March 21, 2012 and Announce New 2011 Wedding Statistics — Including Average Wedding Budget and Top Wedding Trends

Largest Wedding Survey of 18,000 US Brides Reveals Wedding Budgets on the Rise for First Time in Five Years

NEW YORK (March 21, 2012) – XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO;, a global media and technology leader and creator of the top two wedding websites, and, today released the results of its annual Real Weddings Survey, which surveyed nearly 18,000 US couples married in 2011. & 2011 Real Weddings Survey captures detailed information on wedding budget, style preferences, event characteristics and other key information related to the bridal demographic.

“For the first time since 2008, wedding budgets are on the rise,” said Carley Roney, cofounder of The Knot. “In 2011, one in five US couples spent more than $30,000, and 11% spent more than $40,000 on their weddings. Our research shows that couples and their families are less concerned with the economy and are increasingly comfortable investing more in the once-in-a-lifetime occasion of their wedding.”

2011 Wedding Statistics

  • Most Expensive Place to Get Married: Manhattan, $65,824 average spend
  • Least Expensive Place to Get Married: West Virginia, $14,203 average spend
  • Average Spent on a Wedding Dress: $1,121
  • Average Marrying Age: Bride, 29; Groom, 30
  • Average Number of Guests: 141
  • Average Number of Bridesmaids: 4-5
  • Average Number of Groomsmen: 4-5
  • Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)
  • Average Length of Engagement: 14 months
  • Most Popular Month to Get Married: September (15%)
  • Popular Wedding Colors: Blue (30%), Purple (25%), Green (24%)<li)percentage>

2011 Average Wedding Budget Breakdown

  • Overall Wedding (excluding honeymoon): $27,021
  • Wedding Venue (reception hall): $12,116
  • Wedding/Event Planner: $1,753
  • Reception Band: $3,122
  • Reception DJ: $929
  • Wedding Photographer: $2,299
  • Florist/Décor: $1,894
  • Videographer: $1,486
  • Wedding Dress: $1,121
  • Wedding Cake: $535
  • Ceremony Site: $1,599
  • Ceremony Musicians: $536
  • Invitations: $331
  • Limousine: $669
  • Favors: $217
  • Rehearsal Dinner: $1,078
  • Engagement Ring: $5,130

Figures based on respondents who hired a professional vendor for the service.

To 20 Most Expensive Places to Get Married

Based on average wedding spend in 2011, these are the areas around the US where couples spend the most on their wedding.
1. NYC (Manhattan): $65,824
2. Chicago, IL: $53,069
3. NY Metro (Long Island, Hudson Valley and NYC Outer Boroughs): $50,087, $46,560, $40,356
4. Northern/Central NJ and Southern NJ: $46,600, $38,103
5. Rhode Island: $41,307
6. Santa Barbara/Ventura, CA, and Los Angeles, CA: $37,823, $37,690
7. Philadelphia, PA: $37,014
8. Boston, MA: $35,560
9. Southern Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas): $34,465
10. Washington, DC, Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland: $34,203
11. Connecticut: $33,789
12. Baltimore, MD: $32,702
13. Northern, CA, San Diego, CA, and Orange County/Inland Empire, CA: $32,261, $30,482, $29,826
14. Hawaii: $31,461
15. Pittsburgh, PA: $29,703
16. Louisiana: $28,790 *New to Top 20 List in 2011
17. Dallas, TX, Houston, TX, and Austin/San Antonio, TX: $28,717, $27,459, $27,735
18. California/Nevada (Sacramento, Tahoe and Reno): $28,028
19. Lehigh Valley/Poconos, PA: $27,339 *New to Top 20 List in 2011
20. Detroit, MI: $27,017 *New to Top 20 List in 2011

Interesting Regional Differences & 2011 Real Weddings Survey can be broken down on a region-by-region basis across more than 80 markets. Regional highlights include:

  • Budget: New York City (Manhattan) has the highest average wedding budget ($65,824), and West Virginia has the lowest average wedding budget ($14,203), excluding honeymoon only.
  • Age: Hawaii has the oldest brides (31 years), whereas Utah has the youngest brides (26 years), on average.
  • Engagements: Mid-Atlantic brides (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) have the longest engagements (16 months), while brides from Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi have the shortest (12 months), on average.
  • Wedding Size: On average, Iowa brides still have the largest number of wedding guests (215), and Hawaii and Nevada still have the smallest number of wedding guests (77 and 63, respectively).
  • Wedding Style: Hawaii has the most casual weddings (48%), while Long Island, NY, has the most formal (black-tie) weddings (37%).
  • Wedding Dress Spend: Brides in Manhattan spend the most on their dresses ($2,403), while North and South Dakotan brides spend the least ($745).
  • Registry: Brides in Central Illinois, are the most likely to register for wedding gifts (98%).

Top 10 2011 Wedding Trends

BIGGER BUDGETS. Brides are spending more on their weddings. For the first time since 2008, the average wedding budget has grown year over year, hitting $27,021. Fewer brides (29%) say the economy affected their wedding budget – a decrease from 31% in 2010 and 34% in 2009. Wedding standards also rose for the first time since 2009, as the average wedding spend per guest increased to $196, compared with $194 in 2009.

PLANNING BEGINS EARLIER. Some brides are even starting to plan their wedding before their guy pops the question. Brides are now allowing themselves more time to plan, with one in three (31%) beginning to plan more than 12 months ahead (up from 28% in 2010). Plus, 16% of brides now plan their wedding before getting engaged. In the last three months leading up to their wedding, brides spend an average of 11 hours a week working on wedding details. Nearly one in three hire or use a wedding planner, with more than half of those brides (51%) hiring them for day-of coordination.

3-DAY-LONG, LUXURY WEDDINGS. High-end weddings are far more traditional. The luxury wedding segment (those spending an average of $100,000 on their wedding) had approximately 85,000 weddings in 2011 and represents a $9 billion industry. Luxury weddings are more formal/black-tie (46% vs. 15% of the non-luxury market) and larger (204 guests compared with 137 guests attending non-luxury weddings). Luxury weddings are also longer, with 74% of couples hosting three or more days of events. The look is also more traditional: Ivory/champagne and metallics are the most popular wedding color palettes among luxury brides.

LESS FORMAL STYLE. Casual weddings grow. Wedding style continues to move toward the more casual end of the spectrum. In 2011, 16% of brides said their wedding style was “casual,” compared with 14% in 2010 and 12% in 2009. While the “semi formal” category still reigns, with 65% of brides planning a wedding with that style in 2011, fewer brides are going for the “formal/black-tie” tradition, with only 16% describing their wedding that way in 2011, down from 18% in 2010 and 20% in 2009.

FALL WEDDINGS ARE MORE POPULAR. Unique wedding dates alter seasonal landscape.While summer will always be “wedding season,” 2011 saw a shift in seasonal popularity with only 37% of weddings taking place in months of June, July and August, down from 41% in 2010 and 2009. Partially owing to the popular wedding dates of 9/10/11 and 11/11/11, in 2011, fall grew in popularity, with 36% of weddings taking place in September, October and November months, compared with just 30% in 2010 and 2009.

PURPLE REIGNS. Purple is the fastest-growing wedding color. Purple weddings continued to be extremely popular, with one out of four brides (25%) choosing the palette, up from 21% in 2010 and only 16% in 2009. Other popular wedding colors include blue (30%), green (24%) and pink (22%). On the other hand, brown weddings are on their way out, with only 11% choosing the color in 2011, down from 21% in 2008 (when brown was the “it” color).

WEDDINGS ARE MORE INTERACTIVE. New types of guest “entertainment” are on the rise. Eating and drinking isn’t enough anymore. Custom guest entertainment, such as photo booths and comedians, is on the rise, with 22% of brides incorporating additional guest entertainment into their wedding (vs. 15% in 2010 and 11% in 2009). In addition, interactive food stations, such as a sommelier with wine tastings, a sushi chef or a cheesemonger, continue to be popular, with 14% of brides including this option in their receptions (up from 13% in 2010).

COUPLES STILL LOVE CUPCAKES. Wedding cakes have much more competition. While a majority of brides (67%) still go for a traditional tiered wedding cake, other desserts are also served during the reception. Great dessert options include items like a groom’s cake (19%), candy (15%) and baked goods like pies, cookies and brownies (20%), and cupcakes, surprisingly, grew again in popularity from 13% in 2010 to 17% in 2011.

EVERY WEDDING HAS A WEBSITE. Couples increasingly communicate with guests online. The vast majority of couples now have personal wedding websites (69% of couples created one in 2011 vs. 65% in 2010 and 60% in 2009), and brides are increasingly using social media to share wedding details with guests (45% of couples did so in 2011 vs. 32% in 2009). Nearly one in six brides (15%) even kept in contact with their vendors via Facebook and/or Twitter.

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY. Wedding planning has gone mobile. Nearly three out of five brides use their smartphones for wedding planning. Brides who have smartphones are doing a lot on the go, from taking and sharing wedding-related pictures (58%) and looking up wedding vendor contact information (47%) to accessing wedding planning websites (33%) and managing theirwedding gift registry (32%).

About & 2011 Real Weddings Survey
The 2011 Real Weddings Survey captured responses from nearly 18,000 US brides married between January 1 and December 31, 2011; respondents were recruited throughout the year from and membership, which represents nearly 80% of brides nationwide. Brides received survey invitations shortly after their wedding date and were asked a comprehensive series of questions about the event and their planning process. All qualified respondents:

  • Were 18 or older
  • Had a wedding in 2011

Survey respondents represent a variety of ethnic, education and income levels, and are geographically dispersed across the country. The survey and data management partner for the study was Decipher Inc.

About XO Group Inc.
XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO;, formerly The Knot Inc., is a global media and technology leader devoted to weddings, pregnancy and everything in between, providing young women with the trusted information, products and advice they need to guide them through the most transformative events of their lives. Our family of premium brands began with the #1 wedding brand, The Knot, and has grown to include, The Nest, The Bump and XO Group is recognized by the industry for being innovative in all media – from the web to social media and mobile, magazines and books, and video – and our groundbreaking social platforms have ignited passionate communities across the world. XO Group has leveraged its customer loyalty into successful businesses in online sponsorship and advertising, registry services, ecommerce and publishing. The company is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange (XOXO) and is headquartered in New York City.

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