September is a popular month for weddings. The weather is cooler and the leaves are changing colors.

Wedding bells ARE ringing again … Americans are getting married in big numbers again now that the worst of the pandemic is behind us. The marriage rate saw a drop due to COVID, as couples were putting off tying the knot. But they're saying "I do" now.

According to market research company Wedding Report, the rate of new marriages last year was the highest it's been in three years, and the trend is expected to continue this year. In fact, every state, except North Dakota, saw a huge spike in the number of marriages in the past year.

The states which saw the highest marriage rate -- that is the number of new marriages per 1,000 people -- were Nevada (26.2), Hawaii (12.8), and Montana (11).
The lowest marriage rate is Louisiana with 4.4 new marriages per 1,000 people.

Speaking of weddings ...

The TikTok generation is ditching some old wedding traditions. Younger brides and grooms are finding new ways to personalize their nuptials -- and that means some wedding standbys are going by the wayside. For example:

The bouquet toss: It just seems mean to force single women to push each other around to see who’ll get married next. Some couples are opting for co-ed T-shirt tosses instead.
Religious officiants: In an increasingly secular society, more and more couples are asking friends to officiate their nuptials.

Gender-specific scripts: “I now pronounce you man and wife” is gone for good -- and good riddance.

Multi-tiered wedding cakes: Lots of couples are opting for dessert boards or even an ice cream bar, giving their guests options other than a dried-out piece of cake.

Are you ready to put a ring on it?

If so, maybe you'll want to consider something less traditional than an old-fashioned diamond solitaire ring. Refinery 29 says 2023 will bring an upswing in new trends like:

Chunky bands. Delicate bands have been in vogue for decades, but the pendulum is swinging toward wider, bolder settings like so-called "cigar bands."

Non-traditional colors. Jeweler Jillian Sassone says, “Our popular Til Death band is ideal for our brides and grooms who want to make a big statement about their love. The ring is a the black enamel band emblazoned with the words "til death."

Yellow gold bands. The contrast of the yellow with white diamonds really
makes them pop. If you’re going especially unique, consider mixing silver and
gold metals when choosing a wedding band to complement your stone.

Colored stones. Non-diamond center stones have steadily climbed in
popularity over the last few years and experts point to this trend as one that will grow in 2023. Using colored gemstones is a great way to have a unique look.
These rings still feel bridal and special but also bold and different.

Price it before you put a ring on it …

Engagement rings can cost a bundle, but you'll pay a lot more depending on where you live. According to a survey from Wisevoter, Washington state came out with the highest national average -- $10,109 compared to the $3,005 spent in South Dakota.

The priciest rings in America can be found in:

  1. Washington
  2. California
  3. Illinois
  4. Kansas
  5. New York

And if you're looking for a bargain, do your ring shopping in:

  1. South Dakota
  2. Delaware
  3. Utah
  4. Maine
  5. Mississippi

Wedding dates …

Getting married or going to a wedding this year? If so, there’s a likelihood that the nuptials are happening on Saturday, September 23. According to The Knot, that’s the most popular date to say “I do” this year. The second most popular date to get married in 2023 is Saturday, October 7th, followed by Saturday, October 14th, Saturday, May 20th, and Saturday, October 20th. Seems fall is becoming the most popular time of the year to get married.

Best cities for al fresco weddings ...

Spring/Summer brings warmer weather, flowers, and for many couples, outdoor weddings. It's not too cold to wear a strapless, shoulder-baring gown, and not too hot to make your guests sweaty and miserable. A lawn care company called Lawn Love analyzed the 200 biggest cities in the country and scored them on a number of metrics including the quality of outdoor wedding venues, access to wedding planners, and sunshine. They compiled the data and created a list of the best cities for an outdoor wedding. Here is the Top 10:

  1. Charleston, South Carolina
  2. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  3. Orlando, Florida
  4. Savannah, Georgia
  5. Hollywood, Florida
  6. Pasadena, California
  7. Miami, Florida
  8. Escondido, California
  9. Glendale, California
  10. New Orleans, Louisiana

A destination wedding that's out of this world ...

If you're planning a wedding and want to exchange vows in a unique venue that's truly out of this world, a company has exactly what you're looking for -- and you can't beat the view.

Space Perspective, a human spaceflight company, is offering couples the opportunity to get hitched in space. Couples will board a carbon-neutral balloon at the Kennedy Space Center that will slowly lift off into space at 12 mph. Around three hours later, they will find themselves about 100,000 miles above the Earth's atmosphere where they will say "I do." After that, they will begin the slow descent back to Earth and enjoy a smooth splash down in the ocean.

Space Perspective hopes to begin running the trips next year and say they wait list is already astronomical -- and so is the cost, which starts at around $125,000 per seat.

Do you want fries with those vows?

If you're a diehard fast-foodie, there's a pretty good chance you can tie the knot at your favorite chain -- for a price. Some of the most popular choices include:

  • Taco Bell. $777 will buy you a 30-minute wedding with an officiant. The fee also gets you a a Taco Bell bow tie, garter, and a bouquet made of multiple rose-shaped hot sauces. After the "I dos," you get a reception with a 12-pack of tacos. The wedding comes with a Cinnabon Delights wedding cake and "Just MArried" Taco Bell T-shirts.
  • White Castle. Over 75 couples have followed the White Castle marriage trend in the last decade. Local franchisees deck out their locations with all the bells and whistles and put together a buffet offering "a little of everything" from the menu.
  • Denny's. OK, you can only exchange vows at the location on the Vegas strip, but it's quite a bargain. For $199, you get the ceremony, a Wedding Pancake Puppies cake and a coupon for two Grand Slams the morning after.

Planning a honeymoon this summer or fall?

According to Pinterest, these are the hottest of the year's hot spots, so if you want to get in on the trend, book these places now ... and if you want to avoid  the crowds, look somewhere other than:

  1. Asheville, North Carolina
  2. Cape Town, South Africa
  3. Charleston, South Carolina
  4. Key West, Florida
  5. Zagreb and Split, Croatia
  6. Maui, Hawaii
  7. Marrakech, Morocco

We all know that weddings are expensive, but so is going to one ...

According to wedding planning site Zola, the average cost of a wedding today is $29,000, up from $28,000 in 2022. But that depends largely on where you live. According to The Knot, a wedding costs an average of $46,000 in New York and $51,000 in New Jersey. But how much does it cost to attend a wedding? According to a survey by Bankrate, in between travel, hotel, gifts, clothes, and hair and makeup, the average wedding guest will spend roughly $611 per wedding this year, while people in the Northeast will spend an average of $774.

LOOK: Here is the richest town in each state

Just saying the names of these towns immediately conjures up images of grand mansions, luxury cars, and ritzy restaurants. Read on to see which town in your home state took the title of the richest location and which place had the highest median income in the country. Who knows—your hometown might even be on this list.

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