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Wedding statistics can let you know how your budget measures up, how your ceremony plans fit in with current trends, and what the most popular options are before you take that walk down the aisle.

We’ve rounded up figures that:
• outline budget trends
• show how long the average engagement lasts
• and showcase what types of weddings couples are planning most as you navigate the plans for your own special day. 

Read on for the latest wedding fun facts to see how other couples plan their special day–set their budget, set the date, decide on the type of wedding to hold, where to hold their weddings, and additional experiences they include in their celebrations. 

Budget Statistics

Budget should be one of the first items on your planning agenda, and it’s really one of the first places where couples get a chance to see how they will handle the finances in their marriages.

One surprising statistic is that it seems wedding costs are going down, not up.

The average cost of a wedding in the United States from 2016 until 2020 are:

  • 2016 – $21,700
  • 2017 – $21,800
  • 2018 -$ 20,900
  • 2019 – $20,600
  • 2020 – $17,500

According to the experts, budgets are being allocated in a few different ways depending on the specific priorities of the couple.

In 2021, 61% of  Investopedia survey respondents said that their “big 3” high ticket budget items were the venue, catering, and travel expenses.

The Early Planning Stages

Creating a budget should be one of the first steps in these early stages, but it’s not the only one.

The average length of engagement for couples in the United States is between 12 and 18 months, according to 2021 wedding statistics, with some of this time spent actively planning as well as simply enjoying their new “engaged” status.

Very few couples take on wedding planning on a same day basis and live in the freshly engaged glow for a little while before planning gets underway.

Couples that are not actively working with a professional wedding planner will spend an average of 200 to 300 hours planning their wedding, or the equivalent of about 7 full-time workweeks.

Based on this data, wedding planning unassisted is quite an undertaking for many couples in the U.S., making it easy to see why 27% of couples opt to hire a professional wedding planner instead.

Setting The Date

As for wedding date trends, the prime wedding season runs from May until October, with the fall seeing a huge popularity surge in recent years.

Of the season, the three most popular months are June, September and October.

In terms of most popular days, Saturday is the single most popular day to get married with Friday and Sunday next in line.

Choosing a weekday for your wedding typically gives you more options in terms of vendor choices, date choices and flexibility, but choosing a weekend day gives you the wedding weekend option.

A massive 80% of U.S. couples are opting for “wedding weekends,” giving them three days to celebrate and allow for better preparedness.

Day one is used to prepare for the wedding, day two is for the ceremony and celebration and day three is used to enjoy one another’s company and say farewell to an unforgettable celebration.

What Kind Of Wedding To Have

Thinking of going old-school with a big lavish celebration?

Or are you going modern with a micro wedding or elopement?

In a recent survey, a massive 91% of millennials (who represent a substantial portion of the wedding market) said they would seriously consider elopement when planning their wedding.

60% of married survey participants from all age demographics said they wished they had eloped.

Even for those who have not chosen to elope, guest lists are getting smaller by quite a bit.

Micro weddings are becoming the new normal, and in 58% of couples surveyed who had a wedding pushed from 2020 to 2021, guest lists were cut by an average of 41%.

Outdoor weddings are beating out indoor weddings in recent years.

In 2020, 68% of survey respondents had an outdoor wedding, while 59% also had an outdoor reception.

Going The Distance With A Destination Wedding

Wedding statistics surrounding destination weddings have been interesting in recent years.

Up to 1 in 4 couples in the United States planning a wedding choose to go the destination wedding route, a number that hasn’t gone down in recent years.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, destinations have been more likely to remain in the United States rather than exotic international destinations.

Las Vegas is always one of the most popular destinations in the U.S., with the city playing into this by using their new Forever Happens Here campaign.

Showcasing the variety of wedding experiences one can have by choosing Las Vegas as their destination, the campaign features classic Las Vegas kitsch alongside the impossibly romantic and elegant desert weddings Vegas also has to offer.

Planning Your Wedding Experience

Receptions are still popular, whether they’re full-sized, a mini-reception or a reception held at a later date after a destination wedding or elopement.

32% of receptions celebrating 2020 weddings were held in 2021, with many planned for the couple’s first wedding anniversary.

As for photography and wedding add-ons, up to 90% of couples make sure to hire a wedding photographer to capture memories of their special day.

One of the most popular wedding add-ons is additional photography for extra hours, shots or video so couples can capture every moment.

Wedding websites are fun for the couple and for their guests.

In elopements or destination weddings, they allow loved ones to keep up with the wedding planning progress all the way up until the special day.

74% of couples made a wedding website in 2018 and the figure has only grown since.

Cactus Collective Weddings provides intimate and stylish destination micro wedding and elopement services to couples all over the world.

Our resources can help you to get the planning underway so you can make your dream wedding come true.

McKenzi Taylor
McKenzi Taylor

McKenzi Taylor is America’s go-to elopement and micro wedding expert, often featured in small and major media outlets, such as the New York Times. With over 15 years of wedding photography experience, it was after planning her own Las Vegas elopement in 2016 that McKenzi felt her purpose shift into elopement coordination. She started Cactus Collective Weddings soon after in 2017. Since then, she’s become a WIPA board member, and has helped well over 1000 couples get hitched in style around Las Vegas, San Diego and Black Hills.

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