barbara/Ventura, Calif.||$44,214|
|8||Westchester/Hudson Valley, N.Y.||$42,444|
|12||South New Jersey||$38,620|
|13||Washington, DC/Northern Virginia/suburban Maryland||$37,487|
|14||Southern Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale area)||$37,210|
Last year, 20% of couples said the economy affected their wedding budget compared to 34% in 2009, when the recession was in full swing. Meanwhile, nearly 15% of couples spent more than $40,000 on their wedding and related events, not including the honeymoon.
Beyond the wedding venue and catering, which cost an average of $13,385 in 2013, other big-ticket items included engagement rings (at an average of $5,598), reception bands ($3,469), flowers and other decor ($2,069) and wedding photos ($2,440).
Of course, much of the cost depends on location. "If you live in a big city you can expect weddings to cost more," said TheKnot site director Anja Winikka.
Couples who got hitched in Manhattan spent the most, at an average of nearly $87,000, up $10,000 from the year before. Meanwhile, newlyweds in Utah and Idaho spent the least, with average spending in both states falling below $17,000.
One surprising trend: Even though total spending is up, couples are inviting fewer guests, said Winikka. Instead couples are throwing more extravagant affairs, with a variety of additional entertainment and wedding weekend events.
Last year, 30% of couples provided additional guest entertainment, such as a photo booth, compared to only 11% in 2009. Couples also spent more on rehearsal dinners, after parties and morning-after brunches, which can easily add thousands of dollars to the total wedding bill.