There’s no denying the fact that the wedding industry is huge in the U.S., with the cost of venues, catering, attire –and so much more – quickly adding up as couples approach their big day. And with the wedding season just around the corner, wedding costs are likely on many Americans’ minds. 

So what kind of financial toll will weddings take this year? To understand this, CivicScience dove into the most recent data. 

Weddings were big in 2022, when many couples were able to move forward with wedding celebrations after the disruptions caused by the pandemic in the years prior. An estimated 2.6 million weddings were anticipated, up even from 2019 numbers. 

This year looks just as busy, if not even more so. Six percent of respondents are planning a wedding this year, while 10% have wedding plans after 2023, according to the latest CivicScience polling data. That’s compared to a May 2022 poll, when 5% said they had already gotten married or were planning to that year. 

However, there are several key differences among those planning to say “I do” this year compared to last year. 

When it comes to budgets, more Americans are expecting to spend less on their wedding. This year, 37% plan to spend less than $10K on a wedding and 27% plan to spend between $10K-$20K, as compared to 33% and 25% in 2022. While similar numbers of people plan to spend between $20K-$50K, the percentage of those planning to spend more than $50K has fallen significantly by five percentage points.

And when they do spend, the percentage of Americans paying with available cash on hand (versus borrowing, gifts, loans, or savings) has increased by 3 percentage points. Fewer will be taking out loans or borrowing money from family or friends (-2 percentage points), while more plan to use money that has been gifted (+2 percentage points).

This change in anticipated spending behavior comes during a time of economic uncertainty, with inflation, the cost of living crisis, and interest rates clearly impacting big and small purchases alike. 

Many Couples Are Going Uninsured  

And yet, despite potential uncertainty in other parts of life, the majority of couples planning a wedding this year are unlikely to take out wedding insurance. Those planning to spend $40K or up are more likely to have already taken out a wedding insurance policy, but nearly half of these spenders don’t plan or are unlikely to do so. Those spending less than $40K are the most likely to plan to buy wedding insurance in the coming months.

Given the fact that plans to have a wedding reception immediately following the wedding are also down from 2022 (-5 percentage points), it’s possible that the desire to save money really is driving Americans’ wedding day decisions much more than last year. 

So what does this mean for the wedding industry and upcoming nuptials? Not surprisingly, couples are cutting back, paying with cash on hand, and potentially remaining more cautious spenders, so that their big day doesn’t make a big financial impact. 

Interested in a deeper dive into the wedding industry? Work with us.