It’s taken three years of hand-wringing, cancellations and dates written in pencil, but the latest survey from The Knot shows that the wedding industrial complex is back to its pre-pandemic normal.
Last year, a record 2.6 million couples got hitched.
This year, it’s expected to recede to a more typical 2.1 million nuptials. And 93% say their weddings happened as planned, with just 7% of respondents saying COVID had any impact on the date they chose.
Costs rose to $30,000 in 2022 for the average ceremony and reception, up from $28,000 in 2021. Guest lists are ticking up, averaging 117 per wedding, compared to 105 in 2021.
Based on 12,000 couples, the annual survey reveals an increasing shift to wedding professionals, now used by 23% of respondents, an 11% increase since 2019. That reflects the rising complexity of the wedding world. On average, couples work with 14 vendors per wedding.
As the oldest members of Gen Z are turning 25, that group is exerting its individualistic trend-setting power. About a third of couples chose a wedding theme, up from 13% in 2017. Many are quirky and based on beloved pop-culture references like “Taylor Swift and Cats,” “Roaring ‘20s with Star Wars influence,” and “Vintage Nintendo.”
And 40% chose signature cocktails, compared with just 17% in 2017.
Strong opinions about tech are emerging, with 45% opting for “unplugged” ceremonies with no videos or cameras.
Wedding hashtags are on the way out, falling to just 23% from 32%, as are wedding favors, down 21%, as couples look for more ways to lessen the environmental impact of their big day.
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The online wedding platform says some clear generational differences are emerging. Gen Z couples (between 18 and 25) have been together longer, dating an average of two years, about 8% longer than millennials. They’re also more finance-focused and more likely to have discussed future money issues with their partners.
Gen Z is also more intent on making a splash, looking for ways to make their celebration different. About 40% surprised guests with an ethnic, religious or cultural element like jumping over a broomstick or lighting a unity candle. And 67% had some kind of grand entrance or exit, using details like fireworks or sparklers. Only 49% of millennials did so.