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‘Brides’ Survey: Average Spent on Engagement Ring Surges 56% in 2018 to $7,829

The amount bridal couples spent on their engagement rings surged nearly 56% in 2018, according to Brides‘ American Wedding Study. The surprising climb — from $5,023 in 2017 to $7,829 in 2018 — may reflect a demand for more ornate setting styles and larger center stones.

The engagement ring stats were part of a broad-based survey that also revealed the cost of an average wedding zoomed to an all-time high of $44,105, as more and more couples sought new ways to personalize and extend their celebrations.

Brides’ 2018 survey was designed to reveal key insights into the latest trends, behaviors and spending habits for weddings in America, based on responses from 850 brides-to-be or newly married women.

The Knot, which usually publishes its bridal survey at the end of February, reported in 2018 that the average spent on an engagement ring in 2017 was $5,764, down slightly from $6,163 in 2016. It will be interesting to see if The Knot’s new stats will reflect startling upward movement, as well.

“Spending is way up across categories, proving that while couples are doing things their own way, they are still prioritizing celebrating their marriage,” said Lisa Gooder, executive director, Brides. “More than ever, couples are savoring the whole process, from engagement to honeymoon and beyond, by celebrating with more events, trips, and professional photos or videos to capture the moments.”

The Brides report emphasized these emerging trends: In 2018, 9% of couples took a wedding-moon (pre-wedding trip) together; 31% hosted multi-day wedding weekends (up from 20% in 2017); 39% had a post-reception after-party (up from 20% in 2017); and 14% of brides wore a second look for their after-party (up from 7% in 2017).

Here’s how the 2018 American Wedding Study breaks down the expenditures for an average wedding:

• Catering: $12,242
• Reception: $9,764
• Engagement ring(s): $7,829
• Photography: $3,133
• Rentals: $2,920
• Rehearsal dinner: $2,775
• Flowers: $2,629
• Wedding planner fees: $2,481
• Reception music: $2,380
• Dress: $2,260
• Videography: $2,180
• Wedding ring(s): $1,890
• Post-wedding brunch: $1,503
• After-party: $1,325
• Wedding day transportation: $1,275
• Other decor: $1,183
• Day-of-wedding beauty for bride and bridal party: $944
• Invitations, announcements, thank-you cards, etc.: $917
• Ceremony: $651
• Groom’s attire: $602
• Cake: $547
• Favors: $422
• Gifts to bridesmaids: $419
• Gifts to parents: $386
• Veil: $316

• Average age of bride: 28
• Average age of partner: 29
• Average number of bridal attendants: 5.4
• Average number of groomsmen: 5.3
• September and October are the most popular months to get married (32%).
• The majority of couples get married on Saturday (68%), followed by Friday (16%), and Sunday (9%).
• Average number of guests: 167
• 83% of brides opted for a white/off-white wedding dress (down from 92% in 2017)
• 17% of couples have a destination wedding.
• 97% of brides say their fiancé is involved in planning the wedding, and of those, 36% are very involved.
• Although 92% set a budget (vs. 90% in 2017), 45% of those who do spend more than they planned (vs. 34% in 2017).
• 87% of couples went on a honeymoon/mini-moon, up from 77% in 2017.
• More couples are taking engagement photos than ever, up to 80% from 66% in 2017.
• More couples are having a post-wedding brunch; 41% vs. 31% in 2017.
• Engagement parties are on the rise, with 38% of couples saying they had one, up from 32% in 2017.
• 28% of couples got engaged on a holiday or special occasion, up from 12% in 2017.
• December has the most engagements at 14%.

• 23% met their partner on social media, through a dating app, or an online dating site.
• 82% report using social media to find inspiration/their wedding style.
• 87% of brides report using Pinterest as an inspiration source for their wedding.
• 76% of brides report using Instagram as an inspiration source for their wedding.
• 20% of brides report using Facebook as an inspiration source for their wedding.
• 70% use social media to find and follow vendors.
• 60% follow wedding brands/products they’ve already purchased/booked.
• 57% search social media by hashtag to view photos of other weddings (up from 37% in 2017).
• 48% use social media to purchase items for the wedding (bridesmaids dresses, invitations, beauty products, etc.).
• 46% post photos/updates/stories throughout the planning process (up from 40% in 2017).
• 54% of brides say most of their friends learned of their engagement through social media.
• 70% create a custom hashtag for guests to use at the wedding (vs. 51% in 2017).
• 48% create a custom hashtag for their wedding-related events (i.e., bachelorette party) vs. 36% in 2017.
• 35% create a custom Snapchat geofilter for their wedding (vs. 17% in 2017).
• 9% ask guests not to post photos of their wedding on social media.

• 94% of couples incorporate technology into their wedding planning in some way.
• 80% create a wedding website for guests.
• 67% use a wedding planning app (i.e., checklists, budget trackers).
• 53% allow guests to RSVP to wedding and/or wedding-related events via email or wedding site.
• 27% send digital invites to wedding-related events (i.e., shower, bachelorette, engagement party, etc.).
• 26% use high-tech devices for photographing their wedding (i.e., drones, GIF photo booths, GoPros, etc.).
• 10% send digital invites as save-the-dates.
• 7% have a live feed of wedding hashtag displayed at the reception (i.e., Instagram photos, tweets, etc.).
• 6% send digital invites to wedding ceremony or reception.
• 5% live-stream their ceremony for out-of-town guests.
• 4% offer charging stations for guests at their wedding.

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Cheryl Burchell Goldsmiths