Couples spent an average of $5,855 on their engagement rings in 2014, an increase of 5% compared to 2013, according to a national survey of 16,000 newly married brides conducted by The Knot.
Overall wedding budgets are also on the rise, with the average tab in 2014 coming in at $31,213, up from $29,858 in 2013. By far, the biggest part of the wedding budget was dedicated to the venue, with the reception hall costs tallying $14,007, a jump from $13,385 a year before.
The engagement ring ranked as the bridal couple’s second-highest expense, followed by the reception band ($3,587), photographer ($2,556), florist/décor ($2,141), wedding/event planner ($1,973), ceremony site ($1,901), videographer ($1,794), wedding dress ($1,357), rehearsal dinner ($1,206), reception DJ ($1,124), transportation/limousine ($767), ceremony musicians ($637), wedding cake ($555) and invitations ($439). The honeymoon was not included in these statistics.
Although wedding budgets are on the rise, guest lists are shrinking. “The average wedding now has 136 guests, down from 149 in 2009," said Rebecca Dolgin, Editor in Chief of The Knot. "Couples are focusing on creating an amazing guest experience and reception details, including finding unique venues to reflect their personality."
According to The Knot, more and more bridal couples are stepping out of the box to find unusual wedding sites — such as historic buildings/homes (14%) and farms (6%) — that better reflect their personalities. This compares to the more conventional, and still popular, venues, such as banquet halls (22%), country clubs (11%) and hotels (11%).
Certainly, regional factors play a big part in what a wedding will cost. The most expensive places to get married are Manhattan ($76,328) and Long Island ($55,327), while the least expensive places to tie the knot are Utah ($15,257) and Arkansas ($18,031).
The Knot reported that the bride’s parents and the bridal couple each contributed equally (43%) toward wedding expenses. The groom’s parents pitched in for 12% and “others” accounted for the remaining 2%.
Other fun facts pulled from the survey results include the following:
• The average marrying age is 29 for a bride and 31 for a groom. The oldest brides are from Nevada (32.7) and New York City (32), while the youngest brides hail from West Virginia (26.8) and Kentucky (26.9).
• The average length of an engagement is 14 months. Brides from Utah and West Texas reported the shortest engagements (10 and 9.9 months, respectively), while brides from Northern New Jersey and western Pennsylvania reported the longest engagements (18 and 17.5 months, respectively).
• The most popular month to get engaged is December (16%).
• The most popular months to get married are June (15%), October (14%).
The Knot’s “2014 Real Weddings Survey” reflects the responses of nearly 16,000 U.S. brides married between January 1 and December 31, 2014.