You can thank Kim Kardashian and Kanye West for setting the bar so high when it comes to getting married.
The average cost of a wedding — sans a honeymoon — has now soared to more than $31,000, according to the wedding planning website TheKnot. And experts say the “images of celebrity wedding extravagance,” a la last year’s $12 million “Kimye” nuptials in Florence, Italy, are influencing couples’ spending choices.
Another reason for the jump, experts say, are the engagement rings.
“People want big rings like the ones celebrities wear,” says Jason Kordvani, president of product development at Davani (davanijewelry.com), a family-owned company specializing in colored gemstones that has an almost 50-year reputation for creating some of the most gorgeous engagement rings around.
Obviously, you don’t have to shell out that much to have the wedding of your dreams. But with this being the prime time for popping the question — 39 percent of all marriage proposals occur between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day — there is one trend that’s become both a must and a potential money-saving opportunity.
Personalization, experts say, is on the rise.
Here’s what we mean:
• The engagement ring. If you’ve been reading the glossies, you know that celebs like Elizabeth Hurley and Jessica Simpson are breaking from tradition and wearing engagement rings with colored gemstones. Not only does this take fashion to a whole new level, but colored gemstones have also become a way to customize an engagement ring. And while it needn’t be her birthstone — Simpson’s is ruby, but Hurley’s sapphire jibes with the month her then-fiance was born — the right romantic touch can make for the ultimate in personalization.
“It can also be the month a couple met or her favorite color,” says Kordvani.
Whether sapphire, emerald, ruby or some other stone, Kordvani notes, couples are also often pleasantly surprised to discover they can get a “larger, more important-looking ring at much less cost than a diamond.” Davani Jewelry itself offers styles ranging from the more affordable Davani Bridal to the show-stopping Luxury Collection.
• The reception. The bad news here is that spending on cocktail hours jumped 7 percent. So think signature cocktails rather than an open bar.
• The wedding venue. “When couples get married, they’re really looking for interesting, unusual details,” Lorin Holmes, co-founder of VermontWeddings.com told USA Today. All things considered, the $50,000 price tag to hold a reception at the New York Public Library— anything cultural or historic is also hot — makes the average venue booking fee of $14,000 a little less jaw dropping.