Last year, the typical American wedding hosted about 140 people, took place in the fall, featured color palates of blue, gold or pink — and cost over $ 30,000 to put on.
The Knot’s annual survey of couples put the average cost of a wedding in 2016 at $ 35,329. That marks an all-time high for the survey, which last year polled 13,000 couples married in the U.S. and which The Knot has conducted every year since 2008.
The $ 35,329 price tag (which includes ring costs, but doesn’t include honeymoon costs) is up 8% from the national average in 2015. To put that number in perspective, it would account for 63% of the median annual U.S. household income (which in 2015 was $ 55,775).
Of course, wedding costs vary widely by region and location.
No surprise, New York City was the most expensive place to get married in 2016, as it was in 2015, according to The Knot’s survey. Of the top five most expensive areas, four were in the New York City region, with Manhattan taking the top spot with average costs of $ 78,464.
However, that is 10% lower than in 2015, meaning folks who threw budgetary caution to the wind and married in Manhattan last year may have gotten a better deal than they would have in years past. Manhattan was the only area in the top 10 most expensive places where the average cost decreased in 2016.
In Chicago, the only top-five area outside of the New York region, the 2016 average wedding cost of $ 60,035 was a whopping 24% higher than that of 2015.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the most inexpensive place to get married in 2016 was Arkansas, where a wedding would have set you back on average $ 19,522. Just behind Arkansas on the cheapness scale was Utah, with average wedding costs of $ 20,336.
The most expensive category, by far, in the typical wedding budget is venue costs (with an average of $ 16,107 spent in 2016). That might seem like no surprise, but Samta Varia, founder of wedding marketplace ShaadiShop, says couples are frequently taken aback by just how much of their budget goes to the venue.
Here’s a full breakdown of the average wedding budget in 2016:
|Category||National Average Spending, 2016|
|Overall Wedding (excluding honeymoon)||$ 35,329|
|Venue (reception hall)||$ 16,107|
|Engagement ring||$ 6,163|
|Reception band||$ 4,156|
|Ceremony site||$ 2,197|
|Wedding planner||$ 2,037|
|Wedding dress||$ 1,564|
|Rehearsal dinner||$ 1,378|
|Reception DJ||$ 1,245|
|Ceremony musicians||$ 755|
|Wedding cake||$ 582|
|Groom’s attire and accessories||$ 280|
|Catering (price per person)||$ 71|
|Source: The Knot|
Unlike a house, Varia said that people often don’t plan for wedding costs and can be caught off-guard when they find out how much they have to pay for things like flowers and decorations.
“I don’t think a lot of families start saving for it,” she said. “Everybody knows that paying a lot of money for a wedding is just something that’s going to happen.”
Wedding trends, from colors to entertainment to dress style, may shift around, but one thing that has not changed much in recent years is who foots the bill. Though engaged couples are increasingly pitching in themselves, most costs today get covered by the parents — and the bride’s family tends to bear far more of those costs than the groom’s.
On average, the bride’s parents contribute 44%, the groom’s parents pitch in 13%, with the remaining 42% covered by the couple. That breakdown hasn’t changed since The Knot started collecting data in 2008.
In 2016, 10% of couples paid for their wedding entirely on their own, and 8% of couples didn’t contribute any of their own finances.