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2022 was a boom for the wedding industry, reported The Knot, in its eagerly awaited 2022 Real Weddings Study, but there were identifiable changes when it came to engagement jewelry.
95 percent of couples surveyed still exchange rings, and diamonds remain the choice for the center stone for 85 of those polled. But more than one-third, or 36 percent of center stones in 2022 were lab grown, doubling in popularity in the past two years.
The Knot is an authority on wedding planning, and operates the leading wedding planning website in the United States, called The Knot Wedding Planner, as well as The Knot national wedding magazine and The Knot book series.
For its 2022 study, The Knot included responses from nearly 12,000 couples who got married in 2022, coming off a record year for weddings, when 2.6 million American couples said “I do” following COVID-19 postponements and pent-up demand.
In 2022, 93 percent of weddings took place as planned on their original date, a marked difference from during the COVID period. The study also revealed that wedding professionals continue to play a pivotal role throughout the entire wedding journey, starting even earlier with the engagement, as nearly one-fourth of couples hired vendors for their proposal—almost double the number in 2019.
The average wedding spend in 2022 among couples surveyed was $30,000, up from $28,000 in 2021, though spending varied widely depending on guest count, location, time of year and the number of vendors hired. For example, weddings in Midwestern cities like Cincinnati and Kansas City, MO, cost an average of $24,000, while costs in larger, metropolitan areas like Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., were closer to $40,000.
The average spend was up slightly from historic spend, however, with inflation climbing steeply in 2022, The Knot team said that it’s no surprise that roughly one in two newlyweds said the economy impacted their wedding cost and planning. This is 13 percent higher than in 2021 when 38 percent said the economy impacted their wedding.
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$5,800 AVERAGE SPEND ON RING
Couples spent an average of $5,800 on an engagement ring, said the polls, trending similar to past years, with roughly one-third spending between $1,000 and $4,000.
With more couples choosing lab-grown diamonds which tend to have lower price tags, the data is also indicated that carat sizes increased compared to historic levels. According to the study, 23 percent of the couples getting married bought diamonds in excess of 2 carats, 11 percent more than in 2017.
According to the Knot Study, round shape remained the most popular choice for engagement ring, with 37 percent of those polled stating that this was their preference. The data shows a rise in popularity for the oval shape at 21 percent of those polled, up from 7 percent in 2017.
Some 42 percent of the diamond engagement rings were created from white gold, 19 percent down on what was reported in 2017.
Those aged 35 to 44 plan to outspend other age groups, allocating $335.71 on average for gifts and other Valentine’s Day items, approximately $142.91 more than the average consumer celebrating the holiday, NRF reported.
Similar to recent years, the top shopping destination to purchase Valentine’s Day gifts is online, with 35 percent of survey respondents saying that they will follow that route, closely followed by department stores, at 34 percent, discount stores, and 31 percent and specialty stores at 18 percent.
INFLATION RAISING ITS HEAD IN 2023
2023 is likely to return to “pre-pandemic” norms, the Knot stated, with some interesting generational trends. With the oldest members of Gen Z turning 25 and entering the core marrying age-range in 2022, key differences between Gen Z and millennials are emerging.
“As a growing number of Gen Z couples begin to get married, we’re starting to see a new wave of trends—particularly when it comes to making a statement about themselves,” said Lauren Goodson, Senior Director of Insights of The Knot.
Though COVID may not be top of mind during planning in 2023 as it once was, couples are facing a new set of challenges due to the economy and inflation. Data from a survey conducted in January shows that 61 percent of couples who are set to wed this year say the economy has already impacted their decision making. While planning within budget is typically a top challenge couples face during any given year, the study found that 49 percent of couples specifically cited rising costs as a top concern.
Source: The Knot’s 2022 Wedding Study.
The majority of 2023 couples say their budgets are remaining flat. But, of the 30 percent who say they are making changes to their budget as a result of the economy, the majority are actually increasing their wedding spend, fully 61 percent, while only one-third are decreasing.