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Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and you want it to be absolutely perfect. Perfection, though, comes with a hefty price tag — and in New Jersey that bill will be higher than in other parts of the country.

On this Forever 39 podcast, we take a look at wedding costs and trends by taking a look at a recent survey from one of the country's leading digital wedding brands.

The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study polled almost 13,000 couples that got married in 2017 to discover the spending habits and trends of weddings in the United States.

Weddings in North and Central Jersey will run an average of $62,074. South Jersey couples fork over an average of $40,231. Nationally, the average cost of a wedding is $33,391.

So just what costs so much money?

For those spending 60 grand or more for the big day, most of it goes toward the venue, according to the survey. On average, couples spend $42,801 on the venue. Other big ticket items include:

  • Reception Band - $7,145
  • Photographer - $5,130
  • Florist/Decor - $6,050
  • Videographer - $3,214
  • Wedding Dress - $3,158

Couples are also spending more money on their guests. The survey finds that guest spending has increased from $194 in 2009 to $268 in 2017. And while most of that money is being spent to feed guests, The Knot finds that couples are also using it to create the ultimate guest experience with live musical performances, magicians, selfie stations, photo booths, and exclusive food and wine tastings.

One big trend seen in 2017 is the number of couples infusing their big days with religious and cultural traditions. According to the survey, more than 20 percent of couples mixed in cultural elements into their weddings, including Moroccan belly dancers, Chinese tea ceremonies, and ceremonial readings in Polish and Italian.

Another trend that continues to be popular among couples is dumping traditional wedding reception venues like banquet halls, resorts and hotels, in favor of more nontraditional sites like barns, ranches and historic homes.

Bouquet and garter tosses are also on the decline, but the majority of couples still perform the traditional cake cutting.

One tradition that's alive and well, though, is who pays for the big day. Despite how extravagant weddings have grown over the years, the brides' families continue to contribute the most toward the big days. The survey finds 45 percent of the overall bills are paid by the brides' parents. The grooms' parents contribute just 13 percent of the overall wedding budgets. The couples contribute 41 percent, but that number drops to 28 percent for weddings that cost more than $60,000.

Also from this week's Forever 39 podcast — Why women need to save more in retirement. PLUS: Comforting a sick loved one. Click on the podcast player above to hear the entire episode. Share your thoughts on all of them below, on Twitter, on Facebook or at forever39@nj1015.com.

— Annette and Megan, Forever 39

Join us for next week's podcast when we discuss caring for mom and dad, our top 2018 annoyances, and why comfortable shoes are SO in!

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