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The average price of a wedding goes up to $28K 

March 19, 2013 at 1:16 PM ET

American couples spent an average of $28,427 on weddings in 2012, according to a new survey by TheKnot.com.
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American couples spent an average of $28,427 on weddings in 2012, according to a new survey by TheKnot.com.

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:

  • Manhattan couples spent the most money, with an average wedding in New York costing $76,678 average. The cheapest place was Alaska, where the average wedding cost $15,504 last year.
  • Brides spent an average of $1,211 on their wedding dress, while grooms only had to shell out about $230 for their tuxes.
  • Couples spent an average of $560 for their wedding cake.
  • Same-sex couples – who were surveyed for the first time last year – spent slightly more on their weddings, despite having fewer guests than their heterosexual counterparts.
  • June remained the most popular month to get married, according to 17 percent of those surveyed.

What do you think? Does $28,427 sound like a lot or a little to spend on a wedding? Let us know!

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