U.S. couples spent less on their weddings and their engagement rings last year but they continue to place importance on bucking tradition. This 18-karat white gold ring from Valani is set with a 2.06-carat Sri Lankan sapphire surrounded by 0.28 carats of diamonds ($5,700).

New York--Consumers’ priorities when it comes to weddings sound a lot like their preferences when it comes to retail. They want to have a great experience, and they want something uniquely their own.

Last week, on Valentine’s Day, wedding planning website The Knot released the results of the 2017 Real Weddings Study, which surveyed nearly 13,000 couples in the United States who tied the knot last year.

Overall, the study found that the average cost of U.S. weddings dipped in 2017, the first time that has happened in the 11 years The Knot has been doing the survey.

The average cost of a wedding was $33,391, down 5 percent from the high of $35,326 reached in 2016.

Slipping alongside the overall wedding cost was the amount spent on the engagement ring.

In 2017, the average was $5,764, a difference of about $400, or 6 percent, from the 2016 average of $6,163.

(The figures The Knot provides in its annual Real Weddings study are gleaned from a different set of respondents than its biennial Jewelry & Engagement Study; see full explanation below.)

In evaluating the results of the study, The Knot said that while couples are spending less and inviting fewer guests overall, the amount spent per guest reached a high of $268 last year, up from $194 eight years ago.

Couples are trying to make it a better experience for each guest, spending more money on reception amenities like sparklers, selfie stations, candy bars, musicians and lawn games.

The Knot also noted that there were fewer black-tie weddings, which tend to be pricier, and more weddings in non-traditional venues that speak to the couple’s personalities, like barns, libraries and even a boxing gym.

20180221 Julie Lamb ring copyThe Metropolis Diamond Power Chevron ring from designer Julie Lamb is 14-karat white gold with diamond surround (14.5 points) and retails for $6,000 when set with a 2.5-carat white sapphire.

 Outside of the engagement ring, here are a few other figures from the study: average cost of a venue, $15,163; wedding dress, $1,509; favors, $252; photographer, $2,630; and videographer, $1,912.   

The most expensive place to have a wedding in 2017 was—no surprise at all—Manhattan, with the average cost of a wedding nearing $77,000. Weddings in nearby north/central New Jersey ($62,074) and Long Island ($61,113) were the second and third most expensive in the country.

The city/state with the lowest average wedding cost in 2017 was Utah at $18,516.
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The study also showed that today, the bride and groom split the cost almost equally with the bride’s parents. The parents footed the bill for, on average, 44.5 percent of the wedding while the couple contributed 41.1 percent. Other contributors included the groom’s parents (12.7 percent) and other (1.79 percent).

The Real Weddings Study is one of the studies The Knot conducts on a regular basis. It comes out every year and acts as a barometer for overall wedding spending in the U.S.

Every other year, The Knot publishes its Jewelry & Engagement Study, which focuses on trends surrounding the proposal, including how much couples are spending on engagement rings.

The latest Jewelry & Engagement Study came out last year. It surveyed 14,000 couples, a mix of engaged and newly married pairs, and showed that the average amount spent on an engagement ring is now $6,351.

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