> Just How Much Are Couples Spending To Tie The Knot? $32,641


As we head into wedding season, The Knot is out with its annual report of the latest spending habits and trends of weddings in America.  And, it looks like couples are spending an insane amount of money on the big day.

 

According to The Knot’s 2015 Real Weddings Study, which surveyed nearly 18,000 U.S. brides and grooms, the average wedding cost has increased by more than $5,500 in the past five years with couples spending an average $32,641 last year.  That doesn’t include the honeymoon, BTW.  It’s estimated that the biggest increase was on the reception venue (+$1,950), ceremony site (+$652) and the reception band (+545).

 

No surprise here, that the most expensive place to get married is in the Tri-State area.  Manhattan topped the list with an average wedding cost of $82,299.  Chicago came in second ($61,265) followed by Westchester/Hudson Valley in New York ($57,501), Long Island, New York ($56,950), and North/Central New Jersey ($55,389).  The least expensive place to wed is in Alaska where couples spend an average $17,361.

 

And the timeline of the average marriage?  Statistics show that the most popular month to get engaged is December (16%) with an average 14.5-month engagement.  More couples are also choosing fall ceremonies with the most popular month to get married being October (17%) and September (15%).

 

 

Here are some of the top findings from the study:

 

  • Average spent on a wedding dress: $1,469. Average spent on the groom’s attire: $269.
  • Average number of wedding guests in 2015: 139 (down from 149 in 2009). But, the cost per wedding guest: $237 (up from $194 in 2009).
  • Couples are spending more on wedding professionals to help them plan a perfect day.  26% of couples hired a planning professional in 2015 (up from 19% in 2010).
  • Parents are still footing the bulk of the bill. The bride’s parents contribute 44% of the overall wedding budget and the groom’s parents contribute 12%.  However, the bride and groom are willing to help by contributing 43% to the cost.
  • Fewer couples are having destination weddings with 21% tying the knot abroad. That’s down from 24% in 2014.
  • Average spent on an engagement ring: $5,871

 

If the findings have left you with cold feet, there’s always the Little White Chapel, where saying, “I Do”, only costs $75.

 

 

Should “No Show” Wedding Guest Pay Up for Bailing on Day of the Big Day?

wedding-invitation-1500445With the average cost for a wedding exceeding $30,000, no wonder couples opt for the courthouse ($35 in NYC) or the Little White Chapel (as low as $75) to say “I Do”. But soon-to-be-spouses take their big day very seriously (as they should). In fact, another study shows that many couples are willing to have a ‘red wedding’, meaning, they’re willing to go into debt for it. The Debt Advisory Center surveyed thousands of adults and found that nearly 25% of couples are prepared to go into debt to pay for their wedding and nearly half of those say they immediately regretted borrowing for the big day. Almost 30% of those were still paying off the costs of their wedding SIX YEARS after the ceremony. (Hopefully they’re still together).

So, knowing the costs, when a guest doesn’t show up to one’s wedding as planned, without any notification, a couple may see that as rude and also a huge waste of their money.

That’s the situation in Minnesota. It’s the wedding bill making all the headlines. Wedding guest, Jessica Baker, had intended on attending her friend’s wedding, but at the last minute had to bail because her mother couldn’t watch the kids anymore. And, since kids weren’t allowed at the wedding, she just didn’t go. Fast forward a couple weeks. The ‘no show’ wedding guest got a bill from the newlyweds for $75, asking her to cover the cost of her and her husband’s meals and saying an explanation for the no show, no call, no text, no card would be appreciated.

Baker posted a photo of the ‘bill’ on Facebook, igniting an instant response. Reaction was generally split. It’s easy to see both sides of the case. One wedding planner saying: “Under no circumstances should you choose to follow up after the fact…questioning why they couldn’t attend or much less sending a bill.” wedding-glasses-1425674

Things come up at that last minute, that’s life. Do 100% of the guests who RSVP ‘yes’ to a wedding always come? Probably not. That’s why wedding planners say you should prepare for about 10% of overage or underage when you’re planning a big event.

To the couple’s defense, one could see why they’d be so upset after spending a lot of money on the wedding and then having some guests ditch. Proper etiquette would’ve been to alert the bride, groom or their parents. Baker may simple not have wanted to bother the bride about it on her big day. I’d do the same.

However, forget about being ‘the bride’. If her first concern was that her friend bailed, costing her $75 dollars for a dinner not eaten, instead of “gosh, I hope my friend is okay,” it says a lot about the type of “friend” this bride is. She pretty much put a $75 price tag on their friendship. So, as the guest, I’d be insulted, too.

Baker says she refuses to pay the bill…and forget about a gift or card.

Who’s side do you take?

How Not To Let A Bachelorette Party Trip Cost You Your Friends

vegas signWedding season is nearly here and you know what that means? You’ll be shelling out lots of money for gifts, travel and the events that come with it. The cost just to attend a wedding is now averaging $592 a guest according to American Express. One other BIG expense that often burdens the friends of the bride: the bachelorette party trip.

Gone are the days when these parties just involved an endless night of bar hopping, blowjob shots, lap dances and crazy shenanigans you promise to take to your grave. It’s now almost expected the bride or groom-to-be will want to plan an entire weekend or big trip with friends before the big day.

Travel website priceline.com conducted a new survey on the rising costs and pressures of the bachelor(ette) party trips. After polling thousands of adults who attended at least one bachelor or bachelorette party in the past five years, results show these party trips can take a major toll on wallets and friendships!

Here is what they found:

45% had to SKIP a party due to the cost of the bachelor(ette) trip
32% spent upwards of $850 or more on a party trip
30% felt pressure to stay in a luxury hotel to appease the bride or groom
29% said deciding on where to go caused the most drama
14% were kicked out of a wedding party for not attending the party

As psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig points out, these new bridal trends of the destination bachelorette trip creates a new norm, and as a result there’s an additional pressure to have an event that “measures” up or even out does what other people are doing.

girls w drinksWhile the big day may be all about the couple, the bachelorette party is supposed to celebrate the friendships. After all, it’s the last chance to hang out with your group of friends without those matrimonial responsibilities. That said, it’s important to keep friends in mind when planning. Some may not be able to afford what others can, take the time off from work, or your friends may have other responsibilities (like children) that prevents them from going on a party trip.

The study also finds that besides picking a destination, deciding how to cover the bride’s expenses caused just as much drama among the guests. A time that’s meant to celebrate a happy couple’s union can easily turn into a contentious situation.

Remember, the most important part of the bachelorette party is having those who love and care for you there to celebrate a very special time in your life, says Kristen Rocco, founder of Love Notery. “Creating long-lasting memories is what it’s all about.”

So ask yourself, is it more important to have something more feasible where all your best girls can attend? Or, an ultra-extravagant party that not everyone can attend but will still look really cool on Instagram?

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-Ashley M. Papa