The Knot, is recognized as the #1 multi-platform wedding resource. They recently released the results of The Knot 2014 Real Weddings Study. The eighth annual comprehensive report, the largest of its kind, surveyed nearly 16,000 US brides and grooms married in 2014 to uncover the financial spending habits and trends of real weddings in America. This study includes national and regional statistics on the average cost of a wedding, how it is budgeted, the average number of wedding guests, spend per guest, wedding style trends and other key statistics related to weddings in America.
“While wedding budgets continue to rise, with the national average at $31,213, guest lists are shrinking. The average wedding now has 136 guests, down from 149 in 2009,” said Rebecca Dolgin, Editor in Chief of The Knot. “Couples are focusing on creating an amazing guest experience and reception details, including finding unique venues to reflect their personality. Perhaps the biggest change we’ve seen is in the amount of brides using their mobile phone to plan their wedding—it has doubled in just three years.”
USING SMARTPHONES FOR PLANNING: Couples are researching everything from gowns to vendors on mobile applications. In 2014, the use of smartphones to access wedding planning websites has nearly doubled from 2011 (33%) to 2014 (61%). In fact, 71% of couples accessed TheKnot.com from their smartphones. About 6 out of 10 brides are actively planning their weddings through their mobile device: researching gowns on smartphones (61%), up from 27% in 2011; researching wedding vendors on mobile (57%), up from 22% in 2011.
PERSONALIZATION IS ON THE RISE, INCLUDING CHANGES IN VENUES: Couples are showing their unique style by choosing unexpected places to wed. Since 2009, historic buildings/homes and farm venues have grown in popularity. Historic buildings/homes make up 14% in 2014, compared with only 12% in 2009, and farms make up 6% in 2014, up from 3% in 2009. While banquet halls (22%), country clubs (11%) and hotels (11%) are still popular options for couples, about 40% are looking for unusual venues that better reflect their personality.
COUPLES ARE SPENDING MORE ON THEIR RECEPTION ELEMENTS, AND LESS ON THEIR CEREMONY.
Spending is on the rise across reception categories, and couples are spending more on their catering, musicians and cake in 2014. Spending for cocktail hours also rose to 76% from 69% in 2010. Couples are spending less on the ceremony. In 2014, 33% of couples hired pianists and organists for their ceremony, down from 49% in 2009, and 28% of couples held their ceremony in a religious institution, down from 41% in 2009.
WITH ALMOST HALF OF COUPLES GOING OVER BUDGET, WHO PAYS FOR THE WEDDING?
On average, the bride’s parents contribute 43%, the bride and groom contribute 43%, and the groom’s parents contribute 12% of the total wedding budget (others account for the remaining 2%). Only 12% of couples pay for the wedding entirely themselves.
In 2014, 45% of couples went over budget, about 1 in 4 (26%) of couples stayed within their budget, and only 6% of couples came out under budget. 23% didn’t even have a wedding budget, up from 17% in 2009.
BUSY LIVES MEANS SAVING THE DATE: More couples are using save-the-dates. The percentage of couples who used save-the-dates was 75% in 2014, compared with 72% in 2013 and 57% in 2009. In 2014, 50% of couples had their save-the-dates professionally made, up from 29% in 2009.
Based on average cost of a wedding in 2014, couples spend the most on their weddings in the following areas in the US. Five of the six most expensive areas to get married are in the New York/Tri-State area.
Figures based on respondents who hired a professional vendor for the service.
Notable Regional Differences
The Knot 2014 Real Weddings Survey can be broken down on a region-by-region basis across more than 80 markets. Regional highlights include:
Cost of Weddings: New York City (Manhattan) and Long Island have the highest average wedding spend ($76,328 and $55,327, respectively), and Arkansas and Utah had the lowest average wedding spend ($18,031 and $15,257, respectively), excluding honeymoon.
Marriage Age: Nevada and New York City (Manhattan) have the oldest brides (32.7 and 32 years, respectively), whereas West Virginia and Kentucky have the youngest brides (26.8 and 26.9 years, respectively), on average.
Engagement Length: North/Central New Jersey and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, brides have the longest engagements (18 and 17.5 months, respectively), while brides in Utah and West Texas have the shortest (10 and 9.9 months, respectively), on average.
Wedding Size: As in 2013, Nebraska and Iowa brides have the largest number of wedding guests (208 and 189, respectively), and Hawaii and Nevada brides still have the smallest number of wedding guests (82 and 66, respectively).
Wedding Style: Savannah, Georgia, and Hawaii still have the most casual weddings (40% and 39%, respectively), while North/Central New Jersey and Long Island had the most formal (black tie) weddings (36% and 35%, respectively).
Wedding Dress Spend: Brides in Manhattan and Long Island spend the most on their dresses ($2,914 and $2,137, respectively), while Idaho and Alaska brides spend the least ($982 and $925, respectively).
Honeymoon: Couples from Alabama (87%), North/Central New Jersey (85%), Utah (85%) and Tennessee (85%) are most likely to book a honeymoon, while couples in North Dakota and Alaska are least likely to book a honeymoon (44% each).
Gift Registry: Brides in Kentucky and Ohio are most likely to register for wedding gifts (96% and 95%, respectively), while brides in Hawaii and Nevada are least likely to register (69% and 68%, respectively).
About The Knot 2014 Real Weddings Survey
The 2014 Real Weddings Survey captured responses from nearly 16,000 US brides married between January 1 and December 31, 2014. Respondents were recruited throughout the year from TheKnot.com membership, which represents nearly 80% of brides nationwide. Brides received survey invitations shortly after their wedding date and were asked a comprehensive series of questions about the event and their planning process. All qualified respondents attested that they were 18 or older and had a wedding in 2014.
Survey respondents represent a variety of ethnicities and educational and income levels, and are geographically dispersed across the country. The survey and data management partner for the study was Decipher Inc.