I can't resist. I know I've covered the cost of weddings previously, but every year when the new numbers come out, I'm astounded once again.
Here are the highlights for 2013:
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.
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.
Several thoughts here:
- $30k? Really? Every year it just seems so unbelievable. (In case you're wondering, honeymoon costs are not included.)
- Food and venue alone cost over $13k, so there's almost half the cost alone.
- The engagement ring costs look like they are below the "two months' salary" that the jewelry industry pushes.
- Every other cost seems high as well. I think once you say, "We need this for a wedding," prices shoot up 50%. For example, if you need flowers as a gift for mom, it's one price. If you need the same flowers for a wedding, it's 50% more. I don't know if this is fact or hearsay, but I have heard places do mark things up for weddings.
- And we have yet another way large cities are more expensive!
- I'm surprised that the lowest-cost states still have $17k averages. Ugh.
Here's how we kept costs down to a couple thousand dollars:
- We had a chapel for free (we gave the church a donation though).
- We skipped a fancy reception place. Just rented a restaurant and had a limited guest list for a luncheon (cheaper than dinner.)
- Our engagement ring was well over $5k, but was appraised at twice what I paid for it (I knew a guy who got me a good deal).
- We didn't have a band or even a DJ. I can't remember if we even had music. I don't dance.
- We certainly spent nowhere near $2k on flowers and decor (we had simple homemade centerpieces). I'm not sure what we paid the photographer.
We're going to offer our kids a choice for their weddings. They will get a set amount of cash. They can spend it on a wedding or keep it for something else (splitting it however they like). Has anyone else done this? What did your kids decide?