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March 12, 2015

Cost of weddings is at five-year high

U.S. economy recovery comes at a price

The average cost of a wedding just hit a five-year high, according to the results of a 2014 study by wedding site The Knot.

The eighth annual comprehensive reportreleased Thursday, surveyed nearly 16,000 U.S. brides and grooms married in 2014, examining the financial spending habits and trends of real weddings in America. 

The study features national and regional statistics, including the average cost of a wedding, budgets, the average number of wedding guests, cost per guest, wedding style trends and more. 

"While wedding budgets continue to rise, with the national average at $31,213, guest lists are shrinking. The average wedding now has 136 guests, down from 149 in 2009," said Rebecca Dolgin, Editor in Chief of The Knot, in a release

"Couples are focusing on creating an amazing guest experience and reception details, including finding unique venues to reflect their personality. Perhaps the biggest change we've seen is in the amount of brides using their mobile phone to plan their wedding — it has doubled in just three years."

According to the report, Manhattan is the most expensive place to get married, with an average of $76,328 spent, while the least expensive place is Utah with a $15,257 average spend. 

North and central New Jersey ranked third, with an average spend of $53,986. Philadelphia came in seventh at $44,090.

In 2014, 45 percent of couples went over budget, about 26 percent stayed within their budget and only 6 percent came out under budget.

So with almost half of couples spending more than they budgeted for, who paid for the weddings?

On average, the bride's parents contribute 43 percent, the groom's parents contribute 12 percent and the bride and groom contribute 43 percent of the total wedding budget, according to the report. Others account for the remaining 2 percent. 

Only 12 percent of couples pay for the wedding entirely themselves. 

The lesson here? Get married in Utah, or better yet, elope.