If you’re hoping to have a New England wedding, prepare for sticker shock.
Massachusetts was the fourth-most expensive US state to host a wedding in 2019, according to new numbers released by The Knot on Thursday, coming in at a whopping average of $37,700 for a ceremony and reception. Adding in the price of the engagement ring ($5,900), the total cost in the state reaches $43,600 — nearly $10,000 higher than the national average of $33,900.
“Weddings in the northeastern states like New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island continue to be the most expensive while weddings in [other] states like Utah, Wyoming, and Montana are a bit more affordable,” said Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor-in-chief at The Knot, in a statement to the Globe.
The new data come from The Knot’s 13th annual Real Weddings Study, which surveyed more than 25,000 American couples who got married between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2019. Respondents were recruited via an e-mail invitation from The Knot.
While Massachusetts is hardly a cheap place to say your “I dos,” it still was less expensive than three other states: New Jersey topped the list with a total average cost of $53,400, followed by Rhode Island (where Jennifer Lawrence chose to tie the knot) at $49,800, and New York at $48,600.
Other New England states also made the list. Connecticut followed Massachusetts, with an average of $41,000, while couples looking to scenic Vermont paid an average of $38,300, according to The Knot.
|State||Ceremony & Reception Cost||Engagement Ring||Total Average Wedding Cost|
|District of Columbia||$34,700||$5,900||$40,600|
Booming cities are also (somewhat unsurprisingly) sure to get pricey. A Manhattan celebration costs a stunning $83,000 (before adding in the $13,800 average spent on an engagement ring), while a Boston wedding averages around $38,600. Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia are also quite expensive, at $34,700 and $34,300, respectively, according to The Knot.
In fact, Boston is the sixth-most expensive city in the United States to trade vows.
|Most Expensive Markets||Ceremony/Venue Spend||Engagement Ring Spend||Total Average Wedding Cost (incl. ring, ceremony, reception)|
|Los Angeles, CA||$38,000||$6,700||$44,700|
|San Francisco, CA||$42,100||$7,500||$49,600|
Also in Boston: The average age of to-be-wed couples is 33 (compared to 32 nationally), the average engagement length is 16 months (compared to 15 nationally), and the average number of guests is 125 (compared to 131 nationally).
The most popular venue types nationwide tended to be banquet halls, which 21 percent of couples opted for, and farms or barns, which 18 percent of couples chose, according to The Knot.
On average, couples are also covering nearly half of wedding costs, according to The Knot. Costs can also fluctuate significantly based on a variety of factors, including location, guest count, and time of year.
“Since couples are taking responsibility for wedding finances. . . they’re prioritizing and allocating budget to wedding details they find to be the most important,” the statement from The Knot said. “For example, a foodie couple may prioritize unique experiential catering options, while a music-obsessed couple may splurge on a well-known DJ or standout band.”
Additionally, more than 70 percent of couples go on a honeymoon after their nuptials, which costs an average of $5,000.
Of course, if you’re looking to get married in a state like Massachusetts or Rhode Island, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need piles and piles of cash on hand — plenty of people tend to save money by getting hitched on a Friday or a Sunday, opting for a winter wedding, whittling down the guest list, creating DIY decorations, and by hosting less extravagant parties overall.
“Cost continues to remain a top consideration for couples as they’re planning their nuptials,” a statement from The Knot said. “For the majority of couples (69%), budget is the second most important element when wedding planning, behind guest experience.”
There’s also one silver lining for cash-strapped newlyweds: It’s becoming increasingly common to ask outright for money as a gift, especially as websites like Honeyfund and Zola gain more notice. In fact, nearly 30 percent of couples are now creating a honeymoon registry, up from 20 percent in 2018, according to The Knot.
“Couples are tossing the stigma associated with asking for cash, as cash registries. . . continue to rise in popularity,” the Knot statement said. “Guests can contribute to the couple’s visit to an alpaca farm; help upgrade them to first-class seats for their honeymoon; finance a wine-of-the-month club; or assist in paying off medical expenses.”
And if you’re hoping to save some moolah on your wedding, consider hosting a destination wedding in one of the top 10 least expensive states, as outlined by The Knot.
|State||Ceremony & Reception Cost||Engagement Ring Cost||Total Average Wedding Cost|
|Wyoming / Montana||$15,800||$4,000||$19,800|