March 16, 2020

From Pre-Proposal Through Postwedding Plans, Engaged Couples Rely on Technology & Wedding Professionals for All Planning & Partying Needs, According to the WeddingWire 2020 Newlywed Report

The Annual Report Unveils Younger Generations Are More Likely to Start Wedding Planning Prior to Engagement, With Nearly Half of All Planning Done on Mobile Devices

CHEVY CHASE, MD—March 16, 2020Today, WeddingWire, digital wedding planning resource, released findings from the WeddingWire 2020 Newlywed Report, the largest and most comprehensive look at how modern-day couples are planning and personalizing their weddings in celebration of their unique love stories. The annual report surveyed more than 25,000 newlyweds, revealing that to-be-weds are eager to plan wedding celebrations—oftentimes even before their engagement begins. Preferred planning methods include tools that help them plan on the go, with nearly half (46%) of all planning now taking place on mobile devices. 

“The majority of couples begin planning before they’re even engaged to ensure every wedding detail is thoughtful and celebratory of the love that brought them together,” said Lauren Goodson, Senior Director of Global Insights, WeddingWire. “They’re hiring an average of 15 wedding professionals and heavily relying on tech for planning—including using wedding planning apps, messaging platforms and virtual tours to connect with vendors who can bring their unique visions to life. Our data indicates peak wedding month will be October for the fourth consecutive year.”   

Planning Starts Pre-Proposal

Wedding planning starts the moment a couple decides to take the next step toward marriage, including planning for the proposal. With 74% of proposers feeling pressure to create an incredibly unique proposal, the moment itself often requires preparation on its own, whether one or both (7%) partners decide to pop the question. On average, proposers spend three months planning the special moment they’ll ask their partner to spend forever with them. But plans for the proposal aren’t the only planning actions occurring preengagement. Nearly two out of three to-be-weds (68%) start planning their weddings prior to the proposal, whether by looking for wedding inspiration online (50%), researching wedding costs (33%), or even starting their guest list (23%). 

The Top Wedding W’s: When, Where & Who

Post-proposal, couples make hundreds—if not thousands—of decisions regarding their wedding, the first of which is often where and when they plan to wed. Nowadays, more than a third of weddings (36%) occur in the fall, with October (16%) reigning as the most popular wedding month, followed by September (15%) and June (13%). In fact, Saturday, October 10, 2020, is anticipated to be the most popular wedding date of the year. 

In addition to picking a wedding date, couples are faced with deciding where they’ll say “I do” at the onset of planning. More than half (54%) of couples opt for celebrations where they currently reside, while a quarter of couples choose to host their weddings in one of their hometowns, and 21% select a destination for their festivities. Location aside, most couples want to celebrate surrounded by all their loved ones, hosting an average of 131 guests. However, there are certainly couples who opt for more intimate celebrations with 50 guests or less (10%), or those who prefer a larger wedding with more than 200 guests (11%). 

To-Be-Weds Get Techy With It 

As technology advances, couples are taking a digital-first approach to wedding planning. Today, to-be-weds are conducting the majority of their planning (88%) online, from searching for inspiration through social media (78%), to relying on smartphone apps (64%) for all their wedding planning needs and communicating with their guests via wedding websites (79%). Furthermore, nearly a third of couples rely on online messaging platforms to communicate with their vendors—video chats (17%) and virtual tours (14%) included. Couples spend an average of seven hours per week wedding planning, but the incorporation of innovative technology doesn’t stop there. Technology plays a large role during the wedding ceremony and reception as well, through specialty lighting projections (19%), drones capturing wedding footage (13%), and even livestreaming (5%) the festivities to include those who can’t attend. 

Engaged Couples Leave It to the Pros 

When it comes to bringing their unique wedding vision to life, couples rely heavily on local wedding pros, hiring an average of 15 vendors. Most commonly, to-be-weds book a ceremony and/or reception venue (92%), photographer (89%), caterer (87%) and cake baker (82%). Additionally, nearly a third of couples enlist the help of a wedding planner to lighten their wedding planning loads, whether to coordinate the wedding day itself (37%) or as a full-service resource for the entire duration of wedding planning (31%). And now with the majority of couples prioritizing their guests’ experiences (72%), couples choose a wide variety of entertainment options, from live bands (14%) and DJs (71%) to additional entertainment like selfie stations (16%) or even a bonfire (13%). 

Celebrations Last 2+ Days 

No longer are weddings single-day affairs—in fact, the average wedding lasts 2.5 days, with 44% of celebrations lasting three days or longer, often including a rehearsal dinner (79%), an after-party (30%) and a morning-after brunch (28%). Without having to fit all the festivities into a single day, couples are curating custom wedding timelines to celebrate all that makes them and their love stories unique, whether through bold fashion choices that emphasize their individual styles or décor that showcases memorable moments along their journey to marriage. More so than ever before, couples are prioritizing personalization (55%) throughout their weddings, shifting the common traditions incorporated into modern couples’ weddings. This can include mismatched wedding party attire—69% of female wedding attendants wear different dresses, while 30% don different colors in their attire—first looks (46%), and a grand reception entrance or exit (50%).  

Weddings Differ Across Demographics

While every couple’s planning journey and wedding celebrations are unique to their personalities and story together, their ages, cultures and regional locations all influence their take on a modern-day wedding. For example, millennials—the largest group of to-be-weds currently—prioritize guest experience (73%) throughout planning, while couples who identify as part of Generation Z prioritize the wedding budget (78%). 

Priorities aren’t the only element that sets Gen Zers apart, as younger couples tend to invite larger groups to their weddings: Gen Zers host 148 guests on average, compared to Gen Xers, who have an average guest count of 99. Ultimately, Gen Zers aren’t afraid to stray from convention, such as traditional wedding reception venues like a banquet hall (21%)—the most popular option among millennials and Gen Xers—instead Gen Zers are most likely to opt for a barn, farm or ranch (29%) for their festivities. 

Geography also plays an important role in popular wedding elements. Mid-Atlantic and Midwest couples are most likely to tie the knot in their hometowns, while nearly a quarter of couples in the Northeast and Southeast opt for destination weddings. Additionally, couples in the Northeast (50%) are the most likely out of all to-be-weds nationwide to host an after-party as part of their celebrations. 

The Caribbean Is the Most Popular International Honeymoon Destination 

As the first adventure in their (now) newlywed lives, the honeymoon is one of the most anticipated wedding-related events. For more than a third of couples, honeymoon planning starts 4-6 months prior to the wedding, and the majority of couples (62%) will jet off to their desired destination within two days of their wedding. Honeymoon activities often cater to the couple’s shared interests and travel preferences, although couples most commonly opt for a honeymoon that includes a beach (52%), sightseeing (31%) and adventurous activities (25%). More than half of couples travel internationally for their honeymoon, with the most popular destinations including: 

  • The Caribbean (26%) 
  • Europe (13%)
  • Mexico (9%) 
  • Hawaii (8%) 
  • Central or South America (4%) 
  • The South Pacific (4%) 

The average honeymoon lasts eight days, and 6 in 10 couples (61%) will travel for 1-2 weeks, spending an average of $5,000 on their honeymoon in total. In order to be completely present and enjoy one-on-one time with their partner, 1 in 5 couples opt to disconnect from their phone and/or social media entirely for the duration of their travels. For those who may not be able to honeymoon directly following their festivities, mini-moons are an increasingly popular option (28%, up from 24% in 2018). 

Sticking to Budget Is a Challenge

One of the largest challenges couples face when planning their wedding is setting and staying within their budget. Couples are becoming more and more cost-conscious throughout the wedding planning journey. However, at the onset of planning, 8 in 10 couples report they set a budget prior to researching vendor costs in their area and therefore underestimated the overall cost for their celebrations. Since couples themselves are contributing to nearly half of the overall wedding costs (with the remaining half paid for by the parents of the couple), they’re being intentional on where they spend their finances. Following the cost of a couple’s venue, which can cost up to a third of their overall budget, couples devote the largest bulk of their finances to the wedding day details that are most important to them, whether that be the food and drinks, unique guest entertainment, or lighting to create the ultimate ambience for their celebrations. Most commonly, couples who increase their budget (54%) while planning do so to cover additional costs associated with photography (47%), food (41%) and their attire (34%). 

National Average Vendor Costs









Wedding Rings




Rehearsal Dinner




Wedding Dress


Wedding Planner


Lighting and Décor




Guest Entertainment








Wedding Musicians (Ex. Soloist, Ensembles)


Favors and Gifts


Groom’s Attire






Groomsman Attire (Each)


Bridesmaid Dress (Each)


Hairstylist (Bride)


Makeup Artist (Bride)


Makeup Artists – Wedding Party (Each)


Hairstylists – Wedding Party (Each)


Catering (Per Head)



About WeddingWire 

WeddingWire is a trusted online marketplace, connecting couples with local wedding professionals and a suite of comprehensive tools that make wedding planning easier. Operating within a $250 billion global industry, WeddingWire helps millions of couples every month find the right team of wedding professionals to personalize and pull off their special day. Couples around the world can read more than 5 million vendor reviews and search, compare and book from a directory of over 500,000 vendors local to them. Visit WeddingWire online at and follow on social media: and @WeddingWire on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.