What Couples Really Want From Their Wedding Venues

We surveyed roughly 12,000 couples—here’s everything you need to know about how they choose their venues

When gearing up for their 2023 events—and when starting to receive inquiries for 2024—venue owners and operators need to know couples inside and out so they can attract their ideal clients. On top of that, they need to know how their couples are thinking about their weddings so they’ll have a full picture of what they can expect in upcoming wedding seasons.

To get these insights and more, we conducted two surveys: The Knot Real Weddings Study and The Venue Selection Study. We surveyed a combined total of roughly 12,000 couples to get to the bottom of how couples plan their weddings and what considerations they make during the entire wedding planning process. In this report, we dug deep into the data to pull out the insights that matter most to you, venue owners and operators, so you can use the data we’ve collected to tailor your services. Keep reading to learn more.

A snapshot of today’s couples

The average age among the couples we surveyed was 31, meaning that Millennials, again, made up the majority of people making it down the aisle. It’s worth noting, however, that the oldest members of Gen Z turned 25 this past year, meaning they are now entering the core marrying age. This small shift has caused a huge wave of change in how couples are thinking about and planning their weddings as a whole.

A deeper dive: Gen Z couples

Gen Z couples are changing the wedding industry in a significant way. Along with valuing and seeking out diverse pros and experiences, Gen Z couples also want to create memorable experiences that can be captured and shared.

Couples in this generation want their day to be remembered through statement moments and are eager to embrace opportunities to surprise and delight guests. From choreographed wedding dances to champagne shooters, Gen Z is incorporating bold elements into their ceremonies and receptions. Additionally, 67% of Gen Z couples reported having a grand entrance or exit compared to 49% of Millennials.

To document these moments, 83% of Gen Z couples consider photography and videography as two of the most important services to have on their wedding days and hired or are planning to hire these pros. Another thing Gen Z couples consider when trying to capture the moment is incorporating fun photography elements into their receptions, like Polaroid cameras and selfie stations.


Because Gen Z is starting to get married—and because they’re adding unique and out-of-the-box elements to their ceremonies and receptions-–there is a lot of opportunity for pros to collaborate with their couples to try something new. So, don’t be afraid to lean into their fun ideas and build on them. Then, make sure to capture those elements in photos to include in your marketing and advertising materials so you can continue to attract Gen Z couples. There are also opportunities for you to recommend niche vendors from your preferred vendors list, like photobooths.

Venues are the first place couples book

In 2022, the average engagement lasted 15 months, though 13% of couples were engaged for two years or longer. During their engagement, many couples hit the ground running and started wedding planning right away. We found that within one month of getting engaged, 58% of couples take at least one wedding-planning action, and within two months, 85% take an action. Needless to say, couples are very excited start to planning their dream weddings!


Nearly 60% of couples are offered additional vendor recommendations once they’ve booked their venues. Make sure your preferred vendors lists are up-to-date, so you can connect couples with the pros both you and they will work best with.

Typically, the very first action couples took was securing a venue. Nearly 80% of couples begin to research wedding venues within two months of getting engaged. Additionally, on average, couples will inquire with five venues and visit four.


Because couples are going to reach out to you fairly quickly once they’ve gotten engaged, they’re going to be filled with excitement. Capitalize on that excitement by answering their inquiries quickly and contextualizing their upcoming wedding with your venue. You can do this by showing them photos of your venue from a different perspective that isn’t available on your website or Storefronts and highlighting reviews from similar couples. These tactics can help carry their excitement through your online communication and encourage them to schedule an official tour where you can wow them.

How couples planned their weddings in 2022

Overall, wedding planning looked a little different in 2022 than it did in the years prior. Most notably, it marked a return to “pre-pandemic” norms after two years of major disruption. Fewer than one in ten (7%) said their wedding date was impacted by COVID-19, down from 27% in 2021. Additionally, the number of couples planning to use health and safety measures dropped significantly.

Couples’ top challenges during the planning process are planning with a budget (47%) and determining the guest list (36%). For guidance, couples relied on a wide range of resources to plan—especially wedding planning websites (73%) and wedding planners (29%).

During the six hours per week, on average, couples spent wedding planning, 90% of them heavily relied on technology in just about every aspect of the process. From finding inspiration on platforms like Pinterest (68%) and TikTok (45%) to creating wedding websites to plan their events (73%), couples made the most out of the technology at their fingertips.

Gen Z couples, in particular, took full advantage of the technology at their disposal to make their wedding planning process more efficient. For example, they are notably more likely to use online chats to speak with vendors and watch online videos for tips or inspiration (51% vs. 44% of Millennials). They’re also shaking up how wedding information is shared. We found that 26% of Gen Z couples opted to add QR codes in their save the dates or invitations to link out to their wedding website.

Once it was time to say “I do,” 64% of couples opted to host semi-formal affairs that ranged from romantic (33%) and elegant (24%) to outdoorsy (16%) and boho (11%). Couples spent an average of $30,000 on their ceremony and reception in 2022—a $2,000 increase from 2021—though spending varied widely depending on guest count, location, time of year and the number of vendors hired. In large metropolitan areas, for example, the average wedding costs couples as much as $60,000.


Technology is a huge factor in wedding planning, so it may be time to consider implementing additional technology into your systems to meet the needs and expectations of couples. This can include ensuring that your website is operating rapidly, adding 360° tours to your Storefronts, offering Zoom consultations, creating videos for your website or social media to share tips and inspiration to couples, adding automated instant-messaging systems to your website for quick and easy communication and having a presence on a wedding marketplace website, like The Knot and WeddingWire.

The top considerations couples make while searching for a venue

When couples are looking for a venue, they focus on several factors, but a specific date isn’t necessarily one of them. In fact, 79% of couples did not have a “must have” wedding date when looking at venues. Instead, they focused more on a general time of year or a specific season. And, no surprise here, autumn was the most popular timeframe for roughly 45% of the couples we surveyed.

The factors that are most important to couples are price, a venue’s capacity to hold both a ceremony and reception at its facility and availability.


September 23rd is slated to be the most popular wedding date in 2023.

Another surprising finding from our surveys was that roughly 50% of couples are open to looking at venues as broadly as the state and/or regional level rather than in a specific location. For the other 50% of couples who do want a venue in a specific area, their main drivers are that they are looking for a venue that’s where they currently live (47%), where they have friends/family to help (42%), within driving distance to them (35%) or in either of their hometowns (28%).


While you can’t change the location of your venue, you can change your advertising and marketing strategies to attract more couples with a flexible timeline and wedding location. You can do this by broadening the language you use on your website and Storefronts to include more region-specific terms (rather than just city and state) and researching nearby markets you can potentially tap into to reach more couples. If you have a Storefront on The Knot and WeddingWire, we can help you with that!

Couples are using wedding planning websites to research venues

Couples are using between three and four resources, on average, to help with their venue search/selection. Wedding planning websites, like The Knot and WeddingWire, were a top resource for couples, seeing as roughly 73% of our respondents turned to them at some point during their venue search.


Because so many of your couples are using wedding planning websites to research and inquire with venues, make sure that you have a strong presence on them so they’ll be able to find you. Advertising on platforms like The Knot and WeddingWire allows you to meet couples where they are already planning and helps you consistently reach new audience members you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. You’ll also gain even more visibility and credibility in your local market.

Final Thoughts

Our surveys showed that couples are still leaning on their vendor teams to guide them through the wedding planning process as they were in previous years. Because of that, it’s important to make sure you’re doing the following so you can attract your ideal client in the first place.

Embrace uniqueness

Personalization is a top factor for most of today’s couples, so it’s important that you step out of the realm of standard wedding practices and leave space for those clients who want to go outside the box for their nuptials. Additionally, research some of the top wedding trends that are popping up so you can be ready for any request that comes your way.

Adopt technology

Technology made a major impact on wedding planning in 2022, and that’s only going to continue into this year and the next. Consider adding more technology to your business and booking process. Things like having a chatbot function on your website will make sure that you’re keeping up with couples’ expectations on how they can interact with pros and catering to their preferred types of communication. This will help reduce friction and maximize your chances of getting them to book you.

Have a strong online presence

In the same vein as adding and utilizing more technology in your business, it’s important for you to have a strong online presence on the platforms couples are using to plan their weddings. Whether that be uploading videos and pictures on TikTok and Pinterest for inspiration or having Storefronts on the places they are going to book like The Knot and WeddingWire, your business needs to make its marketing and advertising channels work overtime so you can catch the attention of the couples looking for pros like you.

As a venue owner and operator, your top priority is to make sure that you understand your couples so you can better serve them and their needs. This data provides a valuable snapshot you can use to learn where couples’ heads are at as they’re thinking about and planning their weddings. As you’re gearing your business up for your 2023 weddings, use this data to inform how you interact with your current clients and attract new ones so this can be your most successful year yet.

Survey methodologies: The Venue Selection Study is a quantitative survey that captured responses from 781 US couples who were engaged or married within the last two years. Respondents must have booked/considered booking a venue and are at least at the decision-making phase.  Respondents represent couples from all over the country with various ethnicities, income levels, race, age, sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Real Weddings Study captured responses from 11,646 US couples married between January 1 and December 31, 2022; 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.