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A year ago, the wedding experts at The Knot predicted that a “return to normalcy” would spawn a post-pandemic wedding boom in 2022. They were confident that 2.6 million couples would be exchanging vows last year, far outpacing even the pre-pandemic number of 2.2 million tallied in 2019, and according to The Knot’s newly released 2022 “Real Weddings Study,” they were exactly right.
Only 7% of respondents said their 2022 wedding date was impacted by COVID-19, down from 27% in 2021.
“Real Weddings Study” included a lot of questions about proposals, engagements and jewelry preferences.
For instance, The Knot reported that nearly all (95%) of their respondents exchanged engagement rings and that diamonds remained the overwhelming choice of center stone (85%). While the round center stone still ranked as the most popular shape (favored by 37%), the oval has been making strong advances (21%, up from just 7% in 2017).
The engagement ring — at $5,800 — remained the second-highest-priced item on the list of all wedding expenses (the venue was #1). The popularity of more affordable lab-grown diamonds has allowed customers to consider larger center stones. In 2022, 23% of couples reported a center stone that weighed 2 carats or more. That’s 11 percentage points higher than in 2017.
Once again, December was the top engagement month, as 15% of couples opted to celebrate during the holiday season (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were the top dates to pop the question). Respondents said the average length of their engagements was 15 months. Exactly 91% announced their engagements on social media, 87% proposed on bended knee and 71% asked for their partner’s parents for permission.
The Knot emphasized how couples are more thoughtfully crafting their proposals. In fact, a majority of proposers (58%) said they felt pressure to plan a “highly unique proposal,” and roughly half planned their proposal one to three months in advance compared to 31% in 2017.
For the seventh year in a row, October will be the most popular month to get married, with three of the top five most popular dates falling during that month. The top wedding date of 2023 is expected to be Saturday 9/23/23 (because of the neat repeating number), followed by these Saturday dates: 10/7/23, 10/14/23, 5/20/23 and 10/21/23.
Couples spent an average of $30,000 on their ceremony and reception in 2022, up $2,000 compared to 2021, but the numbers varied widely based on location.
A look at wedding costs in the 20 largest US metro areas shows New York ($60,000), San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland ($54,000), Boston ($50,000), Chicago ($47,000) and Washington, DC ($40,000) topping the list.
Couples paid the least in Dallas-Fort Worth ($28,000), Houston ($28,000), Seattle-Tacoma ($28,000), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota ($28,000), Cleveland ($27,000), Sacramento-Modesto ($26,000) and Minneapolis-St. Paul ($25,000).
In a special section of its survey dedicated to “Shifting Trends,” The Knot identified these items on the rise: 45% requested an “unplugged ceremony” with no photos/videos (up 23%), 40% wanted a signature cocktail (up 17%), 39% offered gluten-free options at the reception (up 16%).
These items are on their way down: 48% handed out wedding favors (down 21%), 37% had a bouquet toss (down 12%), 32% created a wedding hashtag (down 23%).
There was a tie for the most popular type of wedding venue in 2022, with both banquet halls and farm/barn/ranch earning 20% of the total. Those were followed by historic building/home (13%), hotel/resort (11%) and country club (8%).
These were the average costs of key bridal services in 2022: reception venue ($11,200); photographer ($2,600), florist ($2,400), wedding dress ($1,900), DJ ($1,500), wedding cake ($510), groom’s attire ($290), hair/makeup ($250). Catering averaged $75 per person.
The average number of wedding guests in 2022 grew to 117, significantly more than the 105 invited in 2021, but far less than the pre-pandmic 2019 average of 131.
The “Real Weddings Study” is based on responses from nearly 12,000 U.S. couples married between January 1 and December 31, 2022.
Credit: Image by BigStockPhoto.com.