By Jennifer Steffy Swanson
Do you know The Knot? Of course you do. It’s an international multimillion-dollar company. We accept the likelihood that after he proposed and you’d told everyone the happy news you most likely flew to its website because, with a ring on your finger, you can totally do that now (in front of anyone and everyone) without feeling weird. Regardless, no hard feelings. Although The Knot is probably the most popular national wedding website, you’ve come to realize that Engaged is your go-to wedding source for all things Rhode Island.
Speaking of which, here’s something you may not know about The Knot Co-Founder and XO Group, Inc., Chief Content Officer Carley Roney: She’s from Rhode Island. That’s right. Roney is a Wheeler grad who bid Rhode Island adieu to attend college in New York.
I learned this and other tidbits about Roney at the annual Women’s Summit at Bryant University, where she was one of three incredible keynote speakers. After her presentation, I chatted with her about the TheKnot.com 2013 Real Weddings Study. Here are some Rhode Island figures that caught my eye:
- Idaho and Rhode Island brides have the longest engagements (21.8 and 20.3 months respectively).
- The average Rhode Island bride is thirty (that’s a year older than the national average).
- Brides in Rhode Island spend an average of $1,612 on their wedding dresses, an amount that falls pretty squarely in the middle of the nation’s highest (Manhattan: $3,027) and lowest averages (Alaska: $804).
- In 2013, the average Rhode Island wedding cost $42,469, making it the seventh priciest area in the nation to get married.
That last one is a doozy, but, believe it or not, that’s progress, depending on how you look at it. Rhode Island ranked fifth in the 2012 survey, a fact that boggled Engaged blogger/Rhode Island Monthly Copy Editor Casey Nilsson’s mind (you can refresh your memory here). Does that mean you can’t get married on your home turf unless you’ve got $42K to burn? Hardly.
“You can have an absolutely gorgeous wedding on any budget,” Roney says. “It’s about making trade-offs and choices. I think the only way you can affect significant change on your budget is with your guest list. If you want to have an elegant wedding and you have a small budget, you have to have less people at your elegant wedding.”
In general, though, weddings are becoming more casual. It’s a trend we’ve seen more of in Rhode Island over the past several years — outdoor ceremonies, receptions with family-style dining, DIY decor and iPod playlists rather than bands and DJs.
As popular and personal as DIY elements have become, Roney draws the line at hair and makeup.
“It’s not that easy to do your own makeup well and to have it last a day. Spend the $100. You’re not going to do that kind of pampering for any other moment in your life, and the pictures come out that much better.” Even if you can’t swing hair and makeup for the whole bridal party, do it for yourself. Roney says to think of your wedding as your Oscars: “Never go to the Oscars with DIY makeup and hair.”
Another Oscars no-no is wearing something straight from your closet. “It’s a day to wear a new dress and something beyond. I don’t care where you get it, but treat yourself. Get it as a hand-me-down — who cares — buy something off the rack that happens to be white, but you deserve something to make it special,” Roney says.
Other than a new dress, professional hair and makeup, Roney says the rest is up to you.
“Honestly, I think a backyard wedding — a barbecue and you have a beautiful ceremony and everyone’s there and enjoys themselves for the afternoon — can be just perfect. It’s just perfect.”