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The Anatomy of a Wedding Bill: Dissecting 2012 Wedding Trends and Costs

Between the Jimmy Choo’s that cost half a paycheck but look oh-so-lovely in pictures and the well stocked open bar to ensure that Uncle Bob and Aunt Susie are civil to each other, weddings are often pretty on the eyes and not so pretty on the wallet.  The annual Real Weddings Study released by and, two juggernauts in the wedding industry that no bride is unfamiliar with, surveyed more than 17,500 American brides married in 2012.  The comprehensive study outlines trends, budgets, and all things wedding-related.  We’ve rounded up the Cliff Notes version of the study.

Breakdown of 2012 Wedding Trends and Costs

  • The average wedding budget in 2012 was $28,427, which excluded honeymoon costs.  The most expensive place to get married was Manhattan with an average wedding costing $76,678.  The least expensive place was Alaska, where the average wedding was $15,504.
  • Nationally, brides spent an average of $1,211 on their dress.  Manhattan brides splurged the most on their dresses, spending an average of $2,877.  Idaho brides spent the least, or $878.
  • The average marrying age for 29 for brides and 31 for grooms.
  • 139 was the magic number when it came to number of guests.
  • Brides and grooms typically had 4-5 bridal party members each.
  • Popular weddings colors were blue (33%), purple (26%), green (23%), and metallics (23%).
  • 24% of weddings were destination weddings.
  • Move over black-tie affairs!  In 2012, more brides described their weddings as “casual,” and 25% of brides described themselves as DIYers.
  • Only 35% of weddings were held in religious establishments.
  • Hello Hawaii and Paris!  Despite the so-so economy, 77% of couples went on honeymoons.

Tied the knot recently? How did your wedding compare to the national stats?

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