CHEVY CHASE, MD -- March 7, 2019 -- WeddingWire, Inc., a leader in the global wedding industry, today released findings from its 2019 Newlywed Report, the largest report of its kind. The report analyzes behaviors of over 18,000 respondents and provides thorough insight into how real, modern-day couples are planning their weddings, finding their vendor teams, and celebrating their love with each other and their guests.
"Couples are placing an increased emphasis on creating a unique and unforgettable wedding experience for friends, family and wedding party members," said Lauren Goodson, Director of Insights at WeddingWire. "Nearly 60 percent are marrying someone with a different background, blending their interests, cultures and unique love for one another, and infusing them into a completely custom, personalized experience. However, couples still find it very challenging to accurately budget for their weddings, and we thoroughly explore the reasons why in this year's report."
The average age of couples getting married increases each year (now, 33) as they prioritize education, career and travel. While individuals place an emphasis on broadening their horizons, they are introduced to new people, cultures and cities, leading 58 percent of couples to marry outside their background, including race, religion, ethnicity, regional background and more.
Couples are becoming more diverse and are paying homage to this blending of backgrounds. Nearly 1-in-5 couples incorporate cultural traditions relating to their race or religion into their wedding ceremonies. For example, 91 percent of Jewish couples incorporate a special custom related to their religion, including the breaking of glass at the wedding ceremony. Couples are also carrying their cultures to the wedding reception as well. Popular ways for couples to incorporate their backgrounds include serving local cuisine (like ramen, waffles or croquembouche), or incorporating cultural music and dancing (like bagpipes, a Celtic band or Bollywood hits).
Nearly three-quarters of today's couples note they feel pressure to plan a highly unique proposal. With the rise of sharing life updates on social media (64 percent share their engagement on social media within a few hours), present-day proposals have evolved in a big way and often turn into celebrations involving friends and family (26 percent). For this reason, vendors are also often included in the special moment, with photographers used in 1-in-10 proposals to capture the moment. Additionally, couples may look into venues and caterers to host intimate celebrations or post-proposal parties, and even include music to elevate the special occasion.
Millennials, who make up the largest percentage of today's marrying couples, are now planning for their weddings earlier than ever before. They are 15 percent more likely than Gen X couples to wedding plan prior to an engagement. In fact, 2-in-3 millennial respondents reported taking at least one wedding planning step before getting engaged, including looking at wedding dresses online (35 percent), creating wedding inspiration boards on Pinterest (30 percent), and researching venues (25 percent).
Millennials—known for coveting instant gratification—plan with a digital mind-set, wanting immediate and on-the-go access to tools, vendor options and inspiration for efficient planning. While many of today's couples come straight to WeddingWire for their online wedding planning needs, WeddingWire partnered with Google to further uncover what couples search for online as it relates to their wedding planning journeys. In data provided exclusively to WeddingWire from Google, the most popular keyword search terms included various tools like "wedding checklist" and "wedding budget," which couples can find for free on WeddingWire.
Gone are the days when wedding party members only participated in the ceremony and reception. Couples are now hosting full-day affairs for those who stand beside them during nuptials. Much like entertaining their guests, couples are placing an increased emphasis on creating a fun experience for their wedding party. Most couples (65 percent) get ready with their wedding party, and many even provide wedding party members with matching robes or other fun outfits to get ready in. Additionally, nearly 30 percent of couples organize a prewedding activity with their wedding party members, like golf, spa treatments or a fun prewedding pool party.
On average, couples hire 14 wedding vendors to help pull off their special day. Now more than ever, couples strive to create a one-of-a-kind guest experience and are hiring vendors to create personalized experiences like interactive food stations (18 percent); photo booths (25 percent); fun and personalized favors (69 percent); and even unique entertainment (15 percent) like a wine tasting, a fortune-teller or palm reader, or casino tables. While booking 14 wedding vendors may seem overwhelming, couples rely heavily on reviews and photos to ensure they have the perfect team to bring their wedding vision to life. In fact, nearly 80 percent of couples consider reviews "very important" in deciding whether or not to hire a vendor.
Ceremonies have continued to become less formal, with most lasting 30 minutes or less (70 percent). Additionally, couples are steering clear of traditional wedding vows with nearly half of couples writing their own. This is yet another way for couples to personalize their special day, a trend WeddingWire continually notes is on the rise.
As the cost of weddings increases year-over-year, couples continue to underestimate the cost of their big days. On average, couples spend 45 percent more on their weddings than initially expected. One-in-three couples acknowledge their initial budget is not necessarily realistic, and after conducting further vendor research, 60 percent of couples go on to create a more detailed budget as they become further educated on costs. The top reasons couples overspend include:
Couples are marrying later in life when they are more financially stable, leading to less of a financial contribution from their parents for the wedding. Today's average couple is now paying for 45 percent of their wedding. In order to do so, couples are most likely to dip into their savings (42 percent), find new ways to make some extra cash (30 percent), and even incur credit card debt (20 percent).
For more information about the 2019 WeddingWire Newlywed Report, visit go.weddingwire.com/newlywed-report.
WeddingWire, Inc. is a trusted global online marketplace, connecting consumers with local wedding professionals and a suite of comprehensive tools that make wedding planning easier. Operating within a $250 billion industry, WeddingWire helps 16 million users every month find the right team of wedding professionals to personalize and pull off their special day. Consumers around the world are able to read more than 5 million vendor reviews and search, compare and book from a directory of over 500,000 vendors local to them. Founded in 2007, the WeddingWire portfolio serves couples and wedding professionals across 15 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. The company is headquartered in Washington, DC with international headquarters in Barcelona, Spain. Visit WeddingWire online at WeddingWire.com and follow on social media at Facebook.com/WeddingWire and @WeddingWire on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.