Creating a twinkling paradise complete with custom light-emitting diodes or choosing a glamorous destination wedding at one of D.C.'s many historical mansions does not come cheaply. Local couples are spending more money on their big day, and wedding professionals are projecting higher revenues for 2012.

A top reason for the bigger nuptial price tags, according to HJ Planners President Heather Sala, is growing guest lists. The D.C.-based firm predicts an average of 175 guests at weddings in 2012, up from 150 guests last year.

The District also is considered a destination wedding spot, and many caterers, planners and venues become booked quickly for the wedding season. Many couples are willing to pay the extra dollars to book exactly the services they want, Sala said. Her company has seen a rise in spending by couples the past four months, she said.

Going green
Not all current wedding trends need to be expensive. Many couples are going green by creating fun and interactive electronic invitations to save on paper and printing costs. Organic caterers also try to remain affordable and competitive by buying local, fresh ingredients at lower prices. Do-it-yourself projects, a trend made more accessible and widespread by Internet sites like Pinterest, are another great way for couples to stay on budget.

Dr. Leigh Bornstein will be celebrating her big day over Labor Day weekend at the Park Hyatt in the District's West End neighborhood. She and fiance Adam Lurie have a budget of $60,000 with a guest list of 160. Bornstein said the most important aspect of planning her wedding was booking the right venue.

"Most of our guests are coming in from out of town. I really wanted a location where they would be happy," Bornstein said.

The National Association of Catering Executives also expects increases in revenue for this year. Executive Director Bonnie Fedchock said 63 percent of surveyed NACE professionals projected an increase in total wedding revenue this year over the previous year.

"A lot is driven by the economy and being able to spend a little bit more," Fedchock said.

Fedchock and Sala said couples in the Washington area are spending more on wedding decor this year. Growing trends adding to that bottom line include outdoor weddings, using LED lighting, and larger and more extravagant floral arrangements.

For bride-to-be Bornstein, the key to keeping a wedding affordable is being aware of your priorities.

"We're going over budget, but I think you need to know [as a bride] you're not going to be able to have everything you want."