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The most expensive places to have a wedding

Despite the economy, brides-to-be aren't willing to sacrifice luxury to save money on their big day. The average wedding cost $27,000 last year.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 17, 2011 5:28PM

This post comes from Karla Bowsher at partner site Money Talks News.


If you're hoping to get married on the cheap this year, avoid Manhattan. In fact, avoid much of the Northeast.


New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, and Vermont include some of the most expensive wedding settings in the country, according to The Knot Inc., which owns and Post continues after video.

They polled 19,000 couples for their fourth annual Real Weddings Survey, which revealed that 2010's average wedding had 141 guests and a $26,984 price tag -- and that's not counting the honeymoon expenses.


"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 one in five brides are spending more than $30,000 on their wedding, and 12% of brides are spending more than $40,000."

The survey also ranked the 20 most expensive wedding locales, with the Northeast, California, and Texas taking the cake:

  1. New York City (Manhattan): $70,730.
  2. New York (Long Island, Hudson Valley and NYC Outer Boroughs): $51,811, $45,695, $44,718.
  3. Northern/Central New Jersey and Southern New Jersey: $49,347, $36,694.
  4. Rhode Island: $41,169.
  5. Philadelphia: $36,294.
  6. Santa Barbara/Ventura, Calif., and Los Angeles: $36,233, $33,745.
  7. Boston: $35,458.
  8. Chicago: $35,389.
  9. Connecticut: $35,197.
  10. Southern Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas): $33,810.
  11. Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland: $33,727.
  12. Orange County/Inland Empire, Calif., and San Diego: $31,954, $30,687.
  13. San Francisco Bay Area and California/Nevada (Sacramento, Tahoe and Reno): $31,173, $26,567.
  14. Baltimore: $30,073.
  15. Houston: $29,129.
  16. Pittsburgh: $28,408.
  17. Dallas: $27,823.
  18. Vermont: $27,333.
  19. Hawaii: $26,722.
  20. Austin/San Antonio, Texas: $26,329.

If you're interested in making sure that your wedding runs smoothly, you'll want to pick your venue carefully. When Travelers Insurance recently analyzed its 2010 wedding insurance claims, it found that venue and vendor problems were -- for the third consecutive year -- the biggest cause of wedding day mishaps. They accounted for 47% of customers' wedding claims last year:

  • The most common vendor- and venue-related problems included the facility or vendor going out of business, flowers and photos not being delivered, and disc jockeys not showing up.
  • Weather-related problems causing venues to close accounted for 13% of wedding insurance claims.
  • Issues with wedding attire, such as alteration problems, generated 14% of claims.
  • Other problems, such as lost table linens, sickness, untimely death and travel delays accounted for an additional 26% of the claims.

More from Money Talks News and MSN Money:

Mar 18, 2011 11:59AM

My husband and I spent $2,000 on our wedding for 75 guests AND our weeklong honeymoon in Hawaii.  We scrimped, called in every favor we could, did much of the work ourselves, used airline miles for the flights, researched extensively, and didn't spend anything more than we could.  My dress cost $50 and I've worn it several more times.


Our friends whose $30k+ wedding took place a few weeks after ours aren't any more or less married than we are.

Mar 18, 2011 11:38AM
Wow. Who spends this much. The two most rediculous expenses in life are weddings and funerals. Save your money people!
Mar 18, 2011 11:28AM

I see that stat of $27K average everywhere and I just don't buy it.  Are they polling wedding planners on what their clients spend?  Are they polling couples at Tiffany's?  Average people just don't do that.  I don't get how they do that.  Or why they would.  I have been to a whole lot of weddings / receptions - dozens and dozens of them.  The average cost of the whole deal was $2-5K and that was with a 100-200 person reception.  Use your local church building or someone's yard and have a friend serve cake from the grocery store on disposable plates.  I spent $250 on the wedding dress of my dreams (doing the alterations myself) and it still felt like a big splurge.  If you can afford to hire a photographer, a caterer and pay someone to clean up without going into debt or jeopardizing your financial future, go for it.  Otherwise, do what you can with the money you have, even if that means $100 for a wedding license and out to lunch as a couple afterwards.



Mar 18, 2011 10:31AM

U ARE NOT A PRINCESS.. you are probably nothing could do completely without weddings ( if he is really into it he is either social climbing or screwing one of his best men) so its just delusional women who think that this is an important day enough to spend 25k+...what happened to a quick church wedding with cake and ice cream in the church social area?

But no..women have to have some stupid ceremony to make them feel important

My wedding cost nothing...justice of the peace ask us to make the check out to a charity and we had the ceremony on the lake shore for free...we didn't ask for gifts, not even money brother in law bought a simple cake and we only invited 20 people.

BTW...i married a doctor who well could have afforded something more...but i said put the money into a house!

And daughter, why would u even ask your parents to spend this?...selfish!!!!! pure and simple

Mar 18, 2011 10:22AM
I was married in CT and spent close to $43k on my wedding. 10 years later, my husband and I are kicking ourselves for wasting that much money! Save the money guys and get hitched at city hall.
Mar 17, 2011 11:25PM
It's really sad actually that the average American thinks that spending money on a wedding is more important than a financially stable family. 

If you cannot afford to spend money on a wedding, then dont.

Oh I need those nice invitations for $500, please.

$2000 on a ring, when you dont even own the car you drive and your renting I'm biting my tongue on that one....

There are plenty of places you can have a priest go, or cheap churches, rooms, to rent, have family and friends bring food, and dont spend 5k on a dress that's going to be used only 1x if you cant afford it.

You can have a wonderfully cheap wedding, that is memorable because you are together. I though that was what counted anyway.

No wonder these people get divorced just as quickly, poor money management is a sure sign of future matrimonial meltdown.

There is absolute no reason for a couple to spend money on a wedding they cant afford, and equating money to making it memorable is just plain stupid.

I know these people because they are my friends and family. And if you do not even own your own home, property, car or have money in the bank; then spending $27k on a wedding is just stupid.

Please do not tell me you financed your wedding. dumb dumb dumb.

Better to spend that money paying off your car, debts or putting it into your new home so your mortgage  will be lower and spend your marital bliss in the comfort of financial stability.

Rather than wrecking your finances,happiness and  going into more debt just for a one day gig that really has nothing to do with spending money anyway.

This type of thinking is one of the reason why American families [ maybe others] are failing.

Yes and I know many brides and grooms wont like these statements, because no one likes to be called stupid. But remember what Forrest Gump said " Stupid is as Stupid does".

It's harsh but the truth hurts.

Mar 17, 2011 9:01PM

40 million??????

sure could use that in japan.

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