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On a budget? Don't get married in these 15 places

Most expensive places to get married

Kristine Foley | Photodisc | Getty Images

With summer coming, wedding bells are in the air. And cash registers are dinging right along for budget-busting brides and grooms.

In 2014, 45 percent of couples went over budget on their weddings—and 23 percent of couples didn't have a budget at all, up 6 percentage points from five years ago. That's according to wedding-planning website, which released the results of its eighth annual Real Weddings Survey in March.

With average wedding expenditures rising to $31,213 in 2014, couples are spending more on receptions (think musicians and cake) and increasingly favoring personalized venues like farms and historic buildings over churches and hotels.

"Couples are focusing more on the reception, the details, making this a really big event for their guests—they want to make it worth their while," said Kristen Maxwell Cooper, deputy editor of The Knot. "But on the flip side, you can still do that and cut costs. You don't have to blow your budget."

Couples looking to save big on their wedding might take a second look at geographic location. While the least expensive place to get married, Utah, carries a price tag of more than $15,000, many weddings in the Northeast had an average price north of $40,000 in 2014—including one destination that runs at nearly three times the national average.

Click through to see the 15 most expensive places in the U.S. to get married, determined by The Knot's survey of nearly 16,000 brides who wed in 2014.

—By CNBC's Anita Balakrishnan
Posted 29 April 2015

15. Southern Florida

A couple is married in South Beack, Fla.
Nick Tzolov | Getty Images


At almost $7,000 above the national average, Southern Florida kicks off the top 15 most expensive wedding locales. Book a room with air conditioning if you attend a Florida wedding in June (the nation's most popular month for nuptials) when the mercury in Miami creeps up toward 90.

14. Boston

A woman in her wedding dress is photographed holding a bouquet of roses while hanging off a suspension bridge in the Public Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
George Rose | Getty Images


Fourteen percent of couples married in historic buildings and homes in 2014—up from only 12 percent in 2009. They have no shortage of trendy venues to shell out on in Beantown, which is chock full of history.

13. Connecticut

Jake Wyman | Photolibrary | Getty Images


Despite being home to posh towns such as Greenwich and Stamford, Connecticut was knocked out of the top 10, down to the 13th most expensive from ninth in 2013.

12. Washington DC, Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland

The Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C.
Kevin Winter | Getty Images


Average wedding costs surged past $39,000 this year in the nation's capitol. Nearby Baltimore also made the top 20 list, with weddings at $34,409.

11. Santa Barbara/Ventura, California

David Jakle | Image Source | Getty Images


With seaside views, terracotta roofs and vineyards just a stone's throw away, Santa Barbara is a tough-to-beat setting for wedding day pictures. And with the national average for wedding photographer fees at $2,556 last year, those snapshots better be worth it.

10. South New Jersey

Barry Winiker | Photolibrary | Getty Images


With old stalwarts like Atlantic City, Cape May and the Jersey Shore, South Jersey is rife with fun places to get away—and for your money to get away, too. Although the region can't compete with the prices in the northern half of the state, South Jersey cracked the top 10 this year.

9. San Francisco Bay Area

A wedding in San Francisco.
Judy Bellah | Getty Images


Although the area was the only West Coast region to reach the top 10, Santa Barbara, Orange County and San Diego also made the top 25 list.

8. Rhode Island

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Rhode Island couples spent well above the national average in 2014. Last year also marked a different wedding milestone—the state's first full year after legalizing same-sex marriage in 2013.

7. Philadelphia

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City of Brotherly Love? More like newlywed love. Couples spent almost $4,000 more in 2014, bumping Philly up three spots from 2013.

6. New York City, outer boroughs

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NYC's outer boroughs, including Brooklyn and Queens, ranked sixth—and that's only the beginning for the Empire State. Five of the six most expensive areas to get married are in the New York/tri-state area.

5. Chicago

Stacy Able | E+ | Getty Images


Weighing in at No. 5, the Windy City is so expensive, even heading to the 'burbs doesn't save you much. Trailing behind the metro area, the Chicago suburbs are No. 21 on the list, with an average wedding cost of $33,391.

4. Westchester/Hudson Valley, N.Y.

Barry Winiker | Photolibrary | Getty Images


Only a short drive from Manhattan, New York's Westchester County, as well as the areas surrounding the Hudson River all the way up to Albany, moved up four spots in 2014 to No. 4. Though the average price in these towns was about $20,000 more than the national average, they came in at a discount to other New York locales.

3. North/Central New Jersey

Jihan Abdalla | Blend Images | Getty Images


The weddings in this region are not only expensive—they're also the most formal. Thirty-six percent of couples in North/Central New Jersey described their weddings as formal, compared to the most laid-back locale, Hawaii, where 39 percent of weddings are considered casual.

2. Long Island

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Brides on Long Island spent an average of $2,137 on their wedding dresses—a premium compared with the national average of $1,357.

1. New York City, Manhattan

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Believe it or not, Manhattan couples actually saved cash last year, with the average wedding cost down more than $10,000 from $86,916 in 2013.

Manhattan brides spent an average of $2,914 on their dresses—nearly $800 more than the average on Long Island, which ranked second. Brides here also reported the second-oldest brides at 32 years old, behind Nevada at 32.7. The national average age is 29 for brides and 31 for grooms.

Outlandish expenses like food truck receptions and drone wedding photography can break the bank. But Kristen Maxwell Cooper said that many wedding budget busters are small, unplanned costs like postage and gratuity. Her tip for cutting fat? The cake.

For a 150-person wedding, order a 75-person cake. "Most of the time no one will even notice," she said.

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