When it comes to finding a one-of-a-kind engagement ring, 45% of proposers begin researching/looking for rings more than five months ahead of the proposal, with 71% making the final purchase less than two months prior. Forty percent purchase the ring from a local retailer, 30% at a national chain, and 10% from an online retailer. While features such as stone type, size and brand all greatly impact cost, roughly half of couples will spend under $5,000 on the engagement ring (though 20% spend more than $10K).

Engagement Ring

Couples consider style/setting to be the most important aspect of an engagement ring. In fact, nearly 80% admit to dropping hints about their ring preferences and 7 out of 10 have some involvement in selecting and/or purchasing the ring itself.

Did you know? On average, proposers visit three retailers in person and look at 15 rings before making a decision.

Most Popular Ring Features

  • Diamond ............. 87%
  • Side stones ......... 71%
  • White gold ......... 54%
  • Round cut ........... 47%
  • Prong setting ..... 36%
  • 50% One to two carats (total)
close up photo of a ring set with diamonds

Proposal Season

Seven out of the ten most popular days to propose take place in December, with the average engagement lasting 15 months.

Top Engagement Dates

By Month

By Date

  • Christmas Day 12/25
  • Christmas Eve 12/24
  • New Year’s Day 1/1
  • Sunday before Christmas Eve 12/22*
  • Valentine’s Day 2/14

The Proposal

From picking the location to hiring a photographer and even planning a post-engagement get-together with family and friends, over 40% of proposers start putting plans in place one to three months in advance of the proposal.

Over90% of couples announce their “#justsaidyes” moment on social media, with the majority announcing within a day or two of their engagement (76%). sticker-style icon of a polaroid-type camera printing out a photo, accompanied by sparkles

Planning Ahead

  • 87%

    planned ahead of time

  • 65%

    asked parents’ permission

  • 35%

    discussed proposal preferences with partner

  • 34%

    timed it based on a planned trip

In the Moment

  • 89%

    proposed with ring in hand

  • 84%

    asked on bended knee

  • 51%

    took place in private

  • 30%

    took place in a scenic location

Though factors such as length of engagement, location and venue type impact a couples’ decision on when to get married, fall continues to be peak wedding season nationwide. Nearly 50% of fall ceremonies take place outdoors. As we look ahead to 2020, data already indicates that October will be the most popular month to get married for the fourth consecutive year.

Top 5 Wedding Dates in 2020 2019 2018 2017

  1. 1

    October 10

  2. 2

    June 20

  3. 3

    September 19

  4. 4

    October 17

  5. 5

    September 12

  1. 1

    October 19

  2. 2

    September 14

  3. 3

    May 4

  4. 4

    October 12

  5. 5

    October 5

  1. 1

    October 20

  2. 2

    October 6

  3. 3

    September 22

  4. 4

    May 19

  5. 5

    October 13

  1. 1

    October 7

  2. 2

    October 14

  3. 3

    September 30

  4. 4

    October 21

  5. 5

    November 11

2020 2019 2018 2017 Wedding Month Distribution

chart showing what percentage of weddings are projected to occur in each month in 2020, peaking in October at close to 20%, with smaller peaks in May, June, and September at around 12%. chart showing what percentage of weddings occurred in each month in 2019, with peaks in October at around 15%, and a smaller peak closer to 12% in June. chart showing what percentage of weddings occurred in each month in 2018, with peaks in September/October at around 15%, and a smaller peak closer to 12% in May/June. chart showing what percentage of weddings occurred in each month in 2017, with peaks in September/October at around 14%, and in May/June at around 9-10%.

2020 dates based on couples engaged in 2019 who set a wedding date in 2020


While the average couple is engaged for 15 months, over 85% of couples start discussing their wedding preferences—like guest count (63%) and type of venue (57%)—prior to getting engaged. Despite being so proactive, couples still say one of their biggest challenges during planning is “knowing where to start” in addition to “planning within budget.” Fortunately today’s tech-savvy couples are able to take advantage of online and mobile planning tools to guide them through the planning process.

Getting a Jumpstart on Planning

Today, the majority of couples are not only thinking about their wedding prior to getting engaged, but two out of three are taking action and actually starting the planning process. From gathering inspiration to researching vendors and estimating cost, couples are laying the foundation so they can hit the ground running when the time comes.

“We started planning our wedding before he actually got down on one knee with a ring. We didn’t put deposits on anything, but we talked about budget, guest list, venues we both liked, etc.” — CJ, 2019 Newlywed

Top 8 Pre-Engaged Planning Actions

  • 1

    Create inspiration/​Pinterest board

  • 2

    Look at wedding attire online

  • 3

    Research wedding costs

  • 4

    Research wedding venues

  • 5

    Start creating a guest list

  • 6

    Check availability/​cost of venues

  • 7

    Read reviews of potential wedding vendors

  • 8

    Start following vendors on social media

Who’s Involved in Planning

When it comes to planning the wedding, we see the bride* takes on the bulk of the planning responsibilities. However, it’s not to say many don’t get help from their partner, parents and even a planner. In fact, nearly one in three couples hire a wedding planner—the most popular type being a day-of-coordinator followed by a full-service planner.

Did you know?

81% of parents are involved in the decision making for their child’s wedding, with one in four being put in charge of handling specific tasks, items or vendors.

% of Planning

  • 67% Bride +
  • 14% Groom +
  • 13% Parents +
  • 6% Other
  • = 100% Planned

*based on females in a heterosexual relationship

Planning Resources

Today, nearly 90% of planning is done online which should come as no surprise given the amount of online resources available. When looking at planning behaviors, over 75% of couples use social media (mainly for inspiration), while 64% use wedding planning apps to get things done—most notably to access their planning checklist.

Top 5 Tasks Done on Mobile Devices

  • 75%

    Look up vendor information

  • 71%

    Access wedding planning sites

  • 70%

    Research wedding vendors

  • 70%

    Browse photo galleries

  • 65%

    Read vendor reviews

sticker-style icon of a mobile device, with the WeddingWire logo shown on the screen
88% of planning is done online



Use of Tech During Planning

Couples are quick to take advantage of the newest technology to help streamline the planning process (think: video calls, online 360 virtual tours, etc.). As we see more and more couples opting out of local or hometown weddings (roughly one in four), it’s no surprise couples are turning to tech to bridge the gap of that missing 1:1 vendor interaction.

  • Create a wedding website

  • Use a mobile planning app

  • Set up a wedding hashtag

  • Watch online videos for inspiration

  • Use online chats to speak with a vendor(s)

  • Video chat with a vendor


Selecting a Vendor Team

On average, couples hire 15 vendors for their wedding day. While price continues to be the key factor in deciding who to contact, couples emphasize the importance reviews and photos have on their decision making. When it comes to reviews, couples tell us they most value the overall review rating, photos submitted by real couples and the recency of a review (70%).

Top Vendors Hired

  • 92% Venue
  • 89% Photographer
  • 87% Caterer
  • 82% Cake
  • 76% Beauty
  • 71% DJ
  • 71% Event Rentals
  • 70% Florist


From engagement length to guest count and even how they meet, today’s couples are changing it up. In fact, just 12 years ago, the average couple got married at age 27 (now, the average is 32) and only 12% of couples met online. Today, that number is nearly double and online dating is the most popular way newlyweds-to-be meet! As today’s couples are prioritizing other aspects of their life before marriage, it’s no surprise we’re seeing shifts in their behaviors, sentiment and how they’re communicating with their partner before getting married.

Who Are Today’s Newly-Engaged Couples?

icon of a speech bubble indicating a digital message, with a heart inside 1 in 4

met online


own a home together


have spoken about future finances


discussed if one person would change their last name after getting engaged

photo of a couple leaning in to kiss while holding a brightly-colored bouquet in front of their faces 27%

grew up in different regions or countries


date 2+ years before getting engaged


have traveled outside the US together

sticker-style icon of a large passenger airplane

have a pet together

photo of two little bulldogs dressed up for a wedding, one in a tuxedo making a goofy face and the other with a large flower arrangement around its neck looking formally at the camera

Today’s Couples by the Numbers

Though every wedding is unique across the nation, data shows us that there are similarities that emerge among couples of similar backgrounds—whether that means couples of equivalent race, sexual orientation, cultural roots and/or demographics. Click on the tabs below to see how data changes among the following groups.

  • 32 21 30 46 37 32 32 32 36

    Average age of couples

  • 131 148 135 99 129 173 133 134 115

    Average number of guests

  • 10 10 10 8 12 12 10 10 8

    Number of wedding party members

  • 15 months 11 months 15 months 16 months 16 months 15 months 15 months 16 months 20 months

    Average engagement length

  • 77% 37% 80% 79% 71% 56% 79% 65% 93%

    Lived together pre-wedding

  • 72% 79% 77% 44% 61% 50% 77% 56% 47%

    Had a wedding shower

  • 65% 73% 69% 35% 49% 64% 68% 57% 40%

    Asked for parents’ blessing

  • 25% 42% 26% 14% 24% 22% 26% 20% 20%

    Had a hometown wedding

  • 77% 90% 78% 70% 71% 44% 80% 67% 49%

    Changed last name

  • sticker-style icon of three pink and red hearts in a cluster

Calculations based on partners with equal identifiers (i.e., same reported race).

Gen Z: 1997-current, Millennials: 1982-1996, Gen X: 1961-1981


Aside from common expenses such as venue, catering and photography, the endless options for upgrades and special add-ons can cause wedding costs to add up. In fact, nearly 60% of couples increase their initial budget, primarily due to finding things along the way that they felt they “needed to have” and realizing they may have underestimated at first pass. At the end of the day, couples on average spend roughly $28,000 on their ceremony/reception, which equals about $215 per guest.

Budgeting for the Wedding

Couples tell us that guest count, location and venue are the top three aspects they consider when determining their wedding budget. Since the venue is often the first decision a couple will make, knowing this cost early on allows them to figure out how to divvy up the remaining budget to meet their needs.

When allocating wedding finances, 35% of couples find that figuring out how to get their “must-haves” within their budget is the most challenging task. sticker-style icon of a handful of dollar bills

Resources Used to Determine Budget

Getting Real About Budget


Couples budget around



... but end up spending nearly


Over 80% of couples set a rough budget before researching any vendors—often underestimating the cost of products and services. In fact, roughly forty percent of increased budgets are due to couples admitting they set a lower initial budget than what was realistic.

Reasons Couples Spend More

Fifty-four percent of couples increase their budget during planning, with 45% allocating additional funds to wedding items they fell in love with along the way. While it may not have been in the initial budget, 62% of newlyweds say they don’t regret the splurge and would spend the extra money again.

Top 5 Reasons Budget Increases

  • 45%

    Found “must-have” items during planning

  • 42%

    Initial budget was set lower than reality

  • 34%

    Added custom/personalized elements

  • 32%

    Guest count changed

  • 29%

    Opted for upgrades (ex. exotic flowers, linens, etc.)

Most Popular Places Couples Increase Budget

  • 47%


  • 41%


  • 34%


  • 30%

    Wedding Bands

  • 26%


“I think photography is the one area you should most definitely splurge. Pictures are something you are going to look back on for the rest of your life. We ended up paying [more than average] for a package ... and it was worth every penny!” — Alexandra, 2020 Newlywed
photo of a groom carrying a bride in his arms while they kiss on a beach

Who’s Paying for the Wedding

The average couple pays for roughly half of the wedding cost, mostly pulling from savings (45%). However it’s the parents who are often footing the majority of the bill (52%). While nearly 60% of parents agree to pay for certain items, such as dress or venue, roughly one-third write a check for the couple to spend at their discretion.

Percent of Wedding Paid For

Gen X
2nd+ Marriage

How Couples Pay

  • 45%


  • 38%


  • 37%

    Checking Account

  • 32%

    Credit Cards

Ceremony/Reception Spend

When looking at overall cost of a wedding, there are many factors such as guest size, location and day-of details that impact the total cost. While the average Millennial wedding costs nearly $10,000 more than a Gen X wedding, we know they are also more likely to invite 36 more guests, include an open bar (+6%) and serve late night snacks (+14%).


Destination weddings


Hometown weddings


1st marriage


2nd marriage




Gen X


Same-sex couples


Opposite-sex couples

2019 Average Wedding Cost by Category


The 2020 WeddingWire Newlywed Report is based on a survey among 27,250 individuals—the largest survey of weddings in the industry. The data is collected from couples who provided their email to The Knot Worldwide and were married between January 1 and December 31, 2019. Respondents represent couples from all over the country with various ethnicities, income levels, race, age, sexual orientation and gender identity. To provide the most comprehensive view of research collected, this report also includes findings from ad hoc studies conducted in 2019. In a typical year, The Knot Worldwide conducts research with more than 300,000 US brides, grooms, guests and wedding professionals.

Lauren Goodson

Senior Director of Insights

Kirsten Francis

Associate Director of Insights