We surveyed nearly 10,000 couples—here’s what you need to know and act on

Every year is an important year for your wedding business—decisions to make, couples to attract, data to analyze…the list goes on and on. While we can’t run your businesses for you, we try to do everything in our power—from making the little things in your day-to-day to big business decisions—just a little bit easier. That’s why we’ve been releasing this report every year for the last 16 years. We spend 12 months each year creating the industry’s ultimate survey—and this year, we talked to nearly 10,000 recently married couples. Because knowledge is power, and we want you to have as much as you can get your hands on.

From understanding today’s engaged couples and how they’re planning their weddings to all the trends you need to know about, this report is chock full of actionable insights to help you position your wedding business as one that knows exactly what couples need and that they would be elated to hire.

Survey Methodology

The Real Weddings Study captured responses from 9,138 US couples married between January 1 and December 31, 2023; respondents were recruited via email invitation from The Knot and/or WeddingWire membership. Respondents represent couples from all over the country with various ethnicities, income levels, race, age, sexual orientation and gender identity.

A snapshot of today’s couples

75% of couples say guest experience is
most important


Are millennials


Average number of
wedding pros hired


Picked a fall wedding date

When it comes to creating a successful marketing plan (and all the content that comes with it), you need to understand who you’re talking to. While you likely have a rough idea of who your ideal client is, you also want to stay up-to-date with who today’s engaged couples are too! Because…well, things are always changing.

Today’s couples are an average of 32 years old when they get married and are engaged for an average of 15 months. But 25% of couples move quickly with an engagement that’s 9 months or less and 26% of couples slow roll things with over an 18-month engagement. The majority of newly engaged couples start planning their wedding less than a month after getting engaged—though we know some of these folks have to move quicker because of short engagements!

Hey there, Gen Z!

Even though the majority of couples getting married are still Millennials, Gen Z has officially entered the chat (aka the peak marrying age range). Just as we at The Knot Worldwide are making updates to our brand based on Gen Z research, we want to help make sure you’re preparing your business and marketing for when Gen Z takes the top spot.

Gen Z couples are aged 18 to 26, and there are a few important things for you to know about this generation. They live on the internet. Personalized experiences are a must. And they buy from businesses that align with their values. And when it comes to planning weddings, here’s how Gen Z stacks up against their older counterparts.

The big takeaways from these numbers? Gen Z is more likely to inquire “later” than you’d like. Their family and friends are really important to them. And they are going to continue using different types of technology—but we already told you they live on the internet.

What does this mean for you?
As a wedding pro, you need to make sure you’re optimizing your Storefronts with activity on at least one social media channel that Gen Z leans into (and then make sure you’re adding those social links to your Storefronts!). You also might grow to expect “later” or shorter turnaround inquiries which means you need to be ready to act fast! Oh, and start silencing your phone at night—because Gen Z is definitely not afraid to text you.

How couples planned their weddings in 2023

You work really hard to make sure everything about working with you is easy. The thing is, you live, breathe, and eat weddings, so
what seems easy to you can be challenging for couples. Today’s couples are incredibly excited to plan their weddings, but their top
challenges are:

Related to couples’ biggest wedding planning challenge, we have to talk about the elephant in the room: inflation. Because 61% of couples surveyed told us their wedding budget and planning was affected by the current economy. This is important for you to know since it creates financial and emotional stress and likely is a behind-the-scenes part of all the other challenges they told us they are having. The bright side for you? Couples understand that things are more expensive because of inflation—of the 61% of couples surveyed who were affected by the current economy, 60% increased their budget at least once.

Couples aren’t messing around as they dive into the wedding planning process! They are using technology, researching online, and hiring teams of professionals—which is all great news for you! But let’s break it down so you know the specifics. 91% of wedding planning happened online and couples surveyed spent an average of 7 hours a week planning. They hired an average of 14 wedding professionals, 37% hired a wedding planner (yay!), and 70% of couples surveyed used wedding planning websites/apps, like The Knot and WeddingWire, to help with the wedding planning process.

When it comes to what today’s couples are most excited about when planning their wedding, 60% of those surveyed say it’s getting to see their wedding vision come to life—which is exactly where your creative expertise is clutch! Pair this stat with the fact that 63% of couples surveyed also said personalization is most important to them and that’s your cue to let your ideas run wild with your clients!

What does this mean for you?
The challenges couples face are a great inspiration for your messaging and content because you can turn proverbial lemons into lemonade! A core component of your marketing should be to get potential clients to know that you truly understand what they’re struggling with—and that you can get them the solution they’re looking for. So talk about how you can help them overcome these challenges in the content on your website, on your social channels and anywhere else you get in front of couples (read: be the hero and share your deep knowledge!).

There’s also a new top song in town! After a historic 6 year run of “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran as the most popular first dance song, Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling In Love” is now #1!

Top wedding colors

While we have our usual popular picks like white, champagne and gold still topping the charts, some more unique colors such as green, blue and pink are gaining ground as couples aim to make more of a statement with their palettes.

While there are national trends, these regional trends really stood out in our survey this year!


Couples in this region were more likely to describe their wedding as “outdoorsy” (20% vs. 14% nationwide)


60% of couples in this region had a grand reception exit (i.e., sparklers, carriage ride, fireworks, etc.) vs. 29% nationwide


84% of Midwestern couples took engagement photos compared to an average of 79% nationwide


Couples in this region are more focused on personalization (70% vs. 63% nationwide)


Mid-atlantic couples are more likely to have a focus on food and beverage than couples in other regions (71% vs. 62% nationwide)


49% of the couples in this region hired a planner (vs. 37% nationwide)

A deeper dive into today’s couples and their pros

Today’s couples know you’re worth the investment because they are spending more with pros across almost every category 🎉 But they are price shopping. Nearly 5 in 10 couples continued to inquire with more vendors in an effort to compare costs—remember they often don’t know what services in the wedding industry cost and is the reason why we’re testing ways to make it easier for you to share your pricing using our WeddingPro Pricing tool. Something else to keep in mind? 56% of couples ended up spending more than initially budgeted when it all came down
to it.

What does this mean for you?
Want to reduce the amount of time you have to spend responding to couples who are price shopping—saving yourself more than a few emails and increasing the quality of leads while you’re at it? Consider displaying some sort of pricing! It really helps couples understand if you are within their budget (give or take) which saves both you and them precious time determining if you’re an ideal fit.

How you can find success in 2024 and beyond

Whether this is your first year in business or your twentieth, 2024 is shaping up to be one for the books! After years of needing to get creative with weddings for un-fun reasons, we’re back in a place where your creativity is sought after for all the right ones.

As you look forward to this year’s wedding season and continue booking weddings beyond engagement season, there are a few last statistics we want to leave you with—so you can continue to build your business and better service your couples. 50% of couples surveyed said one or more of their vendors helped them to maintain or work within their budget—keep being a resource even if it’s not “your job.” And only 16% of couples surveyed described their wedding as “DIY,” so keep educating couples about what it really takes to plan a wedding and the value of hiring a team of pros—because it’s working!

63% of couples

surveyed told us personalization and planning a wedding that was a true reflection of their relationship was the most important thing to them during the planning process.

As you take a moment to let this report marinate (we covered a lot) we want to leave you with a few last thoughts and action items. It’s not enough to read the stats—you need to put this information to work in order to make the changes, improvements, and refinements you need to reach those big goals of yours.

Focus on personalization

It’s clear couples see the value in hiring wedding professionals because they are investing in the pros who can help them bring their vision to life. And since 60% of couples said their vision is the thing they are most excited about, celebrate that excitement right from the start. In fact, you can start personalizing their experience with you by taking something they shared in their inquiry and replying with a fun idea.

Be experience obsessed

You’re obsessed with your client experience. Couples are obsessed with their guest experience. Everyone’s obsessed with their experience! Lean into your experience to be an example of a hospitality-first approach, and everyone is sure to get what they want. What does that mean? Try to anticipate your couples’ needs and bring them solutions or answers before they even have to ask!

Adopt (and be flexible) with technology

We’re not telling you to get rid of your paper planner—but you need to incorporate technology into your business. From digital contracts and online payments to virtual meetings and communicating via text, the demand for tech is only going to increase, and it’s in your best interest to adopt the ones that can help you run an efficient business. If you haven’t already, find a CRM (customer relationship management) software to help you build your tech foundation.

Refine your marketing

It’s likely not the thing you like to do or what you feel like you have time for, but marketing is one of the most important parts of your wedding business. So take them time to think about the information in this report and how it relates to your ideal clients as well as ways you can reach them (literally) while you sleep. And hey—advertising with WeddingPro can help you do exactly that! Actually, here is a great blog post to help you refine each part of your marketing funnel.

Optimize your advertising

When it comes to advertising, being targeted is the name of the game. That’s why our goal is always to do what we need to bring millions of engaged couples to both The Knot and WeddingWire every year—and connect them with you while continually supporting you with the resources and education you need to put your wedding business in front of the couples who are excited to hire you. Curious to learn more about not just advertising, but taking advantage of all the SEO work we do? Learn more about what you get when you advertise with WeddingPro.


When it comes to advertising, being targeted is the name of the game. That’s why our goal is always to do what we need to bring millions of engaged couples to both The Knot and WeddingWire every year—and connect them with you while continually supporting you with the resources and education you need to put your wedding business in front of the couples who are excited to hire you. Curious to learn more about not just advertising, but taking advantage of all the SEO work we do? Learn more about what you get when you advertise with WeddingPro.

Photos: Kir Tuben Photography | Nikki Daskalakis Photography

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