How Not to Plan a Costly Wedding

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Despite the lingering recession, brides-to-be aren't willing to sacrifice luxury to save money on their big day: The average wedding cost $27,000 last year. Read on to learn what else the fourth annual Real Weddings Survey discovered.

If you’re hoping to get married on the cheap this year, avoid Manhattan. In fact, avoid the northeastern U.S. altogether.

New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, and Vermont include some of the most expensive wedding settings in the country, according to The Knot Inc., which owns TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com.

They polled 19,000 couples for their fourth annual Real Weddings Survey, which revealed that 2010’s average wedding had 141 guests and a $26,984 price tag – and that’s not counting the honeymoon expenses.

“Brides remain committed to planning a luxurious, memorable event and are willing to spend despite the state of the economy,” said Carley Roney, editor-in-chief of The Knot Inc. “In fact, approximately 1 in 5 brides are spending more than $30,000 on their wedding, and 12% of brides are spending more than $40,000.”

The survey also ranked the 20 most expensive wedding locales, with the Northeast, California, and Texas taking the cake…

  1. NYC (Manhattan): $70,730
  2. NY (Long Island, Hudson Valley and NYC Outer Boroughs): $51,811, $45,695, $44,718
  3. Northern/Central NJ and Southern NJ: $49,347, $36,694
  4. Rhode Island: $41,169
  5. Philadelphia, PA: $36,294
  6. Santa Barbara/Ventura, CA, and Los Angeles, CA: $36,233, $33,745
  7. Boston, MA: $35,458
  8. Chicago, IL: $35,389
  9. Connecticut: $35,197
  10. Southern Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas): $33,810
  11. Washington, DC, Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland: $33,727
  12. Orange County/Inland Empire, CA, and San Diego, CA: $31,954, $30,687
  13. San Francisco Bay Area, CA, and California/Nevada (Sacramento, Tahoe and Reno): $31,173, $26,567
  14. Baltimore, MD: $30,073
  15. Houston, TX: $29,129
  16. Pittsburgh, PA: $28,408
  17. Dallas, TX: $27,823
  18. Vermont: $27,333
  19. Hawaii: $26,722
  20. Austin/San Antonio, TX: $26,329

If you’re more interested in making sure that your wedding runs smoothly than cheaply, however, you’ll still want to pick your venue carefully. When Travelers Insurance recently analyzed their 2010 wedding insurance claims, they found that venue and vendor problems are – for the third consecutive year – the biggest cause of wedding-day mishaps. They accounted for 47 percent of their customers’ wedding claims last year:

  • The most common vendor- and venue-related problems include the facility or vendor going out of business, flowers and photos not being delivered and DJs not showing up.
  • Weather-related problems causing venues to close accounted for 13 percent of wedding insurance claims.
  • Issues with wedding attire, such as alteration problems, generated 14 percent of claims
  • Other problems, such as lost table linens, sickness, untimely death and travel delays accounted for an additional 26 percent of the claims.

But if saving money is your wedding’s bottom line, be sure to read How to Be a Budget-Conscious Bride in 2011 before you book anything. You might also check out Is Wedding Insurance for You? and Three Things You’d Better Know Before You Live Together.

Stacy Johnson

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