NJ is most expensive for getting married
Based on feedback from more than 25,000 couples married in 2019, wedding marketplace The Knot is out with its annual industry report on trends, styles and costs.
The Garden State is the most expensive state for saying "I do," when considering the bells and whistles involved with a wedding ceremony and reception.
Taking an engagement ring and honeymoon out of the equation, couples getting married in New Jersey spend $46,000 on average. Nationwide, the average cost is $28,000.
The venue is the biggest driver of costs, typically accounting for one-third of the total.
"Your metropolitan areas like Jersey City or Hoboken, you're going to be paying a little bit more maybe than you would in southern Jersey," said Alyssa Longobucco, senior style and planning editor for The Knot.
Longobucco said New Jersey's much higher-than-average wedding costs are tied to an overall higher cost of living, along with higher incomes. But, she said, this average shouldn't scare people away from creating their own "big day" — there's a wide range of prices for every service and good, and what's seen at one wedding isn't necessary at another.
"No amount of beautiful flowers is worth putting yourself in crazy debt," Longobucco said.
Coming in with an average tab of $43,000, Rhode Island ranks as the second-most expensive state for a wedding ceremony and reception. New York is third, at $41,800.
The average ceremony/reception price in Manhattan is $83,000.
Couples today are engaged for 15 months on average, according to The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study. The average guest count is 131 and the most popular wedding color is dark blue.
And while the spotlight is on them for the day, more than 70% of couples say their top priority is making sure their guests are well taken care of.
Four in 10 couples incorporate religious or cultural elements in their wedding ceremony. Age-old traditions like the first dance and cake cutting ceremony continue to be widely embraced by couples, the report finds.
Forty-four percent of couples create their own vows, up 8% since 2016.
According to Longobucco, sustainability is "one of the biggest trends for 2019-2020." Couples are opting for features such as locally sourced foods and flowers, or recycled invitations, to trim their environmental footprint during the planning process.
"Obviously you're spending a lot of money on the wedding, and it can kind of be associated with a lot of waste," Longobucco said.
Setting up and managing a gift registry have shifted more to the digital world. Most couples begin the process online, according to the report. Charity and cash fund registries are on the rise.