Celebrating Couples Nationwide

Today’s couples are engaged for 15 months and throughout that time have on average four different wedding related events, such as engagement parties (1 in 4), bachelor/ette parties (over 75%) and rehearsal dinners (79%).

With 1 in 3 couples describing their vibe as “romantic”, it’s no surprise that shades of blue (52%), ivory/champagne and metallics, like gold (34%), are being widely incorporated into day-of features like floral arrangements, wedding attire and table settings/ linens.

The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study sheds light on who are today's couples getting married. In 2019, the average guest count was 131, while the average was of a couple getting married was 32. The average size of a wedding party is 10 and nearly 1 in 4 have a destination wedding. Finally, the most popular wedding color of 2019 was Dark Blue and over 80% of couples set up a wedding registry for family and friends to purchase gifts for the newlyweds.

Blending Culture

Nearly half of all couples marry someone with a different background (51%), including a partner with a different race, religion, ethnicity or from a different geographic area. Couples are increasingly turning to their wedding planner, DJ and other wedding professionals to find unique ways to celebrate and merge their individual backgrounds (like this couple’s North Carolina wedding fusing Jewish and Mexican traditions).

  • When it comes to the ceremony, four in ten incorporate religious or cultural elements, with couples opting for everything from religious readings to jumping the broom.

  • Couples also bring out their unique heritage via their attire—46% wear something with special meaning to their family (this bride wore her mother’s veil and grandmother’s satin dress!).

Top Traditions & Personalization

Traditions like the first dance (done by over 90% of couples) and cake cutting ceremony (82%) continue to be widely embraced by couples, but the majority find it equally as important that their wedding is a true reflection of their relationship (55%) and are not afraid to forge their own unique traditions—like showcasing their personality through colorful attire or changing into a second look mid-celebration (22%).

From 44% of couples creating their own vows (a trend that has increased by 8% since 2016) to 17% incorporating monograms throughout the day and even including pets in their ceremony—ring bearer anyone? (10%)—couples are adding those personal touches that make their wedding day truly one-of-a-kind.

Wedding Trends on the Rise: Eco-Conscious Weddings. Sustainable weddings are gaining popularity as couples seek out opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint. Nearly 40% of newlywed couples wore an item that was borrowed/ passed down, while 1 in 4 incorporate locally sourced product. In addition, 22% donated decor and/food after the wedding, 14% included eco-friendly/sustainable decor and 1 in 10 sent digital save-the-dates to reduce paper waste.

All About the Guest Experience

Although a wedding is and should be all about the couple getting married, 72% say that making sure their guests are well taken care of and have a good time is their top priority during planning. So what are couples doing to make it a memorable event?

  • Nearly 50% of couples hire/provide guest entertainment like this one-of-a-kind photobooth (58%), musical performances (25%) and games (17%), like custom cornhole perfect for those outdoor receptions.

  • Food is no exception! It’s no surprise couples put a lot of thought into their menu, as guests overwhelmingly say it’s the food that they pay the most attention to at the reception. A majority opt for serving food buffet-style (56%) ranging from a spread of Mexican foods to a pretzel bar, while 35% offer gluten-free/vegan options and 17% have interactive food experiences (such as food trucks or mixologists) for their guests to enjoy.

Here are the top 5 food trends as seen among newlyweds married in 2019. Over 75% serve wedding cake, 1 out of 2 couples have a champagne toast with their guests. Nearly 45% provide guests with a dessert bar, 1 in 4 provide late-night snacks and 14% incorporate food based on their culture/background (think: Mexican taco bar)

The Cost of a Wedding

Consistent with last year, the average cost of a wedding ceremony/reception in 2019 was $28,000 though the day-of costs vary significantly by location. Midwestern locales like Columbus ($23,500) and St. Louis ($24,000) see day-of wedding costs fall below $25,000, while prices in major northeastern cities are significantly higher (Manhattan: $83,000, Boston: $38,600, DC: $34,700, Philadelphia: $34,300).

In addition, guest count, time of year, number of vendors and venue type are all factors that greatly impact wedding spend. Venue is the biggest driver of ceremony/reception costs, typically accounting for one-third of spend. Banquet halls (21%) and farms/barns (18%) were the most popular venue types last year, though there are endless options of where to say “I Do” (even a treehouse).

In 2019, the average wedding cost was $38,900. When you breakdown the average cost of a wedding, the ceremony/ reception is $28,000, while the average cost of an engagement ring is $5,900. Finally couples spend roughly $5,000 on average for their honeymoon.

Registries with a Purpose

Approximately 80% of couples set up a registry and start adding items as early as seven months in advance of their wedding day. Regardless of the registry type, registries are inherently personalized to the couple and are crafted with a set purpose and meaning related to building their life together.

  • Nearly 30% of couples create a honeymoon registry (especially millennials who highly value experiences), while charity and cash fund registries are on the rise.

  • The average couple creates more than three different registries. As the majority of couples are now living together before marriage, couples are using a mix of registry types (like that of Tim Tebow + Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters) to curate items and experiences that are most relevant to their current life stage. 

  • Today’s couples are more likely to begin the process online (60%) than in store (39%) and are now almost exclusively managing the registry online (97%).

Couples married in 2019 tell The Knot which categories they most often register for on their wedding registry. Nearly 90% register for bake-ware/cookware, followed by kitchen tools/appliances (82%) and bath items (80%). Bedding ranks #4 at 79% and finally nearly 75% register for cutlery.