Home Wedding Spending Gains Amid Changing Priorities, Economic Concerns
February 14, 2023

Wedding Spending Gains Amid Changing Priorities, Economic Concerns

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The Knot 2022 Real Weddings Study revealed 2022 saw 2.6 million couples getting married; Gen Zers want unique elements added to their nuptials; and those planning to get hitched in 2023 are concerned about how the economy might affect their planning.

As anticipated in the HomePage News Occasions Study, commissioned by the International Housewares Association, last year set a record for marriages in the United States.

The Knot surveyed 12,000 couples married in 2022 to provide a comprehensive look at how weddings unfolded as well as emerging trends among Gen Zers getting hitched.

Although new wedding elements are appearing, tradition remains strong as regards trends:

  • 91% of receptions featured first dance
  • 90% of couples included at least one that wore white
  • 84% of engaged couples set up a wedding registry
  • 83% of wedding days ran as ceremony, cocktail hour, reception
  • 80% of receptions slated a father-daughter and/or mother-son dance
  • 78% of nuptials were preceded by a rehearsal dinner
  • 76% of couples had one person changing their last name to their partner’s
  • 74% of receptions had a cake-cutting ceremony
  • 70% of weddings worked in something old, new, borrowed and blue
  • 68% of couples established specific table assignments for guests

In what The Knot referred to as a return to normalcy, only 7% of respondents to The Knot’s survey said the COVID-19 pandemic impacted their wedding dates, down from 27% in 2021. Although 25%of those surveyed continued to offer hand sanitizer to guests, highest among couples married in early 2022 at 39%, other health and safety measures dropped significantly.

Average guest size in 2022 was 117 as compared to 105 in 2021, 66 in 2020 and 131 in 2019. Cost per guest was $256 in 2022 versus $266 in 2021, $244 in 2020 and $214 in 2019. Total cost of a ceremony and reception was $30,000 in 2022, versus 28,000 in 2021, $19,000 in 2020 and $28,000 in 2019.

The average engagement length in 2022 was 15 months, though 13% of couples were engaged two years or longer, which would get into the pandemic period. December was the top engagement month as 15% of couples opted to celebrate the milestone with their loved ones already gathering for the holidays.

With personally crafted proposals popular, 58% of survey respondents said they felt pressure to plan a unique proposal, and roughly half planned their proposal one to three months in advance compared to 31% in 2017.

Couples’ top challenges during the wedding planning process include budgeting, at 47%, and determining the guest list, at 36%. On average, couples themselves paid for 49% of the wedding costs, though older Gen X adults, at 81%, and those identifying as LGBTQ+, at 56%, shoulder a greater proportion of costs. Couples are most likely to pay for their portion by tapping into their checking account, at 57%, or paying cash along the way, at 54%, through credit cards, at 39%, and money gifted via wedding gifts/registry, at 28%.  Couples turn to various resources to plan, especially friends/family, at 73%, and wedding planning websites, also at 73%. Then 68% tap Pinterest, most often for inspiration, and 29% hire a wedding planner.

The internet is playing a bigger role in nuptials planning, as 90% of couples created a wedding website to share with guests; 77% followed wedding vendors on social media; 64% used a wedding planning app; 52% video chatted with wedding guests; 45% watched online videos for wedding planning ideas and inspirations; 32% used online chats with vendors or others as they planned; and 13% took a virtual tour of wedding venues.

As for Gen Zers, they’re more likely to have their engagements photographed than other demographics, at 89%, versus 79% for Millennials. Gen Zers rate photos and videos as the most important part of the wedding day, 83% versus 76% of Millennials. Gen Z couples also welcome opportunities to incorporate cultural elements, with about 40% of such couples including ethnic, religious and/or cultural elements into their wedding, such as jumping the broom, compared to 32% of Millennials do the same. Gen Zers are incorporating vibrant and unconventional colors into their weddings, with green especially popular with 56% saying the color was an element in their nuptials decor. 

As for 2023, based on research conducted in January, the Knot maintained that 61% of couples who are set to wed this year say the economy has already impacted their wedding planning. Some 49% specifically cite inflation/rising costs as a top concern.

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