Cost of A Wedding: The Knot’s 2012 Bridal Survey

This comprehensive report surveyed more than 17,500 US brides married in 2012. TheKnot.com & WeddingChannel.com 2013 Real Weddings Survey captures detailed information on wedding budget, style preferences, event characteristics and other key statistics related to the bridal demographic. While the report is based on 2012 calendar year, we feel that many of these stats are very helpful for brides planning for their wedding.

Feature Image: Trish Barker Photography

2012 Wedding Statistics

  • Average Wedding Budget: $28,427 (excludes honeymoon)
  • Most Expensive Place to Get Married: Manhattan, $76,678 average spend
  • Least Expensive Place to Get Married: Alaska, $15,504 average spend
  • Average Spent on a Wedding Dress: $1,211
  • Average Marrying Age: Bride, 29; Groom, 31
  • Average Number of Guests: 139
  • Average Number of Bridesmaids: 4 to 5
  • Average Number of Groomsmen: 4 to 5
  • Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)
  • Average Length of Engagement: 14 months
  • Most Popular Month to Get Married: June (17%)
  • Popular Wedding Colors: Blue (33%), Purple (26%), Green (23%), Metallics (23%)
  • Percentage of Destination Weddings: 24%

2012 Average Wedding Budget Breakdown

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Top 20 Most Expensive Places to Get Married

Based on average wedding spend in 2012, these are the areas around the US where couples spend the most on their weddings.

  • New York City (Manhattan): $76,687
  • Chicago, IL: $49,810
  • New York Metro (Long Island, Hudson Valley and NYC Outer Boroughs): $49,002, $46,300, $39,602
  • Northern/Central New Jersey and Southern New Jersey: $48,496, $35,375
  • Rhode Island: $47,399
  • Santa Barbara/Ventura, CA: $42,319
  • Boston, MA: $39,239
  • Philadelphia, PA: $38,369
  • Connecticut: $38,009
  • San Francisco, CA: $35,344
  • Los Angeles, CA: $35,308
  • San Diego and Orange County/Inland Empire, CA: $34,136, $33,848
  • Baltimore, MD: $33,366
  • Washington, DC/Northern Virginia/suburban Maryland: $33,118
  • Houston, TX: $31,978
  • Southern Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas): $31,288
  • Savannah, GA: $30,618*
  • Sacramento/Reno/Tahoe: $30,458*
  • Hawaii: $29,636
  • Illinois: $29,489*

Notable Regional Differences

TheKnot.com & WeddingChannel.com 2012 Real Weddings Survey can be broken down on a region-by-region basis across more than 80 markets. Regional highlights include:

  • Budget: New York City (Manhattan) has the highest average wedding budget ($76,687), and Alaska brides has the lowest average wedding budget ($15,504), excluding honeymoon.
  • Age: Hawaii has the oldest brides (33 years), whereas Utah has the youngest brides (25 years), on average.
  • Engagements: Middle Atlantic brides have the longest engagements (15.8 months), while brides in East South Central have the shortest (11.9 months), on average.*
  • Wedding Size: On average, Utah brides still have the largest number of wedding guests (209), and Nevada brides still have the smallest number of wedding guests (64).
  • Wedding Style: Wyoming has the most casual weddings (39%), while Chicago, IL, has the most formal (black-tie) weddings (44%).
  • Wedding Dress Spend: Brides in Manhattan spend the most on their dresses ($2,877 on average), while Idaho brides spend the least ($878).
  • Honeymoon: Savannah, GA, Couples are most likely to book a honeymoon (90%), while Alaskan couples are least likely to honeymoon (44%).
  • Registry: Brides in West North Central are the most likely to register for wedding gifts (94%), while Mountain brides are least likely to register (84%).*
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