The average amount of money spent on a wedding in the United States has declined since last year when the average amount spent was $24,066 compared to Q1Q2- 2011 when the average was $18, 859. This decline is not as severe when compared to the 2009 average amount spent, $19,581.
1945 Source: Saturday Evening Post; 5/26/1945, Vol. 217 Issue 48, p11-46, 4p 1990,1999 Source: Christian Science Monitor; 6/4/2001, Vol.93 Issue 132, p12 2002 Source: Fairchild Bridal Group The American Wedding 2005 – 2011 Source: The Wedding Report, Inc. Proprietary Surveys
Couples are spending less, on an average, for wedding day necessities such as Attire & Accessories, Beauty, Health & Spa needs, Entertainment, Flowers & Decorations, Gifts & Favors, Invitations, Jewelry, Photography & Video, Wedding Planners/Consultants, Transportation, and Venue & Catering. Demand for these wedding day needs has also seen a decline for the most part as well.
One of the first choices a couple makes when planning their wedding is where the event will take place. The amount of money couples spend on a venue is on the decline from where it was just a year ago. Whereas couples spent $937 last year for a ceremony location, in Q1Q2- 2011 they only spent $829 (Demand down 9%). The same decline was seen in reception location with spending last year at $2,672 compared to Q1Q2- 2011 where spending was down to $2,435 (Demand down 7%). Catering spending has also seen a decline since last year with spending in 2010 at $4,339 down to $3,645 in Q1Q2- 2011 (Demand down 10%).
Couples are spending slightly less than they did last year on wedding dresses – $1,053 in 2010 compared to $1,032 in Q1Q2- 2011 ( Demand down 3%), as well as on suit/ tuxedo purchases – suit $296 in 2010 compared to $284 in Q1Q2- 2011 (Demand down 14%). Tuxedo purchases were at $510 in 2010 compared to $417 in Q1Q2- 2011 (Demand down 7%). A greater decrease in spending was found in wedding dress preservation from last year, with couples spending $249 in 2010 to just $138 in Q1Q2- 2011 (Demand down 9%). The amount of money couples spent on wedding day accessories has also slightly decreased from last year with bridal accessory spending down from $144 in 2010 to $135 in Q1Q2- 2011 and groom accessory spending down from $111 to $91.
Spending for Beauty, Health & Spa needs also decreased slightly from 2010 to Q1Q2- 2011, with spending on diet, weight loss, and gym membership fees showing a 50% decline, falling from $306 in 2010 to $180 in Q1Q2- 2011 (Demand down 16%). This decrease in spending may be due to couples choosing to save their money for other wedding related expenses and exercising at home.
As we recently reported in our Wedding Entertainment Report 2011, as well as in our Photography & Video Report 2011, spending for entertainment services and photography and video services has decreased over the past five years. The amount of money couples are spending on DJs, live bands, and musicians/soloists/ensembles has decreased from last year with spending on DJ services down from $748 to $641 (Demand down 6%); Live Band – from $1,751 to $1,467 (Demand down 24%); and Musicians/soloists/Ensembles from $559 to $492 (Demand down 22%). Also on the decline is money couples are spending on dance lessons, down from $455 in 2010 to $357 in Q1Q2- 2011 (Demand down 21%). Similarly, wedding photography spending last year was at $1,777 while in Q1Q2- 2011, the amount fell to $1,515 (Demand down 6%). Spending on wedding videography has seen a similar decline with spending in 2010 at $1,152, down to $958 in Q1Q2- 2011 (Demand down 32%).
Almost all areas of wedding flowers & decorations have seen a decline over the past year, from bridal bouquets falling from $139 in 2010 to $125 in Q1Q2- 2011(Demand down 2%) to bridesmaid bouquets seeing a decrease from $180 to $156 (Demand down 6%), to reception flower arrangements and table centerpieces – $348/ $366 to $308/$314 (Demand down 8%/3%). The same decline has been found in spending on boutonnieres/corsages with a decrease from $134 in 2010 to $120 in Q1Q2- 2011 (Demand down 8%). One area that had a slight increase was spending on ceremony decorations, increasing from $235 to $237 in the past year (Demand down 4%).
Spending on gifts and wedding favors has also seen a decrease since 2010, with less money being spent on attendants, down from $196 to $120 (Demand down 4%), gifts for the parents, down $148 to $105 (Demand down 8%), as well as on gifts from the bride and groom to one another with spending on gifts to the bride decreasing from $202 to $148 (Demand down 14%), to spending on gifts to the groom decreasing from $188 to $169 (Demand down 11%).
Spending on weddings bands as well as engagement rings has decreased in the past year with couples having spent $784 for a bride’s wedding band in Q1Q2- 2011, as compared to $1,108 in 2010 (Demand down 9%), and $572 on a groom’s wedding band in Q1Q2- 2011 as compared to $754 (Demand down 6%). Likewise, what a couple spent on an engagement ring decreased from $3,465 in 2010 to $2,964 in Q1Q2- 2011 (Demand down 2%). Wedding day jewelry such as earrings and necklaces has also seen a decline.
Another area of wedding spending seeing a decrease in Q1Q2- 2011 from 2010 are on wedding invitations/reply cards, down from $255 to $210, as well on other communication pieces. From save the date cards, with spending down from $125 to $90 (Demand down 2%),to ceremony programs, down from $110 to $82 (Demand up 3%), to guest books , down from $59 to $52 (Demand down 8%), to menu cards , down from $119 to $81 (Demand down 7%),to place cards, down from $84 to $59 (Demand down 14%), to thank you cards, down from $94 to $76 (Demand down 7%), brides and grooms have spent less. This decrease in wedding spending may be due to more DIY couples, looking to cut costs by making their own communication pieces. This may be more time consuming for the bride and groom but more cost effective.
For couples choosing to hire a full service wedding planner/consultant, the amount they are spending has decreased as well from last year. Couples went from spending $2,491 last year to $2,273 in Q1Q2- 2011 (Demand down 7%). Also, for those choosing to have limo transportation service for their wedding, the amount they are spending decreased from last year. Couples spent $446 for a limo rental in Q1Q2- 2011 down from $487 last year (Demand down 8%).
Two areas in which spending has increased since 2010, are in wedding cakes and in tipping of vendors. Couples spent $374 in 2010 on tipping while they spent $402 in Q1Q2- 2011 (Demand down 1%). The amount couples spent on wedding cakes in 2010 $386 has also increased, to $427 in Q1Q2- 2011 (Demand down 1%).
Research thus far in 2011 has found overall wedding spending, as well as overall demand to have decreased since 2010.
Full results of this study are available here:
US Wedding Cost Update Q1Q2-2011 http://goo.gl/YCzCX