Special Report

10 Most Expensive Places to Get Married

7. Washington, D.C. Metro Area
> Average wedding cost: $39,025
> Cost of Reception Venue: $17,207
> Reception venue as pct. of total cost: 44.1%
> Median household income: $90,149

Households in the nation’s capital are among the most well off in the country. The median household income in the Washington metro area was $90,149, dramatically higher than the national figure of $52,250. That’s just as well, as some wedding items are particularly expensive, especially when it comes to feeding guests. The average D.C. rehearsal dinner costs $1,746, fourth highest in the country and more than $500 above the national average. A wedding cake costs $659, more than $100 above the national figure.

6. Santa Barbara/Ventura, California
> Average wedding cost: $39,187
> Cost of reception venue:  $15,697
> Reception venue as pct. of total cost: 40.1%
> Median household income: $62,421

The Santa Barbara/Ventura area has the obvious attractions of good weather and proximity to the Pacific Ocean and beaches. The average reception venue is expensive, at more than $15,000. That accounts for just over 40% of the total bill, compared to just under 45% for the average wedding nationally. The reception band is often a bargain, at just $1,900, compared to $3,587 nationwide. However, the average cost of floral decor is $2,715, significantly more than the nationwide figure of $2,141. A simple sunset ceremony can be had at Shoreline Park, on the Santa Barbara bluffs overlooking the ocean and mountains. Couples can also exchange vows on horseback at the Whispering Rose Ranch in nearby Santa Ynez wine country.

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5. San Francisco/Greater Bay Area, California
> Average wedding cost: $39,690
> Cost of reception venue:  $18,381
> Reception venue as pct. of total cost: 46.3%
> Median household income: $79,624
With its thriving technology sector, the annual median income in the Bay Area was a high $79,624, compared to $52,250 nationwide – but it comes with a high cost of living. The average ceremony site costs more than $2,500 compared to $1,901 nationally, while an officiant costs $353 compared to $266 nationally, the seventh most expensive site and officiant costs in the nation. As with other areas in southern California, the band may not be particularly expensive, but the average ceremony musicians costs $818, 8th most expensive in the country.