NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jul 10, 2014) - Today, Michelle Myers, vice president and publisher of BRIDES -- the number-one bridal brand in the world -- announced the results from the 2014 American Wedding Study, the definitive analysis of spending and behavior around wedding planning. For decades, BRIDES has conducted this conclusive survey, which provides key insights into emerging and established trends surrounding this economically charged and habit-forming life phase.
"BRIDES is proud to present the 2014 American Wedding Study. This year's results show that today's bride and groom are willing to invest to get the wedding of their dreams. They are spending over $28,000, on average, which is the highest we've seen in nearly 20 years -- and they are often covering the cost themselves," Myers said. "Bridal media has never been more relevant in inspiring and informing their purchase decisions, and BRIDES continues to be their number one resource."
Results of the 2014 BRIDES American Wedding Study show that the importance of personalization continues to rise, even when it comes to how couples will incorporate tradition. For example, 37% of them chose to write their own vows. More couples are paying their own way for their weddings than ever before, and despite that fact, the average cost has increased. This means people are often willing to extend their engagement to save for the big day.
Social media is playing a bigger role than ever for brides, with 54% of brides using Pinterest to communicate their wedding-day vision to planners and vendors and 64% pinning content to aggregate inspiration for the big day. Brides-to-be are also using social media to communicate with their friends and family; 59% posted a picture of their engagement ring after receiving it, and 46% say most of their friends learned of their engagement through social media.
Perhaps taking a cue from Hollywood, 10% of couples already have children together when they say their I do's, up from 7% in 2012. Within a month of dating, 48% of brides knew their fiancé was "the one."
May has taken the top spot over June as the most popular month to get married, with 15% of brides getting married in May. June is now tied for second with September and October (each at 13%). January and February are the least popular (2% each).
Couples are choosing to blend the old with the new, preserving select traditions that resonate most with their vision for their big day. For example, 20% of couples are married by a friend or family member ordained for the occasion, instead of a religious officiant, up from 14% in 2011.
* The average wedding cost is $28,202, an increase of slightly more than $1,213 since 2012.
* The reception accounts for 43% of wedding costs, with an average price tag of $12,343.
* Outside of the reception, the largest chunks of money are going to engagement rings ($5,002), photography and video ($3,378), music ($1,297), and wedding rings ($1,727).
* The average wedding cake costs $461.
* The current average cost of an engagement ring is $5,002, down $229 from 2012's average cost of $5,229.
* The average wedding dress costs $1,380, up $25 from 2012's average cost of $1,355.
* The average bridesmaids' dress costs $134, consistent with the cost in 2012.
* Since some items were more expansive than expected, 79% rework the budget.
* To save for the wedding they want, 62% of couples say they are willing to have a longer engagement.
* Social media has become the number-one way for brides-to-be to connect with wedding brands/products during planning, with 75% doing so vs. 56% in 2012.
* Pinterest leads the pack, with 67% pinning content (up from 43% in 2012).
* After telling close friends and family 71% of brides-to-be changed their social-media status to "engaged."
* After receiving an engagement ring, 59% posted a picture of it to social networks.
* To spread the news about their engagement to friends, 46% relied on social media.
* While 64% pin content on Pinterest to come back to, purchase or execute for their wedding, another 54% show their wedding vendors their Pinterest boards.
* To keep their guests informed throughout the planning process, 37% of brides-to-be post photos and updates from cake tastings and vendor visits.
* Some brides issue a social media ban; 11% ask guests not to post photos of their wedding day on a social-media site.
* To plan/shop for the wedding 63% use a social-media app.
* December is still the most popular month of the year to get engaged (19%).
* The average length of engagement is 14.7 months.
* Today's average bride is 28 years old, and her groom is 29.
* Prior to getting married, 80% of couples live together, and 66% do prior to engagement.
* Before marriage, 30% of couples have children, and 10% already have children together.
* Only 64% of couples are having engagement photos taken.
* On their wedding night 73% of couples have sex.
* Within a month of dating 48% of brides knew their fiancé was "the one".
* On their first date 10% of engaged couples had sex; 27% after 2-3 dates, and 29% after one month of dating.
* Only 32% have an engagement party.
* Wedding weekends include multiple events 18% of the time.
* Of all weddings, 16% are destination.
* Of those having a destination wedding, they are inviting less guests (102 vs. the 142 of the average wedding) but providing "extras" for out-of-towners, such as gift bags at check-in (60%), shuttle buses to the ceremony/reception (36%), and planned activities beyond the wedding (34%).
* At destination weddings 30% of couples are providing hotel accommodations for guests.
* Only 21% have a bridesmaids' luncheon.
* Destination bachelor/bachelorette parties are popular, with 43% of brides choosing to take the party on the road.
* The after party is a growing trend, with 21% of brides opting for one following the reception.
* Today's bride is also spending another $617 on wedding-day accessories like jewelry, a headpiece, and a veil.
* White and off-white still dominate with 92% of brides selecting either color for their wedding dress.
* Veils are not seen as frequently; only 55% of brides are choosing to wear one.
* A small portion of the population is choosing to break from the traditional gown with 11% wearing cocktail length, separates, jumpsuits, or a color other than white.
* Multiple dresses have become 9% purchase a second wedding dress for the reception, with another 8% buying another dress or outfit for the after-party.
* Most brides -- 84% -- are still incorporating something old, new borrowed and blue into their wardrobe for their wedding day.
* Tuxedos are most popular with 61% of grooms wearing one for their big day, while 33% choose to wear a suit.
* While renting remains the most popular option, more than one of three grooms purchases his attire.
* The majority of weddings (91%) have a maid/matron of honor; one out of 10 (10%) includes a man of honor.
* Most grooms -- 88% -- are still opting to have a best man, and 7% have a best woman (up from 5% in 2012).
* Almost all couples have a wedding party, with 99% saying they have bridal attendants and 98% groomsmen/ushers.
* The average bridesmaids' dress costs $134.
* Flowers girls are part of the wedding party 65% of the time, and 57% feature a ring bearer.
* Pets are included in the ceremony at 8% of weddings.
* Brides are opting to be less matchy-matchy when it comes to their bridesmaids; 62% of brides choose a color and let their bridesmaids choose the dress style, and 72% match in either color or style but not both.
* Only 38% have all bridesmaids matching in color and style.
WEDDING AND RECEPTION
* May has become the most popular month for weddings, accounting for 15%. April is also growing in share, representing 9% of weddings.
* Houses of worship are chosen 5% of the time for wedding ceremonies
* When selecting their officiant, 18% of engaged couples ask a friend/family member to get ordained to marry them.
* Almost all couples incorporate wedding traditions into their big day, including cake cutting, first dances, toasts, and wearing something old, new, borrowed, and blue.
* Before their wedding ceremony, 67% of brides choose not to see their groom (down from 75% in 2006).
* Once married, 82% of brides plan to take their fiancé's last name.
* For their wedding ceremony, 53% of couples opt for traditional wedding vows.
* In lieu of favors, 9% now make donations to charities.
* Couples spend $508 on gifts for each other, down from $582 in 2012. The watch is the top gift for the groom, and jewelry is the top gift for the bride.
* They'll also spend an additional $760 on gifts for parents ($262), bridesmaids ($308), and groomsmen ($280).
* Once engaged, 80% set up a wedding Web site, and 60% manage the RSVPs online.
* One in 4 couples (26%) now use evites or emails to invite guests to the wedding or save the date.
Respondents were women ages 18+, either engaged or married within the year. The sample included women who have visited Brides.com or the BRIDES Facebook page or are BRIDES magazine subscribers, representing more engaged women than any other media outlet. Respondents were surveyed between March 4 and April 1, 2014.
In more than 79 years of publication, BRIDES has remained the most widely read magazine in the category and the country's foremost authority on engagement, weddings, and marriage. BRIDES is a bimonthly publication, published by Condé Nast, and reaches over five million readers. Brides.com is a leading resource for engaged women, with original content, image galleries, and interactive tools such as checklists, the virtual ring designer, the virtual dressing room, countdowns, and inspiration boards that enable brides to create, save, and share ideas via Web and mobile. BRIDES is available digitally for the iPad and seven-inch tablets and through the popular BRIDES Wedding Genius App. BRIDES stationery lines with Michaels craft stores and Checkerboard Fine Papers are available online and in retail stores across the country. For more information on BRIDES, please visit Brides.com.