The Knot’s 2021 "Real Weddings Study" paints a picture of a wedding industry returning to normalcy after more than a year of COVID-related "minimonies" and micro weddings. The study also predicts a wedding boom for 2022.
The average cost of a wedding in 2021 was $28,000 ($34,000 including the engagement ring), which represents a full recovery to the average recorded in 2019. For comparison, the average cost of a wedding in 2020, during the height of the pandemic, was $19,000.
The engagement ring — at $6,000 — remained the second-highest-priced item on the list of all wedding expenses (the venue was #1).
Engagement ring spending varied broadly by region. The Mid-Atlantic, for example, had the highest average spend, coming in at $7,900. In areas like New England, the Southwest and the Southeast, the average spend was $7,400, $5,500 and $5,300, respectively. The Midwest trailed the other regions, averaging $5,200.
The Knot survey noted that the average cost of a women's wedding band in 2021 was $1,100, while the average cost of a men's wedding band was $550. White gold remained the most popular wedding band material, while rose gold, yellow gold and sterling silver were also top favorites.
The Knot is also predicting a wedding boom later this year. Barring any unforeseen health disruptions, the US will be celebrating 2.6 million weddings in 2022, far more than the pre-pandemic 2.2 million weddings registered during 2019. About 75% of couples who got engaged in 2021 have already set a date for 2022, according to The Knot, and nearly 65% of those couples are opting to wed in the summer and fall of this year.
For the sixth year in a row, October is anticipated to be the most popular month (17% of all weddings) with October 22, 2022, being the most coveted date. Other popular dates (all Saturdays) are May 21, June 18, October 1 and October 8.
In 2021, New Jersey was the most expensive place to have a ceremony and reception ($47,000), followed by the District of Columbia ($44,000), New York ($42,000) and Rhode Island ($43,000). The least expensive places to host a wedding were Wyoming ($15,800), Idaho ($16,000), Oklahoma ($16,000) and Kansas ($17,000).
The Knot is projecting that the average number of wedding guests in 2022 should grow to 129 (higher than the average of 105 in 2021 and on par with the 2019 average of 131), while the estimated average ceremony/reception spend will remain steady at $27,000.
On the average, couples pay for roughly 48% of their wedding tab, with families typically covering the remainder of the bill (52%).
These were the average costs of key bridal services in 2021: reception venue ($10,700); reception band ($4,300), photographer ($2,500), florist/décor ($2,300), rehearsal dinner ($2,300), videographer ($1,900), wedding dress ($1,800), wedding/event planner ($1,700), reception DJ ($1,400), transportation ($900), wedding cake ($500), invitations ($530), favors ($450), wedding day hair stylist ($130) and makeup artist ($115). Catering averaged $75 per person.
The "Real Weddings Study" is based on responses from more than 15,200 U.S. couples married between January 1 and December 31, 2021.
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