As you gear up for 2023 events—and are receiving inquiries for 2024—it's important to have as much data on couples as you possibly can. So in this report, we're painting a full picture of how today's couples are thinking about the wedding planning process, what trends we're seeing and what it all means for you as a business in the wedding industry.

To get these insights and more, we surveyed nearly 12,000 couples who were married in 2022 for The Knot’s annual Real Weddings Study, going over a wide range of topics like how they got engaged and what considerations they made when looking for their vendors. In this report, we’ve outlined the most engaging insights from the study to dig into why they’re important for pros and ways you can use the data to tailor your services and attract your ideal clients.

The Knot Real Weddings

Vendor Report

We surveyed nearly 12,000 couples—here’s what you need to know about them

The average engagement lasted 15 months in 2022, though 13% of couples were engaged for two years or longer. During their engagement, they hit the ground running and started wedding planning right away. We found that within one month of getting engaged, 58% of couples take at least one wedding planning action, and within two months, that increases to 85%. Needless to say, couples are very excited start to planning their dream weddings!

Among couples surveyed, the average age to get married was 31, meaning that Millennials, again, made up the majority of people making it down the aisle. It’s worth noting, however, that the oldest members of Gen Z turned 25 this past year, meaning they are now entering the core marrying age. This small shift has caused key differences in how couples are thinking about and planning their weddings as a whole.

A snapshot of today's couples

Gen Z couples (ages 18-25) are changing the wedding industry in a significant way. Along with valuing and seeking out diverse pros and experiences, Gen Z couples also want to create memorable experiences that can be captured and shared.

Couples in this generation want their day to be remembered through statement moments and embrace opportunities to surprise and delight guests. From choreographed wedding dances to champagne shooters, Gen Z is incorporating bold elements into their ceremonies and receptions. Additionally, 67% of Gen Z couples reported having a grand entrance or exit compared to 49% of Millennials (ages 26-61).

To document these moments, roughly 83% of Gen Z couples consider photography and videography as two of the most important services to have at their weddings. Another thing Gen Z couples consider when trying to capture the moment is incorporating fun photography elements into their receptions, like Polaroid cameras and selfie stations.

Overall, wedding planning looked a little different in 2022 than it did in the years prior. Most notably, it marked a return to “pre-pandemic” norms after two years of major disruption. Fewer than one in ten (7%) said their wedding date was impacted by COVID-19, down from 27% in 2021. Additionally, the number of couples planning to use health and safety measures dropped significantly.

We found that couples’ top challenges during the planning process are planning with a budget (47%) and determining the guest list (36%). For guidance, couples relied on a wide range of resources to plan—especially wedding planning websites (73%) and wedding planners (29%).

During the six hours per week, on average, couples spent wedding planning, 90% of that planning was done online. From finding inspiration on platforms like Pinterest (68%) and TikTok (28%) to using wedding websites to plan their events (73%), couples made the most out of the technology at their fingertips.

Gen Z couples, in particular, took full advantage of the technology at their disposal to make their wedding planning process more efficient. For example, they are notably more likely to use online chats to speak with vendors (40% vs. 30% of Millennials) and watch online videos for tips or inspiration (51% vs. 44% of Millennials). They’re also shaking up how wedding information is shared. We found that 26% of Gen Z couples opted to add QR codes in their save the dates or invitations to link out to their wedding website.

Once it was time to say “I do,” 64% of couples opted to host semi-formal affairs. Styles ranged from romantic (33%) and elegant (24%) to outdoorsy (16%) and boho (11%). Couples spent an average of $30,000 on their ceremony and reception in 2022—a $2,000 increase from 2021—though spending varied widely depending on guest count, location, time of year and the number of vendors hired. In large metropolitan areas, for example, the average wedding costs couples $50,000 or more.

A deeper dive: Gen Z couples


Because Gen Z is entering core marrying ages—and because they’re adding unique and out-of-the-box elements to their ceremonies and receptions-–there is a lot of opportunity for pros to collaborate with their couples to try something new. So, don’t be afraid to lean into their fun ideas and build on them. Then, make sure to capture those elements in photos to include in your marketing and advertising materials, like the photo gallery on your Storefronts so you can continue to attract Gen Z couples. There are also opportunities for pros in more niche service categories, like photobooths, to be hired more frequently.


Survey methodology: The Real Weddings Study captured responses from 11,646 US couples married between January 1 and December 31, 2022; respondents were recruited via email invitation from The Knot and/or WeddingWire membership. Respondents represent couples from all over the country with various ethnicities, income levels, race, age, sexual orientation and gender identity.

How couples planned their weddings in 2022


Technology is a huge factor in wedding planning, so it may be time to consider implementing technology into your systems that meets the needs and expectations of couples. This can include ensuring that your website is operating rapidly, offering Zoom consultations, creating videos for your website or social media to share tips and inspiration to couples, adding automated instant-messaging systems to your website for quick and easy communication and having a presence on a wedding marketplace website, like The Knot and WeddingWire.

A snapshot of 2022 weddings

Personalization was a huge factor for the majority of couples. Gone are the days of cookie-cutter weddings; now, people want to throw unique events that showcase their specific relationships. From honoring family members (57%) and wearing an item that has special meaning to their family (55%) to incorporating a wedding theme (33%) and locally-sourced products (25%), couples were striving for a wedding that celebrated their relationship and highlighted things that represented them. Because of this, they needed to rely heavily on their wedding pros to make sure things went off without a hitch.

A deeper dive: Couples and their vendors

For the second year in a row, couples hired an average of 14 vendors. When researching pros, price continues to be a top consideration along with reviews, as many seek wedding pros who have proven experience and examples working with like-minded couples.

Not only are pros vital throughout the entire wedding journey, but couples are increasingly turning to pros to help with their proposals. Nearly one-quarter couples involved pros in their proposals, in ways such as having special lighting and decor to create a romantic ambiance to hiring a photographer to capture the surprise. So, this could present a fulfilling opportunity for you to see your couples all the way from “Yes!” to “I do.”


Couples seek pros who have a proven track record of understanding their clients’ vision and turning it into reality. To make this impression with prospective couples, frequently showcase photos of one-of-a-kind events you were a part of (along with their relevant reviews!) so couples can get a full impression of your work. Also, be sure to request fresh reviews, regardless of how many you currently have, so couples know you have worked with recent couples.

How pros can find success in 2023 and beyond

To keep a pulse on the latest trends, we conducted an additional study in January 2023 to understand the mindset of couples getting married in 2023, surveying 351 individuals in total. And while 2022 saw a wedding boom, 2023 is anticipated to return to pre-pandemic levels with approximately 2.1 million wedding receptions. Right now, though, instead of the pandemic-focused hurdles, couples are facing a different set of challenges: the economy and inflation.

It’s no secret that prices are increasing across the industry due to inflation—we’ve even covered this in our recent 
guide on navigating price re-evaluations—and these increases are affecting couples as well. 61% of couples planning on getting married this year say the economy has already impacted their wedding planning and decision making, with an additional 21% predicting it may in the future. Additionally, roughly 69% of couples are finding that planning within their budget is already their biggest challenge and half of all couples say inflation is another top concern.

Despite the current state of the economy, the majority of couples getting married in 2023 are not making changes to their original budgets (70%). And, of the 30% of couples who are opting to change their budget as a result of the economy, 61% are increasing their budget.

Despite these external pressures, couples are leaning on their vendor teams to guide them through the wedding planning process as they were in previous years. Because of that, it’s important to educate your couples on the realities of the wedding planning process to level-set their expectations once they’ve reached out to learn more about your business, but also to make sure you’re doing the following so you can attract your ideal client in the first place.

Embrace uniqueness

Personalization is a top factor for most of today’s couples, so it’s important that you step out of the realm of standard wedding practices and leave space for those clients who want to go outside the box for their nuptials. Additionally, research some of the top wedding trends that are popping up so you can be ready for any request that comes your way.

Adopt technology

Technology made a major impact on wedding planning in 2022, and that’s only going to continue into this year and the next. Consider adding more technology to your business and booking process. Things like having a chatbot function on your website will make sure that you’re keeping up with couples’ expectations on how they can interact with pros and catering to their preferred types of communication. This will help reduce friction and maximize your chances of getting them to book you.

Have a strong online presence

In the same vein as adding and utilizing more technology in your business, it’s important for you to have a strong online presence on the platforms couples are using to plan their weddings. Whether that be uploading videos and pictures on TikTok and Pinterest for inspiration or having Storefronts on the places they are going to book like The Knot and WeddingWire, your business needs to make its marketing and advertising channels work overtime so you can catch the attention of the couples looking for pros like you.

Invest in your advertising

Lastly, one of the best ways for you to capture the attention of couples is through advertising on a wedding planning website. 73% of couples use wedding planning websites to help plan their weddings. Advertising on these platforms allows you to meet couples where they are already planning and helps you consistently reach new audience members you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. With the right advertising platforms like The Knot and WeddingWire, you’ll also gain even more visibility and credibility in your local market.


The data we collected in The Knot Real Weddings Study is a valuable snapshot showing where couples' heads are at as they’re thinking about their weddings. As you’re gearing your business up for your 2023 weddings, use this data to inform how you interact with your current clients and attract new ones so this can be your most successful year yet.


Iris Mannings Photography