Whether you love it, hate it, or feel mostly neutral about it, wedding season is right around the corner. It’s a busy season for couples, their families and their friends. But how much does it all cost? The latest CivicScience wedding trends data shed light on the cost of saying “I do” and highlight key changes in spending patterns. 

Currently, 13% of U.S. adults say they will either have a wedding or have already had a wedding this year. An additional 8% have plans for 2025 or later (n=2,000+ responses in April 2024).

The percentage of those having wedding receptions is up six points this year, with those choosing to have a reception immediately following the wedding increasing from 41% in 2023 to 48% in 2024. The percentage of those not having a reception at all has declined, while those planning for a later date has largely remained steady year-over-year, despite waning COVID-19 concerns.

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Spending on the Decline, Smaller Weddings Becoming the Norm

Although plans for receptions are up, plans for spending are down. Last year, 37% planned to spend less than $10,000 on a wedding. This year, 39% say the same. On the other end of the spectrum, the highest spenders have also decreased from 13% who planned to spend $50K+ in 2023 to just 8% who now say the same.

For the wedding industry, that could mean smaller, scaled-back weddings. The majority of people getting married this year plan to have a wedding of fewer than 50 guests (53%), while less than a third say they will invite more than 50 people (31%). Additionally, travel is on the radar for some – 17% say they will have a destination wedding (n=700+ responses in April 2024).

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Who’s Shopping Local and Spending Less?    

Of course, attire is key on your wedding day, but brides and grooms display unique differences when it comes to where they’re shopping. As the data show, women are the most likely to go to a local boutique, while men prefer a department store.

And before you quip about the cost of a wedding dress, it’s important to note that women are more likely than men to be spending $100 or less on their wedding wear. This could be due to the increasing availability of lower-cost wedding dresses sold online and dress rental companies. In fact, the majority of women (51%) plan to spend no more than $500 on their big-day attire. How’s that for saying yes to the dress?

Tying the Knot With ‘The Knot’

Of course, a modern wedding wouldn’t be complete without a wedding website. And as it stands, The Knot blows all other wedding websites out of the water, with 28% of past and future brides and grooms opting for this platform. That’s followed by Zola (19%), WeddingWire (18%), WithJoy (13%), and Minted (7%) (n=400+ responses in April 2024).

This year, the data show a strong resurgence of weddings. Yet despite the increase in festivities, Americans are demonstrating more budget-conscious behavior – spending less on the event and, in some cases, the attire. So while the wedding industry shows no sign of slowing down, vendors may need to seek out creative ways to get couples to commit their cash.

Looking for more forward-looking insights among your brand’s target audiences? Get in touch to learn how the CivicScience InsightStore’s 4+ million daily responses can help you get and stay ahead of the curve.