Average cost of U.S. wedding hits $27,021

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York, where the average cost of a wedding is $65,824, is the most expensive city in the United States to get married but many couples will spend about $27,000 to tie the knot and that doesn’t include the cost of the honeymoon.

Wedding bell balloons fly from a storefront in Rhinebeck, New York, July 26, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Most things in Manhattan and the New York metropolitan area are expensive and weddings are no exception, according to the wedding websites and, which polled nearly 18,000 U.S. brides who were married in 2011 about the cost of their big day.

Chicago came in second with wedding costs of $53,069, but metropolitan New York, which includes Long Island and counties north of New York and the city’s boroughs, neighboring New Jersey and Rhode Island rounded out the top five.

The price tags ranged from a high in Manhattan, which topped the poll of 20 cities to Detroit, where couples spend $27,017 on their nuptials.

The state of West Virginia, where nuptials cost an average of $14,203, was the least expensive wedding location.

“For the first time since 2008, wedding budgets are on the rise,” said Carley Roney, cofounder of The Knot. “In 2011, one in five U.S. couples spent more than $30,000, and 11 percent spent more than $40,000 on their weddings,” she said.

Anja Winikka, the site editor of, said the economy could be playing a part in the rising price tags of weddings.

“It probably has to do with attitudes toward economic recovery,” she said.

The overall cost of a wedding includes the venue, wedding planner, band and DJ, photographer, florist, videographer, dress, cake, ceremony site and musicians, invitations, limousine, favors, rehearsal dinner and engagement ring.

The venue usually accounts for 50 percent of the budget and the average cost per guest is $196, according to Winikka, who added that 75 percent of couple contribute to the cost of their wedding.

Brides, whose average age was 29, paid about $1,100 for their wedding dress, invited about 140 guests, had four to five bridesmaids and about a 14-month engagement, according to the survey.

The average fee for the wedding planner was $1,753. Future brides are also planning further ahead, some more than 12 months in advance of the wedding. A hopeful 16 percent of potential brides started planning their big day before their prospective husband put a ring on their finger.

Although June is considered the month for weddings, September was the most popular time for nuptials and blue, purple and green are the top colors.

Hawaiians tend to have the most casual weddings, while couples in Long Island, New York are most likely to opt for the most formal.

Most couples have a traditional wedding cake but cupcakes are nudging their way on to the menu and interactive food stations, sommelier wine tastings and sushi chefs are becoming popular.

And to keep up with all it 69 percent of couples had their own personal wedding website.

“It is one of the must haves now,” said Winikka.

Reporting by Patricia Reaney; editing by Jill Serjeant