As the economy recovers, couples are getting more comfortable shelling out big bucks for their weddings. According to a survey by wedding website TheKnot.com, the average wedding in 2013 cost $29,858 -- a record high.
"Couples are more focused than ever on creating a unique, personalized and once-in-a-lifetime experience for their guests," said TheKnot's Carley Roney in a press release.
Nearly 13,000 brides and grooms participated in the survey. Only 20 percent said concern about the economy played a factor in their wedding budget. That's down from 34 percent in 2009. One in four couples surveyed said they did not even set a budget for their wedding.
The biggest expense for most weddings was the venue. The average amount spent on venue in 2013 was $13,385. The second biggest expense factored into the survey was the engagement ring, which cost an average of $5,598. The survey did not include the cost of the honeymoon.
The most expensive place to get married was in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. A Manhattan wedding cost a whopping $87,0000 on average. The least expensive place to get married was in the state of Idaho, at $16,000 on average.
Anja Winikka, TheKnot.com's site director, said couples are spending more on the "guest experience" -- lowering the number of invited guests (an average of 138 guests) while spending more on each guest. "The categories that we noticed that are going up, up, up are things like transportation, and things like shuttles for all of their guests." Photo booths for guests were another, popular addition to the wedding budget.
People are also spending more on rehearsal dinners, after parties and morning-after brunches. "You're throwing this giant party not just for yourselves but for all of your friends and family," Winnika said. "You want to make sure that they have a good time."
The survey also looked at other wedding trends, beyond the finances. The average age for a bride last year was 29, and the average groom was 31. Only a third of weddings took place in religious institutions in 2013, down from 41 percent in 2009. The most popular months to get married were June and September, and December was the most popular month to get engaged.