The 1 Reason Why You Don’t Want to Get Married in This Big U.S. City
15. Santa Barbara
- Average cost: $38,025
The coastal California city is a picture-perfect wedding destination. The city lies between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, offering the best of both views.
The Knot’s 2018 ‘Best of Wedding’ category declared the private Riviera Mansion its 2018 winner. The self-described “majestic 1800s mansion” located in downtown Santa Barbara offers free parking, but that’s about it in terms of savings. Renting the space itself costs $4,000 per 50 guests. Additional food, drink, and miscellaneous amenities cost per guest.
- Average cost: $38,984
The U.S. destination wedding location is expensive: you pay for the beautiful views, as well as the travel cost of getting to the island (unless, of course, you’re a native). Most Hawaii weddings are semi-formal or casual, so you may save on dress and decorations.
A 2016 survey of Hawaii wedding costs found that the average party pays $85 per guest. You can shirk an expense by keeping the guest list tiny, however, it’s possible to have a large wedding in Hawaii if you’d like.
Next: One of the most expensive cities to live in is pricey for your nuptials as well
13. San Francisco
- Average cost: $39,329
The median household income for San Francisco is nearly $80,000 a year, so prepare to spend about half of that on your wedding if you choose the Bay Area for your special day.
The average ceremony site costs over $2,500 — compared to the national $1,901 — and an officiant costs nearly $100 more than other popular U.S. cities. The music won’t come cheap, either; the average ceremony musician cost in San Francisco is the 8th most expensive nationwide.
Next: You can make your wedding as cheap or pricey as you’d like in this city
12. Washington D.C.
- Average cost: $39,465
It costs on average $320 per guest for a D.C. wedding. Three D.C.-based couples showed The Knot how it was possible to keep a wedding in the capital special with any budget. One couple kept their wedding under $20,000 with 150 guests, while another went a bit bigger with a $65,000 budget for the same number of attendees.
Next: Beach weddings aren’t as common as you’d expect
11. Southern Florida
- Average cost: $40,634
Southern Florida sees the largest number of black-tie weddings in the state (29%), which may account for the cost — fancier weddings tend to have higher price tags than more casual affairs. Southern Floridians tend to spend the most on every cost statewide: from photographer and venue to planner and cake.
Next: If you want the harbor, it’ll cost you
- Average cost: $40,667
Boston is the third most expensive city to live in in the U.S., so it makes sense that a wedding there will cost you a pretty penny as well. Two Boston, Massachusetts, wedding destinations make The Knot’s “Hall of Fame,” including the Boston Harbor Hotel (around $40,000 for 200 people) and the New England Aquarium (around $4,000 for the venue during peak season).
Next: You may be better off visiting this city for the beignets instead of a bridal shower
9. New Orleans
- Average cost: $41,167
The venue, dress, and engagement ring are all hefty costs for a NOLA wedding. It’s that good old New Orleans entertainment that puts most weddings over budget: the average cost is $5,000.
In 2016, holding a wedding in New Orleans was 35% more expensive than the average cost for the U.S. in general.
Next: This pricey city is an expensive wedding destination, too
8. Los Angeles
- Average cost: $44,142
It probably doesn’t shock anyone that the City of Angels makes the top 10 most expensive U.S. wedding cities. Los Angeles is one of the priciest places to live in America, so a lavish wedding is like a rite of passage.
The cost to get married in L.A. has risen by about $4,000 each year: in 2015 it cost around $32,000, and the 2018 average cost is speculated to reach $45,000. This is an average, however, so remember that extremely lavish $100,000 weddings will offset the city’s average.
Next: You’ll pay a lot for Brotherly Love
- Average cost: $46,211
The average wedding cost for the City of Brotherly Love nears $50,000, while the median household income barely exceeds that at around $60,000. Cost per head in Philly averages $109 — nearly $40 more than the country in general.
Expenses including reception location, decorations, bands, transportation, and officiants all rank in the top 10 for the cost. Philadelphia residents voted The Ballroom at the Ben and The Old Mill in Rose Valley among the best wedding venues.
Next: You probably won’t be surprised this state makes the list
- Average cost: $47,435
The state of Connecticut makes the top 6 most expensive wedding locations at a little over $47,000 on average per occasion. It also has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful states — regardless of the season — making it the perfect choice for a wedding at any time of the year.
The three most popular Connecticut cities to marry at are Bridgeport, New Haven, and Stanford. If you’re trying to keep your Connecticut wedding on the cheaper side, Wedding Reports provides a venue search based on price.
Next: The Windy City is a popular wedding city
- Average cost: $52,332
Chicago has pricey venues — on average around $21,000 — around the same price as other city’s overall wedding cost. The median household income is $60,564, but that doesn’t stop Chicago residents from spending around $50,000 on their special days.
The priciest amenities for a Chicago wedding are floral arrangements, decorations, and ceremony musicians. You can opt for a high-cost venue like a lavish country club or go “off-beat” at locations like the Adler Planetarium.
Next: It has one of the smallest populations and one of the largest wedding costs
4. Rhode Island
- Average cost: $52,777
The small state is home to some of the biggest wedding expenses, The Knot reports. Newport is a popular destination for mansion weddings that allow regular Americans to marry alongside the likes of the rich and famous.
History buffs rejoice at the opportunity marry at older venues like the Eisenhower House, the 34th president’s summer house, or the Aldrich Mansion where John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was married. Rhode Island residents spend over half of their budget on venues but play it safe on expenditures like the wedding planner.
Next: Getting married in this seaside spot will cost you more than $55,000.
3. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
- Average cost: $55,083
The owner of Cape Cod Celebrations, a premier event-planning company, believes it’s the destination Cape Cod weddings that have the highest price tags. “The Cape is a very dense market for weddings,” Jamie Bohlin said, “The wedding industry here is not going to go away.” Ninety-eight percent of the weddings her company plans are for couples traveling to the Cape.
Turns out the wedding industry actually helps the Cape Cod economy. The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce estimated it put $10 million into budget per year.
Next: This state has some of the most expensive (and hidden) wedding venues.
2. New Jersey (North/Central)
- Average cost: $62,074
Surprised that North/Central Jersey is the second most expensive place to get married in the U.S.? So were we, until we saw over 20 extravagant New Jersey wedding destinations.
You can have a nearly-royal wedding at The Farm House at the Grand Colonial ($20,000 for 200 guests) or marry in style over the pool at The Borgata Water Club in Atlantic City ($205 a head plus a venue fee and pool fee).
Next: The most expensive place to get married in the U.S.
- Average cost: $76,944
Not only is the concrete jungle the most expensive place to live, it’s the most expensive place to marry — by nearly $20,000 more on average than 13 other states on the list.
The average cost of a reception venue is $30,401 — what most people pay on average for their entire wedding. The average cost per head is $181 (more than twice the U.S. average of $68). However, this high average factors in couples who choose to get married in exclusive locations like the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center or the Boathouse in Central Park.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!