The average amount spent on an engagement ring in the U.S. edged up to $5,871 in 2015, according to The Knot's ninth annual Real Weddings Study. That number rose only a touch from 2014's average cost of $5,855. The engagement ring is the second-highest-priced item on an average couple's list of wedding expenses. Only the reception venue, at $14,788, rated higher.
The Knot reported that weddings continue to be one of the most important — and most expensive — events in couples' lives. Overall, brides and grooms spent $32,641 on their weddings in 2015, and that tally doesn't include the honeymoon. The cost of the average wedding is up about $1,400 compared to last year and by more than $5,500 over the past five years. That increase was driven by a number of key categories: reception venue (+$1,950), ceremony site (+$652) and reception band (+$545).
Other key findings from the survey include the following:
• The most expensive place to get married is Manhattan ($82,299), while the least expensive is Alaska ($17,361).
• The most popular month to get engaged is December (16%).
• The average length of an engagement is 14.5 months.
• The most popular months to get married are October (17%) and September (15%).
• The average marrying age of the bride is 29 and the groom is 31.
• Manhattan has the oldest brides (32.8 years) and the oldest grooms (35.4 years).
• On average, the bride's parents contribute 44% of the overall wedding budget, while the bride and groom contribute 43% and the groom's parents pitch in 12%. "Others" account for 1% of the budget.
• The average number of guests at a wedding is 139, down from 149 in 2009.
• The average cost per wedding guest is $237, up from $194 in 2009.
• 40% of couples had a family member or friend officiate their ceremony, compared to 29% in 2009.
Here are the average costs of key bridal services: reception band ($3,833), photographer ($2,618), florist/décor ($2,300), ceremony site ($2,089), wedding/event planner ($1,996), videographer ($1,824), wedding dress ($1,469), rehearsal dinner ($1,296), reception DJ ($1,171), transportation ($792), ceremony musicians ($703), wedding cake ($575), invitations ($445), groom's attire and accessories ($269), favors ($267), officiant ($266), wedding day hair styling ($114) and wedding day make-up ($95).
The popular wedding planning website also revealed that couples are using their mobile devices to find the vendors who will create their perfect event. Exactly 89% of couples reported using their smartphones to help plan their wedding.
The 2015 Real Weddings Survey captured responses from nearly 18,000 U.S. brides and grooms married between January 1 and December 31, 2015.
Credits: Bridal couple shot via BigStockPhoto.com; Infographic courtesy of The Knot.