March 19, 2013 at 1:16 PM ET
Wedding season is just around the corner, so prospective brides and grooms take note: The price of a wedding inched close to an all-time high last year.
The average cost of a wedding in 2012 was $28,427, according to an annual survey by TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com. Last year's average was the highest since 2008, a whopping $29,334, just before the start of the economic downturn. In 2011, it was $27,021, with only one in five couples spending more than $30,000.
The survey questioned more than 17,500 couples on their wedding budgets, style preferences and other features related to the big event.
TheKnot.com attributed the rising costs to a trend among newlyweds to create a more fulfilling experience for guests.
"In 2012, the average guest list size went down slightly, but the spending went up, and we went, ‘wow, that means guests scored last year,’” said Anja Winikka, site director for TheKnot.com. "A lot of the areas they were spending on were very guest-centric categories intended to please the people coming to the wedding.”
Many couples willingly paid for wedding extras such as transportation to the ceremony and reception, or rehearsal dinners and morning-after brunches. They also spent more on guest entertainment that reached beyond the typical band or DJ to include photo booths or caricature artists. These little extras pushed the average per-guest cost to $204.
Among other survey findings:
What do you think? Does $28,427 sound like a lot or a little to spend on a wedding? Let us know!