By Courtney Pomeroy

WASHINGTON (WNEW) — A lot of U.S. couples are starting out their married lives “for poorer,” according to a 2014 survey of 16,000 brides and grooms.

The average cost of an American wedding is now $31,213, according to a favorite online resource for wedding planning,

Last year’s survey reported that the average cost in 2013 was $29,858.

In our area, walking down the aisle is even pricier. reports that the average wedding in the D.C. area, including in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, cost $39,025, while Baltimore-area weddings cost $34,409. Both are in the top 25 most expensive areas of the country to get married.

Many of the top 10 most expensive areas are in New York and New Jersey, while Philadelphia, Chicago, Rhode Island and the San Francisco Bay Area round out the list.

Trends that are more popular these days include unique ceremony and reception venues such as historic buildings, historic homes and farms, and increased spending on catering, musicians, cake and cocktail hours.

Engaged couples are spending less on the ceremony itself and more on the reception, and they are branching out from churches and chapels.

In 2014, just 33 percent of couples hired pianists and organists for their ceremony, down from 49 percent in 2009.

And only 28 percent of couples held their ceremony in a religious institution last year, down from 41 percent in 2009.

Parents still tend to help out with the costly affairs, however.

On average, the bride’s parents contribute 43 percent, the groom’s parents contribute 12 percent and the the bride and groom also contribute 43 percent.

Only 12 percent of couples pay for their weddings all by themselves.

Here’s a full list of the top 2014 wedding statistics:

  • Average wedding cost: $31,213 (excludes honeymoon)
  • Most expensive place to get married: Manhattan, $76,328 average spend
  • Least expensive place to get married: Utah, $15,257 average spend
  • Average spent on a wedding dress: $1,357
  • Average marrying age: bride, 29; groom, 31
  • Average # of guests: 136
  • Average # of bridesmaids: 4 to 5
  • Average # 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 (15 percent) followed by October (14 percent)
  • Popular wedding colors: ivory/white (44 percent), blue (37 percent), pink (28 percent), metallics (26 percent), purple (23 percent)
  • Dark blue specifically has continued to grow every year, from 10 percent in 2008 to 24 percent in 2014
  • Percentage of destination weddings: 24 percent

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