NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Knot Inc. (NASDAQ: KNOT), the owners of The Knot Wedding Network (which includes the Internet’s top two most-trafficked wedding websites and communities TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com), conducted a massive survey of 18,000 couples married in 2008 to capture detailed feedback on wedding spending, style preferences, event characteristics, and other key information related to the bridal demographic.
The third annual The Knot Real Weddings Survey, the largest survey of its kind conducted in the bridal industry, was administered by third-party research firm Harris Interactive.
2008 WEDDING BUDGET SURVEY RESULTS
How much do brides spend on their cake? Caterer? Venue? In 2008, $29,334 was the average wedding budget in the US (not including the honeymoon) reflecting a 5.2% increase year-over-year.
Category Average Spend 2008 vs. 2007
Wedding (Overall) $29,334 +5.2%
Reception Venue $13,667 +7.4%
Reception Band $3,633 -11.5%
Reception DJ $943 +0.3%
Photographer $2,655 +0.2%
Videographer $1,591 +1.2%
Wedding/Event Planner $1,907 +8.6%
Wedding Gown $1,032 -22%
Florist/Decor $1,924 -2.4%
Invitations $538 n/a
Wedding Cake $555 -19.7%
Ceremony Musicians $414 -12.0%
Catering (Cost per Head) $73 +6.9%
Wedding Day Transportation $725 +6.7%
Favors $352 n/a
Rehearsal Dinner $1,640 n/a
GENERAL WEDDING STATISTICS
* Number of guests: 148 (nearly the same as 2007)
* Number of bridesmaids: 5 (up over 2007, when average was 4)
* Number of groomsmen: 5 (up over 2007, when average was 4)
* Length of Engagement: 15.7 months (a 26.6% increase over 2007)
* Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (17%)
NATIONAL 2008 WEDDING TRENDS
TOP PRIORITIES: Venue, Band, and Photography: The bulk of the average wedding budget is dedicated to the reception venue ($13,667, a 7% increase over 2007); followed by the reception band ($3,633 on average); and photography ($2,655 on average).
BUDGETS: Budgets Are Bigger and Everyone’s Contributing: The bride’s parents (44%) and the bride and groom (43%) are paying for the majority of weddings. Grooms’ parents also contributed (12%) in 2008.
ENGAGEMENTS: Couples Are Engaged Longer: Couples marrying in 2008 were engaged for an average of 15.7 months, more than 25% longer than those married in 2007. A majority of couples (71%) lived together prior to getting married.
VENUES: Brides are Looking for More Unique Locations: Traditional venues, like reception halls and restaurants, dropped off slightly (10% and 11% respectively) as couples chose inventive sites, such as historical buildings, vineyards, and beaches. In 2008, 35% of ceremonies took place outdoors.
FORMALITY: Weddings Are Casual: Only 20% of weddings in 2008 were characterized as ‘formal/black tie’.
PLANNERS: More Brides Hire Planners, Particularly Day-of Coordinators: Nearly half (41%) of couples employed full wedding-planning services in 2008, while ‘day-of’ services jumped 14% in popularity.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Photography Is Editorial and Digital: Almost all (93%) brides chose ‘documentary’ style photographers, and 90% of photographers shot in digital.
CAKES: Most Brides Choose Designer Cakes: Over 51% of couples chose an independent cake baker to design their wedding cake.
WAYS TO SAVE: Brides Are Hot on Do-It-Yourself: More than half (55%) of brides made their own favors and ceremony programs. Other top DIY categories were escort cards, save-the-dates, invitations, and decorations.
MUSIC: Four Times More Brides Choose a DJ over a Band: The most popular style of band was Rock-and-roll/Motown (40%) the second most popular was Jazz/Big Band (18%) in 2008.
FIRST DANCE SONGS: Brides Love Classics: The top three first dance songs were: ‘At Last,’ by Etta James; ‘Bless the Broken Road,’ by Rascal Flatts; and ‘Everything,’ by Michael Buble.
LOCATION: Many Couples Are Marrying Far Away: In 2008, 1 in 5 couples planned an out of town wedding, with 1 in 10 couples hosting a full-fledged destination wedding, characterized as ‘200 or more miles away from where the bride and groom live (including non-US locations).’
GROOMS: Guys Are Involved Whether They Like It or Not: Many (36%) of grooms were ‘very involved’ and 58% of grooms were ‘somewhat involved.’
REHEARSAL DINNERS: Side Parties Are Serious: The average rehearsal dinner spend in 2008 was $1,640, reflecting larger parties and pricier menus; the morning-after brunch cost, on average, $827.
INTERESTING REGIONAL DIFFERENCES
With the large sample size, results of the 2008 Real Weddings Survey can be broken down on a region-by-region basis. Some interesting regional differences are:
* New York City has the oldest brides and grooms, with average ages of 31 and 33. Respectively, Utah has the youngest, with average ages of 25 (bride) and 27 (groom).
* Iowa and Nebraska couples have the largest weddings, with more than 200 guests.
* Hawaii, Maine, and North Carolina have the most casual weddings. Connecticut, South Florida, Chicago, Detroit, and New York City (and surrounding areas) have the most formal (black tie).
* Central Pennsylvania has the lowest average wedding budget ($20,653), reflecting an 18% drop over 2007. Long Island, NY has the highest average wedding budget ($56,823), followed by New York City which rang in at $52,904 (an intriguing 5% drop-off compared to 2007). Las Vegas, Nevada, weddings experienced the highest jump in overall bridal spend at 19%.
* The top 10 ‘most expensive’ places to get married are: Long Island, New York; New York City; Northern New Jersey; Hudson Valley, New York; Chicago; Connecticut; Los Angeles; South Florida; Rhode Island; and Orange County, California.
BIG QUESTION: How is the recession going to affect wedding spending in 2009?
The 2008 Real Weddings Survey results reflected greater wedding spending overall, despite the growing economic concerns last year. In a more recent survey conducted by The Knot (in March 2009) a majority of brides (60%) indicated that their wedding spending is proceeding according to plan, while 40% have reduced their wedding budgets by approximately 16%.
About the Survey: Survey of 18,000 couples– of mixed ethnicities, education, and income levels were polled across 50 states. Wedding dates of those polled fell between January 2008 and December 2008. The survey was launched in October 2008 and closed in February 2009.
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