WASHINGTON — Here comes the bride — followed by a big, fat bill.
The average cost of a wedding in America last year was about $30,000, according to a survey from the wedding planning website, The Knot.
The study, released March 27, found that the average wedding cost in 2013 was the highest since the website began monitoring prices in 2007. The average cost — which came to $29,858 — didn’t include the cost of a honeymoon.
The Knot cofounder Carley Roney says couples want to create an experience for guests, which can lead to higher overall costs.
“Couples are more focused than ever on creating a unique, personalized and once-in-a-lifetime experience for their guests — plus they’re doing so in a modern way, by planning from their smartphones, publicizing details on social media and more,” Roney, said in a news release.
In 2013, the amount spent per guest increased to $220, which was up from the 2009 cost of $194 per guest. Also, the average wedding had 138 guests in 2013, the survey found.
The biggest chunk of the budget came from the venue or reception hall. In 2013, the average cost of the venue was $13,385 — $480 more than the 2012 average, the study found.
Another big cost, the wedding gown, took a bite out of the brides’ budget with an average price tag of $1,281.
Even with a trend for casual weddings, many couples pulled out all the stops for a more lavish event. About one in eight couples (14 percent) spent more than $40,000 to tie the knot and nearly one in four couples (24 percent) didn’t even have a budget, according to the survey.
Roney says wedding budgets have been increasing steadily since the economic downturn of 2008.
Nuptials can cost more in certain parts of the country, including D.C.
Couples spent an average of $37,487 for a wedding in the D.C., Northern Virginia and the Maryland suburbs in 2013, giving the metro area a No. 13 ranking on the list of most expensive locales, according to the survey. A Manhattan wedding ranked as the most expensive wedding location with the average wedding costing almost $87,000.
Below are some other highlights from the survey:
Average marrying age: Bride, 29; Groom, 31
Average number of bridesmaids: 4 to 5
Average number of groomsmen: 4 to 5
Most popular month to get engaged: December (16 percent)
Average length of engagement: 14 months
Most popular month to get married: June and September (15 percent each)
Popular wedding colors: Blue (35 percent), Purple (26 percent), Pink (25 percent), Metallics (25 percent)
Percentage of destination weddings: 24 percent
To gather its data, The Knot surveyed nearly 13,000 U.S. brides and grooms married in 2013.