Here’s How Much It Costs To Get Married In 2016 (Spoiler: It’s A LOT)

Photographed by Winnie Au.
Update: If you're planning a wedding for 2017, these numbers can look pretty intimidating. But the good news is that if you're creative about money-saving, your wedding doesn't have to be ridiculously expensive. Need proof? Check out this budget-friendly wedding in Nashville, TN. The bride and groom managed to spend only $15,000 on the whole shebang — which is only about half the cost of the average U.S. wedding. This story was originally published on April 5, 2016.

Just how much, exactly, does it cost to say "I do"? Well, if you're a bride or groom in the U.S., it will likely set you back more than $32,000 — and if you live in New York or Chicago, that barely scratches the surface. The Knot has released its annual Real Weddings Study, which surveys some 18,000 American couples who got hitched in 2015 to learn about their spending habits and wedding day preparations. The latest findings indicate that the average U.S. couple spends an estimated $32,641 on their big day. That's up more than $1,400 compared to last year — and represents an increase of $5,500 over the last five years. The Knot also broke down the most expensive cities for weddings, and (no surprise here) Manhattan took the cake. The average New York City couple dropped a whopping $82,299 on their nuptials, which is nearly $50,000 more than the national average, and about $20,000 more than the next city on the list, Chicago, where the average price tag clocks in at $61,265. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Alaska, the least expensive place to get married. There, couples spent just $17,361 on average. So, what is included in these totals? The final tallies take into account just about every cost and expense related to a wedding: the venue, catering, photographer, florist, dress, invitations, transportation, the engagement ring, among other typical expenditures. The only thing it doesn't include is the honeymoon. The individual price tags that contribute to these totals aren't small, either. In 2015, the average bride in the U.S. spent $1,469 on a wedding dress. The average engagement ring went for $5,871 or more. And couples spent $14,788 or more on venues. Practically every component tracked by The Knot increased in price from the previous year, with the exception of party favors, on which couples spent an average of $267, compared with $275 the previous year. If all these numbers are making your head spin (and maybe giving you cold feet?), keep in mind that at least according to those surveyed here, couples rarely foot the whole bill themselves. On average, The Knot reports that the bride’s parents contribute 44% of the overall wedding budget, the bride and groom shell out 43%, and the groom’s parents toss in about 12%. (The Knot conducts a separate LGBTQ Marriage Study, so this data was gathered specifically from heterosexual couples.) Either way, the bottom line is: If he likes it, then he needs to do way more than put a ring on it. He should probably present a savings plan, too. And, hey, it's never too late to throw a destination wedding in Alaska! For a closer look at the average amounts couples spent on each component of their big day, see The Knot's handy infographic, below.
Courtesy of The Knot.

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