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

91% of couples booked a venue


Say guest experience is most important


Are millennials


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 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 and nearly 80% of couples begin to research wedding venues within 2 months of getting engaged—though we know some of these folks 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 venue, you need to make sure you’re optimizing your Storefronts with activity on at least one social media channel that Gen Z leans into. 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:

Now, another big challenge we need to talk about is: inflation. 61% of couples surveyed told us their wedding budget and planning was affected by the current economy. Since the largest part of a couple’s budget often goes to their venue (on average nearly 40%), it’s important to keep in mind that these challenges may create financial and emotional stress for your couples. 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. Not to mention you have the opportunity to step in as a resource and guide them through these uncharted waters.

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.

Today’s couples are as excited as ever to plan their weddings, and 60% of couples surveyed say getting to see their wedding vision come to life is most exciting for them—which is exactly where your creative expertise is crucial! 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!

Since we know what couples are looking for before reaching out to you, we are constantly working to show these exact data points to couples through your Storefronts on The Knot and WeddingWire. If you haven’t already, make sure your Storefronts are up to date with the most accurate information.

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!). Also, your Storefronts, SEO and your super fans (read: past couples!) are the perfect marketing mix for you! So make sure you’re continually updating and optimizing your Storefronts since it helps make you discoverable to both couples searching online and being referred to you.

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!


71% hosted their ceremony outdoors compared to 57% of couples nationwide


26% of couples hosted their reception at a farm, barn or ranch compared to 18% of couples nationwide


Couples in the Midwest are more interested in the number of guests your venue can hold than other regions of the country (61% vs 54% average)


59% of couples in the Northeast found it most important to choose a venue with a scenic or picturesque setting compared to 45% of couples nationwide


Couples in the mid-atlantic are scouring your venue’s reviews more than couples nationwide (41% vs. 28%)


Roughly 1 in 10 couples in the South/Southeast described their ceremony location as a Beach/Beach House which is higher than couples in other regions (+6%).

A deeper dive into today’s couples and their pros

Today’s couples know your venue is worth the investment because they are spending more with pros across almost every category 🎉 But they are price shopping. Roughly 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 all was said and done.

When it comes to the pros couples are hiring to round out their teams, they told us it’s important to them that some players have experience at your venue. In fact, 37% want their wedding planners to have worked at the venue they booked, followed by 31% for DJs, 25% for florists and caterers, and 19% for photographers.

As couples are looking at the value-adds venues are providing as a way to make the experience and planning process more inclusive, couples told us that many of you are wrapping additional services into your packages. Specifically, 76% of the couples surveyed said their venue fee included rentals, 44% said their venue fee included catering, 39% said alcohol, and 27% said accommodations. If you offer food and beverage as part of your packages, make sure it’s front and center! If you don’t offer these additional services, make sure to highlight your vendor partners that can flawlessly bring these things to life for your couples.

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 as well as details about what your venue packages include! 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. 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 that they can bring to life at your venue.

Be experience obsessed

You’re obsessed with your client experience. Couples are obsessed with their guest experience. Everyone’s obsessed with 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, we recommend starting to build your tech foundation with tools like a social media scheduler, email marketing platform, or a CRM (customer relationship management) system.

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 the time to think about the information in this report and how it relates to your ideal clients, as well as ways you can best reach them. And advertising with WeddingPro can help you do exactly that! Check out this great blog post to 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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