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The average cost of a wedding in the United States last year was $27,021 (U.S.), with costs topping $65,000 (U.S.) in New York, according to a poll of 18,000 brides conducted by TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com.

"For the first time since 2008, wedding budgets are on the rise," Carley Roney, co-founder of The Knot told Reuters. "In 2011, one in five U.S. couples spent more than $30,000 (U.S.), and 11 per cent spent more than $40,000 (U.S.) on their weddings."

Behind NYC, Chicago clocked wedding costs of $53,069 (U.S.), while West Virginia was the cheapest at $14,203 (U.S.).

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The venue, dress, ring, photographer, planner and florist form the main expenses, but many niggling details drive up costs astronomically: think guest favours, rehearsal dinner, bridesmaids shoes and stationary for invites.

American brides, with an average age of 29, invited about 140 guests and had four to five bridesmaids; 16 per cent had started plotting their nuptials before even landing a ring. Some 69 per cent of brides surveyed also splurged on their own personal wedding website – you know, the kind that makes everyone else sick?

Wedding budgets are also ballooning in Canada, where the average expected cost rose to $23,330 last year from $20,129 in 2010, according to a Weddingbells survey of 2,309 engaged and recently married readers.

Canadian brides spent more than American women on the dress: The average cost of a wedding gown was $1,798 last year (up by $705 from the year prior), compared to $1,100 (U.S.) in the States.

The average Canuck bride was also about 29 years old, but her engagement spanned 18.5 months, four months longer than her American counterpart. Some 19 per cent of Canadian brides admit they were having more fights with hubby-to-be since becoming engaged – no sign of it on their wedding blogs or cheerful-daisy-field-engagement shots.

How much did you pay for your wedding?

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