Just in time for Valentine’s Day, The Knot dropped its annual wedding study, which reveals a whole slew of interesting facts about how couples are planning their big day, from the average price of weddings (it’s $33,900 FYI) to trends like breaking tried-and-true traditions.
Surveying 25,000 couples across the country, The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study shows that couples are feeling more comfortable breaking social norms and doing their own thing to create celebrations that reflect their unique and personal love stories.
Couples are more diverse than ever (51 percent have different backgrounds) and are making a point to include their culture, religion, and even perspectives on social issues in their ceremonies and receptions. For instance, 38 percent of couples incorporated religions or cultural elements into their weddings, and 4 percent had multiple ceremonies for religious reasons.
“We’re really seeing the term ‘traditional wedding’ fall off as couples look to infuse their love stories into their wedding days,” says Lauren Kay, Executive Editor at The Knot. “There really are no rules anymore, and couples should feel free to make whatever choices feel most natural, exciting and in line with who they are. And if that’s forgoing walking down the aisle during the ceremony, donning a red pantsuit instead of a white gown, or having a wedding registry that donates to a couple’s charity of choice in lieu of gifts—we’re here for it!”
Social and political issues are making their way into ceremonies and receptions as well, as couples are showing what they stand for. They are incorporating Marriage Equality Act readings into their ceremony, embracing sustainability by donating decor (22 percent), and creating charity gift registries. On their big day, couples are prioritizing inclusivity, sustainability, and community.
“Overall, couples are allowing their weddings to serve as their own form of activism, whether that’s rooted in their political beliefs, or their desire to leave a lasting impact on their communities and the world around them,” Kay says.
Couples also are breaking traditional gender norms with co-ed wedding parties (37 percent), first dances with mom and grooms carrying bouquets. And it doesn’t matter what you wear, with brides donning pantsuits and grooms sporting dresses.
The drive to be conscientious during the planning period is driven by not just social awareness, but also budget constraints.
“When it comes to monetary spending on weddings, our data shows that couples are contributing more financially to their weddings than in years past. On average, couples cover nearly half of wedding costs nowadays,” Kay says. “Because of this, they’re being much more cost-conscious, prioritizing what’s important to them and focusing on those few areas that mean the most to them.”
The average cost of weddings has gone down significantly since 2016 (it was a whopping $35,329), showing that couples are being intentional about how they choose to spend their money. For 69 percent of couples, the budget is the second most important aspect of wedding planning, aside from the overall guest experience.
The most expensive weddings can be found in the Northeast. New Jersey tops the charts (yes, even New York!) with $53,400 as the total average wedding cost, followed by Rhode Island ($49,800), New York ($48,600), Massachusetts ($43,600) and Connecticut ($41,000).
And the most affordable weddings are out West with Utah weddings coming in at $19,700 on average and Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho tied for second place with $19,800.
Since modern couples are footing some of the bill, they’re being thoughtful about where they are cutting costs and splurging. The foodie couple is going to prioritize catering, and the music-lovers are going to focus on the dance party.
“Couples are being incredibly intentional about what they choose to spend their money on when it comes to their wedding day,” Kay says.