Our top 10 wedding stories of 2013

Story highlights

  • Market research says there are more than 2 million weddings in the United States every year
  • The average wedding cost is $28,427, according to a survey by TheKnot.com
  • 17% of couples get married in June, making it the most popular month for weddings
  • Las Vegas is the top wedding destination in the U.S.

We said we would, and you said, "I do!" CNN Living launched the Matrimony series in June, and we've been thrilled to see an exuberant response from readers, eager to see their own experiences reflected, pick up some expert tips and do a little celebrity gawking while they're at it.

In 2014, we'll be delving even deeper into the wedding trenches with stories on over-the-top receptions, the evolving etiquette for same-sex ceremonies, the emotional lead-up to getting hitched, planning a wedding with a terminally ill partner and so much more. But until then, thanks for taking this walk down the aisle with us, and here's a little souvenir from the year in weddings.

The most clicked-on Matrimony stories in 2013:

10. The new wedding rules

Pastor: 'It was an act of love for my son'
Pastor: 'It was an act of love for my son'

    JUST WATCHED

    Pastor: 'It was an act of love for my son'

MUST WATCH

Pastor: 'It was an act of love for my son' 05:49
See cringe-worthy wedding moment
See cringe-worthy wedding moment

    JUST WATCHED

    See cringe-worthy wedding moment

MUST WATCH

See cringe-worthy wedding moment 01:55

If Martha Stewart says so, it must be true! Gone is the era of the cookie-cutter wedding; you can celebrate your own way. Forget the "have tos" and "shoulds" about nuptials. There are no hard-and-fast rules. Except one: Be a gracious bride and groom while letting your true style shine.

9. Wedding etiquette: To keep or to toss?

Good manners are always in style, but points of wedding etiquette can be safely wrapped up and tucked away in the attic without the world crumbling to dust and guests rending their garments and wailing. Matrimony editor Kat Kinsman took a look at traditional wedding practices from which we may now part.

8. I do ... cost a lot: Weddings by the numbers

All you need is love, right? Sure, but a little cash can't hurt, especially when it's time to get hitched. Weddings are big business across the United States. Michelle Hall and Lizzie Jury of the CNN Library tallied up some quick stats on how money meets matrimony and the most popular places and ages at which to pledge your eternal devotion.

7. Plan a paw-sitively pet-friendly wedding

Some people can't imagine taking the most important commitment in their life -- their wedding vows -- without their pet close at hand. CNN's Ann Hoevel tracked down some expert advice on how to include four-legged friends in your special day without things getting too dog-gone crazy.

6. Don't waste money on your wedding!

Bride didn't expect to do this at wedding
Bride didn't expect to do this at wedding

    JUST WATCHED

    Bride didn't expect to do this at wedding

MUST WATCH

Bride didn't expect to do this at wedding 01:44

Regrets: Brides and grooms have had a few. Sometimes, sadly, it's over the person to whom they've pledged their undying devotion. Other times, it's about the cash they've dropped on their wedding. So step away from the ice swan and back off from the gilded matchbox covers; Kinsman shares some simple tips for how to save a few bucks and still stay stylish.

5. Something borrowed: Wedding traditions from around the world

For as long as couples have been tying the knot, the rites and customs of their cultures have been integral to marriage ceremonies. These rituals uphold tradition as time marches forth and families meld -- and they're a wonderful opportunity to celebrate ancestors, origins and faith. Kinsman took a look at marriage customs from around the globe.

4. Wedding photos: When snap-happy guests go too far

2013 was, no doubt, the most documented wedding year yet. From Twitter to Instagram to Facebook, guests and wedding party members alike posted images straight from the scene, sometimes using hashtags and apps so interested parties could follow along. But some of them took it a bit too far, getting in the way of professional photographers and turning a personal event into a public spectacle. CNN's Emanuella Grinberg shared perspectives on privacy from wedding participants on both sides of the aisle.

3. Bling! How stars put a ring on it

Kim and Kanye get engaged
Kim and Kanye get engaged

    JUST WATCHED

    Kim and Kanye get engaged

MUST WATCH

Kim and Kanye get engaged 02:02
Dying father gives wedding blessing
Dying father gives wedding blessing

    JUST WATCHED

    Dying father gives wedding blessing

MUST WATCH

Dying father gives wedding blessing 01:04

Jay-Z didn't just put a ring on it; he went above and beyond for wife Beyoncé with a huge 18-carat diamond ring. Elle magazine zoomed in for 17 close-ups of the biggest celebrity sparklers.

2. When God isn't on the guest list

Atheists need love, too. They'll even get legally hitched in the eyes of the government -- but not before a higher power in which they don't believe. This can cause some upset for friends and relatives accustomed to church weddings, or at least a verse from Corinthians. Grinberg spoke with experts and atheist couples about how to prepare guests for a secular ceremony.

1. I now pronounce me ... broke

Stephanie Gallman is a CNN national desk assignment editor and a semi-professional wedding guest. She's been a bridesmaid four times and stopped counting wedding attendances at 74. In our most popular Matrimony feature of the year, Gallman shared some friendly advice for for guests worried about draining their wallets in celebration of their friends' nuptials.