The Knot Unveils 2008 Real Weddings Survey Results
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.
NATIONAL 2008 WEDDING TRENDS
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/Décor $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%)
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.