October 3, 2017

Survey Reveals What Matters Most to Wedding Guests in the U.S.

WeddingWire’s 2017 Wedding Guest Survey Finds Decor, Food and Drink to Be Most Important

CHEVY CHASE, MD — October 3, 2017 — WeddingWire, Inc., the leading global online marketplace connecting consumers with event and creative professionals, released today the results of its 2017 Wedding Guest Survey, revealing what matters most to wedding guests, how much they spend to attend wedding celebrations, their biggest pet peeves and more. The survey asked more than 900 people of varying ages and relationship statuses from across the U.S. about their recent experiences as a wedding guest.

On average, guests spend between $665 and $1,065 to attend a wedding, with additional gifts for the bridal shower or engagement party costing an extra $230. With guests investing their time and money to celebrate with couples on their special day, it’s important to consider what they most look forward to and what might frustrate them during nuptials and festivities.

“While weddings should always reflect the couple’s personality and desires, the guest experience is certainly worthy of consideration” said Anne Chertoff, WeddingWire Trends Expert. “These survey results show us that guests do indeed have opinions about both the ceremony and reception, have a keen eye for details, and want to have a great time celebrating with good food, drinks and music.”

What Matters Most:

Guests are excited about a wide array of things at weddings, from celebrating the happy couple (68 percent) and catching up with family and friends (63 percent), to free food (50 percent) and dancing (41 percent).

When it comes down to what guests are paying the most attention to, decor is marked at the top of the list by more than one-third of wedding guests at both the ceremony and the reception, confirming the importance of aesthetics at wedding celebrations. Additionally, guests pay the most attention to the bride’s dress during the ceremony (60 percent) and food at the reception (64 percent).

And What Doesn’t:

With the cost of weddings increasing year over year, WeddingWire analyzed what areas engaged couples can skip when it comes to their big day. Guests care the least about escort cards (2 percent), extra amenities like flip flops or toiletries for the venue restrooms (6 percent), wedding favors (9 percent) and the bouquet/garter toss (11 percent). While little extras are nice to have, they are not necessary to make a lasting impression on guests.

Some Are Lonely, But Most Are Happy:

While all guests agree their favorite part of a wedding is celebrating the happy couple, single guests are the least likely to find joy in celebrating the happy couple (57 percent) as opposed to those who are in a relationship (72 percent) and married (67 percent). Additionally, those who are in a relationship are more than 10 percent more likely to pay attention to the look on the groom’s face when the bride enters over those who are single or already married.

Couples are also being judged on the details of their special day. Almost half of married couples say they judge the wedding they’re attending against their own, which showcases the importance of leveraging wedding vendors to create a cohesive theme and great guest experience.

Embrace Tech… Because Guests Are:

While 19 percent of couples host ‘unplugged’ weddings, there’s a good chance guests will be on their phones throughout the entire evening. Over half of guests use their phones to take photos during a wedding, and 27 percent post photos on social media during the course of the festivities.

Annoyances to Avoid:

Because guests are most looking forward to having a good time with friends and family, taking note of things that can deter from the festivities is important. Among the most common annoyances and frustrations for wedding guests are drunk guests (27 percent), not knowing anyone else at the wedding (25 percent), bad music (23 percent), traveling too far or to an inconvenient location (20 percent) and having to sit and mingle with strangers (19 percent).

While some of these are hard to avoid, couples can do their best to ensure those who might not know many people on their special day have the opportunity to bring a plus-one to ease the nerves.

Guest Secret Confessions:

The survey also unlocked a list of the most common wedding guest confessions — some predictable and others a surprise!

-38 percent take their shoes off at the reception

-Nearly one-third judged the wedding against their own or others they have attended

-27 percent attended a wedding even if they thought the marriage was a mistake

-23 percent took more than one wedding favor

-Nearly 1 in 5 hit the open bar too hard

-11 percent attended a dry wedding where they brought their own alcohol

-1 in 10 attended a wedding where they have a previous relationship with one of the marrying individuals

-9 percent pushed someone out of the way to catch the bouquet or garter

-8 percent wore white as a guest

-3 percent crashed a wedding they weren’t invited to

To learn more about WeddingWire, visit www.WeddingWire.com.

About WeddingWire, Inc.
WeddingWire, Inc. is the leading global online marketplace connecting consumers with event and creative professionals. Operating within a $200 billion industry, WeddingWire hosts 10 million monthly unique users across its mobile and web platforms. Consumers around the world are able to read over 4 million vendor reviews and search, compare and book from a database of over 400,000 businesses globally. It provides these businesses the technology they need to serve their clients through advertising, marketing and business management tools such as websites, payment processing, invoicing and contracts. Founded in 2007, the WeddingWire portfolio of sites serves couples and businesses across 15 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia, making it the worldwide leader in weddings with brands including Bodas.net, Matrimonio.com, Mariages.net and more. The company employs more than 800 and maintains global headquarters in Washington, DC and international headquarters in Barcelona, Spain.