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Why weddings are more expensive than ever
For fans of “golden oldies music,” the late Jackie Wilson’s 1967 number-one hit Higher and Higher spoke to an ever-brightening mental state he felt from being with the love of his life. However, if Wilson were still with us today, he might wish to consider a remake of his classic, focusing on what is occurring with wedding costs, because they are certainly going higher and higher.
Brace your credit cards and bank accounts
At the conclusion of each year, The Knot, wedding specialists that match people with associated products, services and local event professionals, conducts an extensive survey of wedding trends that provides insight into what couples and their families may expect.
The Knot 2016 Wedding Study focused on nearly 13,000 couples whose ceremonies were performed last year and determined the average cost of a wedding in America rose to $35,329. That is the highest total in the history of the study and represents an increase of $2,688 over 2015 and more than $4,000 higher than just two years ago.
Caution: That’s just an average
The Knot reminds us that $35,329 is just an average and your cost could be significantly higher, depending on the components of your wedding and the location. They report that those tying the knot in Manhattan spent an average of $78,464, while in Arkansas, a wedding averaged under $20,000.
Interestingly, wedding costs are not escalating because more invitations are being issued. The average number of guests has actually decreased from 149 in 2009 to 141 last year, but the average spent per guest rose from $194 to $245 over the same period.
“Wedding spend continues to rise, but at the same time, guest lists are shrinking as couples spend more to create an unforgettable experience for those closest to them,” said Kellie Gould, editor in chief of The Knot. “Couples are also using their wedding day to make their first big statement as a couple. From invitations to the reception band, couples are spending more to put their personal stamp on every detail.”
Seventy-five percent of all couples pay for at least one signature wedding element, which can include photo booths, games, musical performances, fireworks, and specialty food and drinks. Also on the rise in popularity are wine and liquor tastings, cigar-rolling stations and professional dance performances.
Couples preferring close-to-home wedding venues in greater numbers
The Knot says ceremony and reception locations are becoming even more important as couples plan a personalized wedding that’s a true reflection of their personalities. Many want reception venues in high profile locales with scenic backdrops. Weddings at farms, barns and ranches, historic buildings, beach houses, public gardens, wineries and museums are all popular. It is also interesting to note that couples prefer to stick closer to home than in the past. Only one-fifth of newlyweds traveled to a destination for ceremonies in 2016, a figure that has been declining for the last five years.
Wedding expenses can quickly escalate and the recent trend toward elaborate amenities may be pointing toward another leap in the average cost. The Knot says couples continue to reach for new heights in guest entertainment. If you attend a wedding in 2017, don’t be surprised to see aerialists, acrobats, painters or gospel choirs in addition to any of the previously noted experiences.
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