It's official. Brides cut back on their dresses, the wedding cake and the band last year. But they splurged on the reception venue, wedding planner and catering.
At least, that's according to The Knot's Real Weddings Survey 2008, which surveyed 18,000 couples on wedding spending, style preferences, event characteristics and other wedding details.
The average amount couples spent on weddings in 2008 was $29,334, up 5.2 percent from 2007. In North Carolina, however, the average wedding cost was $23,728, which is lower than couples in South Carolina, Georgia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. (Southern Virginian couples spent less than others in the region at $20,653.)
In our region, the average age of the bride and groom was 29 and 31, respectively.
The average number of guests was 126 people.
The average length of engagement was 14 months.
And guess what? North Carolina brides had the most casual weddings, along with brides from Hawaii and Maine.
That's interesting to me, since I've only been to a few really casual weddings in North Carolina.
Nationally, the biggest cut back last year was in the dress. Brides spent 22 percent less on their gowns, at an average of $1,032.
Brides also trimmed 12 percent on the cost of the band and ceremony musicians. They spent 20 percent less on the cake and 2.4 percent less on flowers.
But they splurged 7.4 percent more on the reception venue (spending $13,667, the biggest expense overall), 8.6 percent more on the wedding planner, 7 percent on catering and 6.7 percent on transportation.
And, finally, the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen increased in 2008 to 5, up from 4 in 2007.