LA Weddings Still Cheaper Than NYC

National average wedding cost at highest level since 2008, survey says

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    The average cost of a wedding in Los Angeles was about $35,000 -- about half the price of tying the knot in New York City, the nation's most expensive city for holy matrimony, according to a recent industry survey.

    The data from WeddingChannel.com and TheKnot.com showed that LA dropped from No. 6 in 2011 to No. 11 in 2012 as the costs of weddings in places like New York, Santa Barbara and Boston increased.

    The national average cost of a wedding hit $28,427 -- the highest level since 2008, according to the survey.

    "The LA cost of weddings went down this year, but cheaper weddings don’t necessarily account for that," said Stephanie Fraiman of TheKnot.com. "I think other cities, for whatever reason, are little higher this year."

    The average cost of a wedding in Los Angeles dropped from $37,690 in 2011 to $35,308 in 2012, while costs increased in other locales. The average New York wedding shot up $10,000, making the total a whopping $76,000.

    Venues in New York are scarce, possibly accounting for the high cost in weddings, said Sarah Shewey, CEO of Pink Cloud 9 Wedding Planning, which has offices in LA and New York.

    "Our stats show the average wedding cost is much lower," Shewey said. "If you take out the few Kim Kardashian type of weddings, you’ll find a more realistic statistic."

    But LA weddings still aren't a bargain. The mean income in Los Angeles County is about $28,000.

    "Weddings are somewhat recession-proof, but when the recession hit, people decided to delay and save more instead," said Deanna Nash, a wedding planner based in West LA. "I’d say the average in LA is about $40,000."

    Weddings have also become increasingly casual, according to the survey.

    "People in LA put dogs in their wedding or use an outdoor venue," Shewey said. "You don’t see that in New York."

    The survey asked 17,500 TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com users everything from costs to wedding colors to whether or not the couple had a religious ceremony.

    Eighty percent of brides in the United States are users on one of these sites, Fraiman said. The site looked at number of users versus how many were registered to wed around the nation.

    The number of people who incorporate “do-it-yourself” elements is increasing year over year. But sometimes DIY weddings aren’t cheaper.

    "Lately there’s a real lean toward weddings that look handmade," Nash said. "Like people using chalkboards as signage."

    Websites like TheKnot.com also affect the wedding planning business because brides-to-be have a myriad of resources at their fingertips online, Nash said.

    "But I always get a call from a bride weeks out from wedding saying, 'I should have hired you to do this,'" Nash said. "People don’t realize planning a wedding is like having a second job."

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