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What Is the Average Cost of a Wedding?

Michigan native Susan Brennan was crowned the winner of the eighth annual Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest Wednesday (June 27) in New York City. Brennan bested the dress designs of more than 700 other contest participants, all of whom constructed their gowns out of nothing more than toilet paper, tape, glue and a needle and thread.

Charmin, the contest sponsor, even covered the cost of the toilet paper, making the comely bathroom tissue dresses practically free. By comparison, most brides shell out between $875 and $1,458 for their wedding dresses, according to The Wedding Report, a research company that tracks and forecasts trends in the wedding industry. Veils are an extra $80 to $134.

And that's just a small fraction of the average cost of a wedding. Projections based on 11,200 surveys of couples and wedding businesses conducted last year reveal that the average U.S. couple currently spends $25,631 getting married. The majority of couples spend between $19,223 and $32,039. These totals don't include the honeymoon.

Grooms typically spend between $2,423 and $4,039 on their fiancée's engagement ring, and the wedding bands range from $884 to $1,474. If you want a DJ at the reception, expect to be charged somewhere in the neighborhood of $524 to $874. Hiring a live band ranges in price from $1,157 to $1,928. [How Much Does It Cost to Raise a Child?]

Then of course there are the flowers, party favors, invitations, venue, photography, transportation, place settings, dinner, alcohol and last but not least, the cake. The average wedding cake costs between $317 and $529, so savor every bite.

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Live Science Staff
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