Tying the knot can break the bank.
Costs related to the average wedding in 2013 came to about $30,000, according to survey data out Thursday from the wedding website TheKnot.com.
Among the highest individual expenses: an average of $13,385 for the reception venue and $5,598 for the engagement ring.
The exorbitant expenditures tracked by TheKnot.com don't include the honeymoon but do include other wedding-related costs such as a photographer, cake and flowers.
"The numbers are at an all-time high since we started counting in 2007," says TheKnot.com site director Anja Winikka.
Happy couples are not only spending on traditional items such as the band, wedding dress and reception hall, they're also shelling out on unique products and services they hope will make their day memorable, Winikka says.
Many create specialty cocktails and menu items that reflect their personal tastes or represent a milestone in their relationship.
"They'll make up a drink and name it after the place they went to on their first date," Winikka says. Or they will ask the caterer to create a dish based on the location where the proposal took place.
Amid a proliferation of wedding-themed TV shows and glossy bridal magazines showing images of extravagant events, it's easy for a couple to get caught up and overspend on their big day, says Stacy Francis, CEO of financial planning and wealth management firm Francis Financial.
"We've created this fairy tale thought in our mind of what our wedding has to be, and it has to be perfect," she says.
The plans for happily ever after can be thwarted once those wedding bills come in.
One way to avoid a post-wedding financial hangover is to create a detailed spreadsheet for wedding costs, then diligently add in every expense, Francis advises.
Make that budget before any dress shopping and venue hopping — in essence "before the emotions take over," she says. If the budget set for a dress is $1,000, a bride will be less apt to swipe her credit card for the $3,500 option on the spur of the moment.
Those planning a wedding should consider potential expenses that may not be obvious, she says.
"You look at the price for invitations and catering, and you don't add in on the tax. You forget the gratuity," she says. "All of these small things really add up."
More details from TheKnot.com's online survey of 13,000 brides and grooms married in 2013:
•The priciest place to wed? Manhattan. Couples who married there shelled out nearly three times the average, paying $86,916 in wedding-related expenses.
•The cheapest place? Idaho, which has average wedding costs coming in at $16,159.
•On average, spending per guest hit $220 in 2013, up $16 from 2012 and a $26 rise from the tough economic times of 2009.
•Brides across the country spent an average of $1,281 on their wedding gown. Those in Manhattan paid an average of $3,027 for their wedding-day garb while Alaskan brides spent $804.