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Holy Matrimony! What it Costs to Get Married
New research from TheKnot.com shows wedding spending rose in 2011 for the first time in three years as fewer brides reported being concerned about the economy. Here’s a look at how couples spent their money.

Wedding Ceremony

Bye, bye budget brides? Couples spent an average of $27,021 on their weddings in 2011, though 20% spent more than $30,000 and 11% spent more than $40,000.*

*All figures are averages and come from TheKnot.com’s 2011 Real Weddings Survey of 18,000 U.S. brides.

Engagement Ring Proposal

Engagement Ring

In 2011: $5,130*

In 2010: $5,392

It's no surprise that buying an engagement ring is a major wedding-related expense. Interestingly enough, the length of time between getting engaged and getting married varies by region: Brides in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania averaged 16-month engagements in 2011 while those in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi averaged 12-month engagements.

*The total for each category includes only respondents who purchased that particular product/service; the average wedding spend ($27,021) was calculated separately, using responses from all respondents.

Wedding Venue

Reception Venue

In 2011: $12,116

In 2010: 12,124

A big slice of the average couple’s 2011 wedding budget went to securing a venue, though that overall budget size was vastly different depending on where you look: Couples in New York City spent an average of $65,824 on their weddings, while those in Virginia spent $14,203.

Wedding Ceremony Site, wedding ceremony

Ceremony Site

In 2011: $1,599

In 2010: $1,393

Securing a space to walk down the aisle is another piece of the wedding pie. Couples spent slightly more on their ceremony sites in 2011 than they did in 2010.

Wedding Photographer

Photographer and Videographer

In 2011: $3,785

In 2010: $3,783

Couples spent an average of $3,785 last year on making sure their wedding memories were captured. Photographers and videographers in Iowa probably had to work the hardest to get everyone on film – the average wedding size was 215 guests, the highest in any of the 50 states.

Wedding Dresses

Wedding Dress

In 2011: $1,121

In 2010: $1,099

Brides spent an average of $1,121 on their wedding dresses in 2011, up only a few dollars from 2010.

Wedding Planner

Wedding Planner

In 2011: $1,753

In 2010: $1,683

The average couple spent about $1,753 on hiring a wedding planner in 2011, slightly more than in 2010. Casual-style weddings continued to grow more popular, while formal and black-tie affairs fell slightly out of favor.

Wedding Invitations

Invitations

In 2011: $331

In 2010: $351

The average couple spent about $331 on invitations in 2011. Brides and grooms in Hawaii and Nevada probably spent the least -- they had the smallest weddings on average, with only 77 and 63 guests, respectively.  

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

Rehearsal Dinner

In 2011: $1,078

In 2010: $1,127

Hosting a rehearsal dinner for close friends and family the night before the wedding cost about $1,078 in 2011, down slightly from $1,127 in 2010.

Wedding DJ

Musical Entertainment

In 2011: $4,587

In 2010: $4,484

Getting people to move and groove doesn’t come cheap.  Hiring a DJ or band for the reception as well as musicians for the ceremony cost a combined $4,600 on average in 2011.
   

((c) 2008 Brian McEntire)

Wedding Florists

Flowers and Décor

In 2011: $1,894

In 2010: $1,988

Spending on flowers and other decorative elements totaled $1,894 in 2011. The most popular wedding palettes in 2011 featured the use of blue and purple. Brown was the color least chosen.

Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake

In 2011: $535

In 2010: $540

Buying a wedding cake was only a small bite of the average couple’s wedding budget in 2012. Sixty-seven percent of brides went for a traditional wedding cake in 2011, though cupcakes continued to be a popular alternative.     

Wedding Limo

Limousines

In 2011: $669

In 2010: $667

Hiring transportation to shuffle around the bride, groom and members of their wedding party came to about $669 on average in 2011.

Wedding Guest Gifts

Favors

In 2011: $217

In 2010: $222

At $217 on average, favors for guests represented one of the least expensive portions of the average couple’s wedding expenses in 2011.

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Holy Matrimony! What it Costs to Get Married

New research from TheKnot.com shows wedding spending rose in 2011 for the first time in three years as fewer brides reported being concerned about the economy. Here’s a look at how couples spent their money.

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