The Knot 2015 Real Weddings Study, the largest study in the wedding industry surveying nearly 18,000 real brides and grooms, captured every aspect of the wedding spend on a national and local level. With eight out of 10 brides relying on The Knot to inspire, plan and help book their weddings, this study is a true reflection of the state of weddings in America.
Top 2015 Wedding Statistics
Average Wedding Cost (excludes honeymoon): $32,641 (up from $31,213 in 2014)
Most Expensive Place to Get Married: Manhattan, $82,299 average spend
Least Expensive Place to Get Married: Alaska, $17,361 average spend
Average Spent on a Wedding Dress: $1,469
Average Marrying Age: Bride, 29; Groom, 31
Average Number of Guests: 139
Average Number of Bridesmaids: 5
Average Number of Groomsmen: 5
Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)
Average Length of Engagement: 14.5 months
Most Popular Month to Get Married: October (17%) and September (15%)
Popular Wedding Colors: Ivory/White (47%), Blue (39%), Pink (30%), Metallics (34%), Purple (21%)
The popularity of metallic gold has more than tripled from 7% in 2012 to 22% in 2015
Destination Weddings: 21% (down from 24% in 2014)
MOBILE WEDDING PLANNING: Couples are using smartphones more than ever to plan their wedding and couples expect personalized solutions. In 2015, the use of smartphones for wedding planning activities – be it researching and contacting wedding vendors, or creating and managing a wedding registry or personal wedding website – was 89%. In fact, 77% of couples accessed TheKnot.com from their smartphones. Couples expect personalized solutions much like The Knot Concierge, which combines high-tech with real local wedding experts to provide spot-on venue recommendations, and guides them through high-consideration purchases for a wedding. More than half of all brides (58%) browse wedding gowns on their mobile devices—and just as many couples look up and manage their vendor information. In addition to finding wedding inspiration and vendors, 16% of couples are also leveraging useful tools such as online RSVP services on their mobile devices, up from 7% in 2014.
THEMED WEDDINGS AND ETHNIC ELEMENTS CREATE A MEANINGFUL WEDDING EXPERIENCE: Couples are showing their unique style and paying homage to their heritage by incorporating diverse events into their wedding celebration. Ethnic, religious and local elements – ranging from bilingual music and Celtic Hand Tying, to Chinese tea ceremonies and Jumping the Broom – continue to be a strong part of wedding celebrations, with 19% of couples incorporating an ethnic or religious element into their wedding day. Some couples even embrace and include traditions outside of their own backgrounds. Themed weddings are also popular among couples, with 22% having a theme which reflects their personalities. Up from 29% in 2009, 40% of couples had a family member or friend officiate their ceremony, adding a deeply personal touch to a very meaningful wedding element.
COUPLES ARE SPENDING MORE ON THE GUEST EXPERIENCE AND ADDING PERSONAL TOUCHES: Guest spend goes up, but the number of guests are down. The average number of wedding guests in 2015 was 139, down from 149 in 2009, and the cost per wedding guest is up to $237, up from $194 in 2009. Spending is also on the rise when it comes to all reception categories, including catering costs, cake, music, flowers, photography, entertainment and more in 2015. Since 2009, custom guest entertainment that reflect couples’ personalities have more than tripled, from 11% to 36%, including cigar rolling stations, wine and liquor tastings, and live dance performers. Couples offering signature cocktails have nearly doubled at 22%, up from 12% in 2008.
COUPLES WED FAR FROM HOME: Fewer couples are having “destination weddings,” but more couples are hosting their wedding far from their home city. In 2015, 49% of couples were married 200 miles or more from where they lived at the time they were married, up from 21% in 2014. And for the 21% of couples who consider their wedding a “destination wedding,” (down from 24% in 2014) nearly 1 in 5 of them host a second party when they return home to accommodate friends and family who were unable to travel to their wedding destination. There are more than 350,000 destination weddings each year, 77% of which take place in the continental U.S. and 23% taking place at international destinations such as the Caribbean (32%) and Mexico (19%).
MORE COUPLES DEPEND ON PROFESSIONALS: Couples are spending on wedding professionals to help them plan a perfect day, and to ensure they have long-lasting memories. One in 3 couples are hiring professional videographers to capture their ceremony and reception, and nearly 9 out of 10 couples hire a professional photographer. Wedding planners are also becoming an integral part of the wedding planning process, with 26% of couples hiring a planning professional in 2015 (up from 19% in 2010). Professional DJs are also on the rise with 66% of couples hiring a professional DJ (up from 61% in 2010).
SEASONAL SHIFTS: Summer is slowly making its way out of style as the signature wedding season. Summer has long been defined as being wedding season. However, fall weddings are picking up steam and are well on their way to being the newly crowned king season for weddings. In 2015, only 33% of couples opted for summer nuptials, down from 39% in 2014. Fall has been making headway, with 39% of couples choosing to say “I do” in September (15%), October (17%), and November (7%), up from 31% in 2014.
MODERN DAY WEDDINGS COST A PRETTY PENNY: Tradition lives on, with parents paying for a large portion of wedding costs, but today’s couples are happy to contribute. On average, the bride’s parents contribute 44% of the overall wedding budget, the bride and groom contribute 43%, and the groom’s parents contribute 12% (others account for the remaining 1%). In 2015, 12% of couples paid for the wedding entirely by themselves, and 9% of couples don’t contribute any finances to the wedding budget.
Professional hair and make-up is paid for by the bride in nearly half of all weddings. Forty four percent of brides, along with her parents, contribute to the costs for professional hair styling and 41% contribute to professional make-up for their bridesmaids. The average cost of professional bridal party hair and makeup services are $70 and $68 per person, respectively.
Based on average cost of a wedding in 2015, couples spend the most on their weddings in the following areas in the U.S.
New York – Manhattan: $82,299
Illinois – Chicago: $61,265
New York – Westchester/Hudson Valley: $57,501
New York – Long Island: $56,950
New Jersey – North/Central: $55,389
Based on average cost of a wedding in 2015, couples spend the least on their weddings in the following areas in the U.S.
South Dakota: $18,890
Texas – West Texas: $19,261
New Mexico: $20,114
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