Manhattan and Chicago are the two most expensive places to get married in the United States, but the affair will likely cost a pretty penny no matter the location, according to a new survey.
Couples preparing to say "I do" are spending an average of $32,641, according to wedding blog The Knot, which surveyed nearly 18,000 American brides and grooms in 2015 for its ninth annual report.
The average cost of a wedding is up by more than $5,500 in the past five years, though the overall price swings based on where couples wed, reported the Knot. The Knot surveyed members of TheKnot.com, which claims to represent nearly 80 percent of American brides, and used data exclusively from those who said they wed in 2015.
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Four of the five most expensive areas to get married were in the New York Tri-State area, with the average price of a Manhattan wedding costing $82,299. Chicago was the No. 2 priciest at $61,265, followed by New York's Westchester and Hudson Valley region, Long Island and north and central New Jersey.
The most affordable places to get married were: Alaska ($17,361), South Dakota ($18,890) and West Texas ($19,261).
Still, wedding spending has reached an all-time high, the survey found. Elements that increased the most in the past five years include the reception venue, location of the ceremony and reception band.
While the price of the affair may be on the uptick, couples are finding ways to express their individuality. Twenty-two percent of couples choose a theme for their wedding. Nineteen-percent
of couples also opted to include ethnic and religious rituals.
Couples seem to be spending more on their guests' experience, though the number of guests has shrunk. The average number of guests in 2015 was down 10 to 139, but the cost per guest increased from $194 to $237, as compared to 2009.
One category that has more than tripled is guest entertainment as couples have added unique events, like cigar rolling stations or wine and liquor tastings, to their nuptials.
Though costs and extravagance may be on the uptick, couples seeking a simpler affair may be the true winners. A study from Emory University found evidence that "marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony."
University researchers surveyed more than 3,000 individuals in the United States in 2014 who married the opposite sex and are not widowed.
Their conclusions revealed that both men and women associate less spending on the wedding with a longer marriage. Instead, the report suggests high wedding attendance and having a honeymoon, regardless of cost, are more promising indicators of a lasting marriage.