Brides Remain Committed to Spend on Wedding Despite Economy

The Knot Inc., a leading lifestage media company, recently released the results of its annual Real Weddings Survey, which surveyed nearly 19,000 U.S. couples married in 2010. The 2010 Real Weddings Survey captures detailed feedback on wedding budget, style preferences, event characteristics and other key information related to the bridal demographic. 

Brides remain committed to planning a luxurious, memorable event and are willing to spend despite the state of the economy,” said Carley Roney, editor in chief of The Knot Inc. “In fact, approximately 1 in 5 brides are spending more than $30,000 on their wedding, and 12% of brides are spending more than $40,000.”


  • Wedding Spend (excluding honeymoon): $26,984
  • Most Expensive Area to Get Married (excluding honeymoon): NYC (Manhattan), $70,030
  • Least Expensive Area to Get Married (excluding honeymoon): Utah, $13,214
  • Wedding Dress Spend: $1,099
  • Percentage of Destination Weddings: 24%
  • Bride’s Age: 29
  • Groom’s Age: 31
  • Number of Guests: 141
  • Average Wedding Spend (on a per guest basis): $194
  • Number of Bridesmaids: 4
  • Number of Groomsmen: 4
  • Length of Engagement: 14 months
  • Most Popular Engagement Month: December (16%)
  • Most Popular Wedding Month: June (15%)
  • Most Popular Wedding Color: White/​Ivory (43%)



The 2010 Real Weddings Survey can be broken down on a region-​by-​region basis across more than 80 markets. Regional highlights include:

  • Budget: New York City (Manhattan) has the highest average wedding budget ($70,730), and Utah has the lowest average wedding budget ($13,214), excluding honeymoon only.
  • Age: New York City (Manhattan and Outer Boroughs) has the oldest brides (32 years), whereas West Texas has the youngest brides (24 years), on average.
  • Engagements: Northeast brides have the longest engagements (15.5 months), while brides from Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi have the shortest (12 months), on average.
  • Wedding Size: On average, Nebraska and Iowa brides still have the largest number of wedding guests (213 and 200, respectively), and Hawaii and Nevada still have the smallest number of wedding guests (82 and 59, respectively).
  • Wedding Style: Hawaii has the most casual weddings, while Northern/​Central New Jersey has the most formal (black-​tie) weddings.
  • Economy’s Effect: Brides in New Mexico, and California and Nevada (Sacramento, Tahoe and Reno) were the most affected by the economy, while brides in Alaska and Nebraska were the least affected.
  • Registry: Brides in Toledo, Ohio, Kansas and Minnesota are the most likely to register for wedding gifts (96%).



TOP SPENDERS:  New York City Tri-​State Area, New Jersey and Rhode Island Brides are top wedding spenders, spending more than $40,000 on their wedding. Nationwide, 12% of brides spend more than $40,000 on their wedding event, and approximately 1 in 5 brides spend more than $30,000 on their wedding event, not including the engagement ring or honeymoon.

ECONOMY:  Less than a third (31%) of brides said the economy affected their wedding budget – a decrease from 34% in 2009. However, when it does come to lowering the wedding budget, one successful cost-​cutting tactic used by brides is to trim the number of wedding guests – 141 was the average in 2010, compared with 149 in 2009. Despite the decrease in wedding guests, wedding standards weren’t affected, as the average wedding spend per guest remained the same as it was in 2009 – $194.

LOCATION:  Destination weddings rose the past two years, with an increase of 20% since 2008. In fact, approximately 1 in 4 couples considered their wedding a destination wedding in 2010. This, in turn, affected the percentage of guests needing overnight accommodations – 42% compared with 36% in 2008.

COLOR:  Purple is the new “it” color, with 1 out of 5 brides (21%) choosing it for their wedding – a 50% increase since 2008.

ONLINE RESOURCES:  From using social media to communicate wedding details (a 78% increase since 2008) and creating/​sending save-​the-​dates or invitations online (a 40% increase since 2008) to using an online RSVP service (a 31% increase since 2008) or setting up personal wedding websites (a 23% increase since 2008), brides are increasingly using online wedding planning tools to prepare for the big day.

[Source:  "2010 Real Weddings Survey."  TheKnot​.com & WeddingChannel​.com.  2 Mar. 2011.  Web. 3 Mar. 2011.]