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What exactly does a wedding cost today?

Tags: wedding brides


While there is no absolutes in life, The Knot has by far the most comprehensive survey of Brides that exists today. 19,000 brides were surveyed and below is what they have compiled. If you are a bride to be reading this survey, you can certainly use it as a guide for your budget. If you are a Wedding professional, you can use it to see how your fee structure compares with that of the national average. Just make sure to scale the averages up and down based on the city that you live in compared to the national average. The most important thing is to base your purchasing decision on value and quality. 

4TH Annual Survey of Nearly 19,000 Recent U.S. Brides Reveals Most Expensive Cities for Weddings and In-Depth Insight Into Wedding Budget and Wedding Trends

“Brides remain committed to planning a luxurious, memorable event and are willing to spend despite the state of the economy,” said Carley Roney, editor in chief of The Knot Inc. “In fact, approximately 1 in 5 brides are spending more than $30,000 on their wedding, and 12% of brides are spending more than $40,000.”

Key Average Wedding Statistics

Wedding Spend (excluding honeymoon): $26,984
Most Expensive Area to Get Married (excluding honeymoon): NYC (Manhattan), $70,030
Least Expensive Area to Get Married (excluding honeymoon): Utah, $13,214
Wedding Dress Spend: $1,099
Percentage of Destination Weddings: 24%
Bride’s Age: 29
Groom’s Age: 31
Number of Guests: 141
Average Wedding Spend (on a per guest basis): $194
Number of Bridesmaids: 4
Number of Groomsmen: 4
Length of Engagement: 14 months
Most Popular Engagement Month: December (16%)
Most Popular Wedding Month: June (15%)
Most Popular Wedding Color: White/Ivory (43%)

2010 Average Wedding Budget Breakdown

Overall Wedding (excluding honeymoon): $26,984
Ceremony Site: $1,393
Reception Venue: $12,124
Reception Band: $3,081
Reception DJ: $900
Photographer: $2,320
Videographer: $1,463
Wedding Gown: $1,099
Florist/Décor: $1,988
Invitations: $351
Wedding Cake: $540
Ceremony Musicians: $503
Catering (cost per head): $61
Wedding Day Transportation: $667
Favors: $222
Rehearsal Dinner: $1,127
Engagement Ring: $5,392

Figures based on respondents who hired a professional vendor for the service.

Top 20 Most Expensive Wedding Areas

1. NYC (Manhattan): $70,730
2. NY (Long Island, Hudson Valley and NYC Outer Boroughs): $51,811, $45,695, $44,718
3. Northern/Central NJ and Southern NJ: $49,347, $36,694
4. Rhode Island: $41,169
5. Philadelphia, PA: $36,294
6. Santa Barbara/Ventura, CA, and Los Angeles, CA: $36,233, $33,745
7. Boston, MA: $35,458
8. Chicago, IL: $35,389
9. Connecticut: $35,197
10. Southern Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas): $33,810

11. Washington, DC, Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland: $33,727
12. Orange County/Inland Empire, CA, and San Diego, CA: $31,954, $30,687
13. San Francisco Bay Area, CA, and California/Nevada (Sacramento, Tahoe and Reno): $31,173, $26,567
14. Baltimore, MD: $30,073
15. Houston, TX: $29,129
16. Pittsburgh, PA: $28,408
17. Dallas, TX: $27,823
18. Vermont: $27,333
19. Hawaii: $26,722
20. Austin/San Antonio, TX: $26,329

Interesting Regional Differences & 2010 Real Weddings Survey can be broken down on a region-by-region basis across more than 80 markets. Regional highlights include:


New York City (Manhattan) has the highest average wedding budget ($70,730), and Utah has the lowest average wedding budget ($13,214), excluding honeymoon only.


New York City (Manhattan and Outer Boroughs) has the oldest brides (32 years), whereas West Texas has the youngest brides (24 years), on average.


Northeast brides have the longest engagements (15.5 months), while brides from Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi have the shortest (12 months), on average.

Wedding Size

On average, Nebraska and Iowa brides still have the largest number of wedding guests (213 and 200, respectively), and Hawaii and Nevada still have the smallest number of wedding guests (82 and 59, respectively).

Wedding Style

Hawaii has the most casual weddings, while Northern/Central New Jersey has the most formal (black-tie) weddings.

Economy’s Effect

Brides in New Mexico, and California and Nevada (Sacramento, Tahoe and Reno) were the most affected by the economy, while brides in Alaska and Nebraska were the least affected.


Brides in Toledo, Ohio, Kansas and Minnesota are the most likely to register for wedding gifts (96%).

Top 10 2010 National Highlights

TOP SPENDERS: New York City Tri-State Area, New Jersey and Rhode Island Brides Are Top Wedding Spenders, Spending More Than $40,000 on Their Wedding. Nationwide, 12% of brides spend more than $40,000 on their wedding event, and approximately 1 in 5 brides spend more than $30,000 on their wedding event, not including the engagement ring or honeymoon.

ECONOMY: Economy’s Decreasing Impact. Less than a third (31%) of brides said the economy affected their wedding budget – a decrease from 34% in 2009. However, when it does come to lowering the wedding budget, one successful cost-cutting tactic used by brides is to trim the number of wedding guests – 141 was the average in 2010, compared with 149 in 2009. Despite the decrease in wedding guests, wedding standards weren’t affected, as the average wedding spend per guest remained the same as it was in 2009 – $194.

BRIDE & GROOM SNAPSHOT: Couples Are Older and Cohabitating. Not only are couples older at the time of their wedding compared with previous years (29 for brides and 31 for grooms in 2010 versus 28 for brides and 30 for grooms in 2009 and 2008), but more of them are living together prior to marriage – nearly three-quarters (74%) compared with 70% in 2009 and 2008.

LOCATION: More Destination Weddings. Destination weddings rose the past two years, with an increase of 20% since 2008. In fact, approximately 1 in 4 couples considered their wedding a destination wedding in 2010. This, in turn, affected the percentage of guests needing overnight accommodations – 42% compared with 36% in 2008.

CEREMONY: More Ceremonies Outdoors; Less in Houses of Worship. Religious institutions, such as churches, synagogues and mosques, dropped off by 10% as more couples opted to hold their wedding ceremonies outdoors. In 2010, 43% of ceremonies were held outdoors, compared with 39% in 2009 – an increase of 10%.

COLOR: Purple’s Popularity. Purple is the new “it” color, with 1 out of 5 brides (21%) choosing it for their wedding – a 50% increase since 2008. What’s losing popularity with brides, though? Brown, which decreased by 16% since last year.

ENTERTAINMENT: Guest Entertainment on the Rise. Having guests merely attend a wedding isn’t enough anymore. Custom guest entertainment, such as photo booths and comedians, is on the rise, with 15% of brides incorporating additional guest entertainment into their wedding (up from 11% in 2009). In addition, 13% of brides have interactive food stations, such as a sommelier with wine tastings, a sushi chef or a cheesemonger.

ONLINE RESOURCES: Online Wedding Planning and Execution Continues to Increase. From using social media to communicate wedding details (a 78% increase since 2008) and creating/sending save-the-dates or invitations online (a 40% increase since 2008) to using an online RSVP service (a 31% increase since 2008) or setting up personal wedding websites (a 23% increase since 2008), brides are increasingly using online wedding planning tools to prepare for the big day.

PLANNING: How much and how stressful. As the wedding approaches, brides spend more time wedding planning. In the last three months leading up to their wedding, brides spend an average of 11 hours a week planning. Nearly 50% also found that planning their wedding was more stressful than they expected. Nearly 1 in 3 hire or use an event/wedding planner, with more than half of those brides hiring them for day-of coordination (52%).

DESSERTS REIGN: Not just wedding cakes. A majority of brides (68%) have a traditional tiered wedding cake; however, other desserts like a groom’s cake (20%), candy (14%) and cupcakes (13%) are also served.

About & 2010 Real Weddings Study

The 2010 Real Weddings Study captured responses from nearly 19,000 U.S. brides married between January 1 and December 31, 2010; respondents were recruited throughout the year from and membership, which represents nearly 80% of brides nationwide. Brides received survey invitations shortly after their wedding date and were asked a comprehensive series of questions about the event and their planning process. All qualified respondents:

Were 18 or older
Had a wedding in 2010

Survey respondents represent a variety of ethnic, education and income levels, and are geographically dispersed across the country. The survey and data management partner for the study was Decipher, Inc.

Additional data highlights are also available at, while complete custom analyses and reports are available for purchase by contacting [email protected]

Source/More Information (The Knot):

This post first appeared on Blog- Chicago DJs | Chicago Wedding DJs Best Of The Knot, please read the originial post: here

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What exactly does a wedding cost today?


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