Wedding Consumerism

1.3 Mile Long Wedding Dress Shows China Is Ready For Gross Consumerism, Too!

By consumeristcarey August 8, 2009

A Chinese bride recently walked down the aisle wearing a 7,083-foot-long wedding dress that took 200 guests over three hours to unfurl. The $5,800 dress could be a sign of China’s potential to threaten America’s reigning status as the capital of gross consumerism, if only the bridegroom hadn’t personally designed the dress with his family’s help. Explaining the lavish garment, he said: “I do not want a cliche wedding parade or banquet.”

After the event, he cut the dress down to 1,984.1022m, to represent his bride’s date of birth, and added 608 crystals, one for every day they had dated.

Mr Zhao said he had submitted his attempt to Guinness World Records in London and would also be sending video footage.

“Both the length of the dress and the number of silk roses pinned on the wedding dress can make history,” he said, but added that it did not matter to him whether he was successful or not.

The whole effort cost Mr Zhao about 40,000 yuan ($5,800; £3,470), but his schoolteacher bride was reported to have “laughed and cried at the romantic gesture”.

Maybe Americans could learn from the relatively inexpensive do-it-yourself extravagance. It actually is quite romantic, even if it didn’t win over everyone.

Mr Zhao’s mother appeared less impressed.

“It is a waste of money in my opinion,” she told Xinhua.

Chinese bride wears 2.2km dress [BBC]
(Photo: Reuters)


Real Wedding 2011 Survey Release by The Knot

by CHRIS JAEGER on MARCH 27, 2012

NEW YORK, Mar 21, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — XO Group Inc. XOXO +0.77% , a global media and technology leader and creator of the top two wedding websites, and, today released the results of its annual Real Weddings Survey, which surveyed nearly 18,000 US couples married in 2011. & 2011 Real Weddings Survey captures detailed information on wedding budget, style preferences, event characteristics and other key information related to the bridal demographic.

The 2011 Real Weddings Survey captured responses from nearly 18,000 US brides married between January 1 and December 31, 2011; respondents were recruited throughout the year from and membership, which represents nearly 80% of brides nationwide. Brides received survey invitations shortly after their wedding date and were asked a comprehensive series of questions about the event and their planning process. All qualified respondents: were 18 or older, had a wedding in 2011.

“For the first time since 2008, wedding budgets are on the rise,” said Carley Roney, cofounder of The Knot. “In 2011, one in five US couples spent more than $30,000, and 11% spent more than $40,000 on their weddings. Our research shows that couples and their families are less concerned with the economy and are increasingly comfortable investing more in the once-in-a-lifetime occasion of their wedding.”

2011 Wedding Statistics

– Average Wedding Budget: $27,021 (excludes honeymoon)

– Most Expensive Place to Get Married: Manhattan, $65,824 average spend

– Least Expensive Place to Get Married: West Virginia, $14,203 average spend

– Average Spent on a Wedding Dress: $1,121

– Average Marrying Age: Bride, 29; Groom, 30

– Average Number of Guests: 141

– Average Number of Bridesmaids: 4-5

– Average Number of Groomsmen: 4-5

– Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)

– Average Length of Engagement: 14 months

– Most Popular Month to Get Married: September (15%)

– Popular Wedding Colors: Blue (30%), Purple (25%), Green (24%)

– Percentage of Destination Weddings: 24%

2011 Average Wedding Budget Breakdown 2011/2010

————————————- ————————— —————————

Overall Wedding (excluding honeymoon) $27,021 $26,984

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Wedding Venue (reception hall) $12,116 $12,124

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Wedding/Event Planner $1,753 $1,683

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Reception Band $3,122 $3,081

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Reception DJ $929 $900

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Wedding Photographer $2,299 $2,320

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Florist/Décor $1,894 $1,988

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Videographer $1,486 $1,463

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Wedding Dress $1,121 $1,099

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Wedding Cake $535 $540

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Ceremony Site $1,599 $1,393

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Ceremony Musicians $536 $503

————————————- ————————— —————————

Invitations $331 $351

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Limousine $669 $667

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Favors $217 $222

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Rehearsal Dinner $1,078 $1,127

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Engagement Ring $5,130 $5,392

————————————- ————————— —————————

Figures based on respondents who hired a professional vendor for the service.

Top 20 Most Expensive Places to Get Married

Based on average wedding spend in 2011, these are the areas around the US where couples spend the most on their wedding.

1. NYC (Manhattan): $65,824

2. Chicago, IL: $53,069

3. NY Metro (Long Island, Hudson Valley and NYC Outer Boroughs): $50,087, $46,560, $40,356

4. Northern/Central NJ and Southern NJ: $46,600, $38,103

5. Rhode Island: $41,307

6. Santa Barbara/Ventura, CA, and Los Angeles, CA: $37,823, $37,690

7. Philadelphia, PA: $37,014

8. Boston, MA: $35,560

9. Southern Florida (Miami, Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas): $34,465

10. Washington, DC, Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland: $34,203

11. Connecticut: $33,789

12. Baltimore, MD: $32,702

13. Northern, CA, San Diego, CA, and Orange County/Inland Empire, CA: $32,261, $30,482, $29,826

14. Hawaii: $31,461

15. Pittsburgh, PA: $29,703

16. Louisiana: $28,790 *New to Top 20 List in 2011

17. Dallas, TX, Houston, TX, and Austin/San Antonio, TX: $28,717, $27,459, $27,735

18. California/Nevada (Sacramento, Tahoe and Reno): $28,028

19. Lehigh Valley/Poconos, PA: $27,339 *New to Top 20 List in 2011

20. Detroit, MI: $27,017 *New to Top 20 List in 2011

Interesting Regional Differences & 2011 Real Weddings Survey can be broken down on a region-by-region basis across more than 80 markets. Regional highlights include:

– Budget: New York City (Manhattan) has the highest average wedding budget ($65,824), and West Virginia has the lowest average wedding budget ($14,203), excluding honeymoon only.

– Age: Hawaii has the oldest brides (31 years), whereas Utah has the youngest brides (26 years), on average.

– Engagements: Mid-Atlantic brides (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) have the longest engagements (16 months), while brides from Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi have the shortest (12 months), on average.

– Wedding Size: On average, Iowa brides still have the largest number of wedding guests (215), and Hawaii and Nevada still have the smallest number of wedding guests (77 and 63, respectively).

– Wedding Style: Hawaii has the most casual weddings (48%), while Long Island, NY, has the most formal (black-tie) weddings (37%).

– Wedding Dress Spend: Brides in Manhattan spend the most on their dresses ($2,403), while North and South Dakotan brides spend the least ($745).

– Registry: Brides in Central Illinois, are the most likely to register for wedding gifts (98%).

Top 10 2011 Wedding Trends

BIGGER BUDGETS. Brides are spending more on their weddings. For the first time since 2008, the average wedding budget has grown year over year, hitting $27,021. Fewer brides (29%) say the economy affected their wedding budget — a decrease from 31% in 2010 and 34% in 2009. Wedding standards also rose for the first time since 2009, as the average wedding spend per guest increased to $196, compared with $194 in 2009.

PLANNING BEGINS EARLIER. Some brides are even starting to plan their wedding before their guy pops the question. Brides are now allowing themselves more time to plan, with one in three (31%) beginning to plan more than 12 months ahead (up from 28% in 2010). Plus, 16% of brides now plan their wedding before getting engaged. In the last three months leading up to their wedding, brides spend an average of 11 hours a week working on wedding details. Nearly one in three hire or use a wedding planner, with more than half of those brides (51%) hiring them for day-of coordination.

3-DAY-LONG, LUXURY WEDDINGS. High-end weddings are far more traditional. The luxury wedding segment (those spending an average of $100,000 on their wedding) had approximately 85,000 weddings in 2011 and represents a $9 billion industry. Luxury weddings are more formal/black-tie (46% vs. 15% of the non-luxury market) and larger (204 guests compared with 137 guests attending non-luxury weddings). Luxury weddings are also longer, with 74% of couples hosting three or more days of events. The look is also more traditional: Ivory/champagne and metallics are the most popular wedding color palettes among luxury brides.

LESS FORMAL STYLE. Casual weddings grow. Wedding style continues to move toward the more casual end of the spectrum. In 2011, 16% of brides said their wedding style was “casual,” compared with 14% in 2010 and 12% in 2009. While the “semi formal” category still reigns, with 65% of brides planning a wedding with that style in 2011, fewer brides are going for the “formal/black-tie” tradition, with only 16% describing their wedding that way in 2011, down from 18% in 2010 and 20% in 2009.

FALL WEDDINGS ARE MORE POPULAR. Unique wedding dates alter seasonal landscape. While summer will always be “wedding season,” 2011 saw a shift in seasonal popularity with only 37% of weddings taking place in months of June, July and August, down from 41% in 2010 and 2009. Partially owing to the popular wedding dates of 9/10/11 and 11/11/11, in 2011, fall grew in popularity, with 36% of weddings taking place in September, October and November months, compared with just 30% in 2010 and 2009.

PURPLE REIGNS. Purple is the fastest-growing wedding color. Purple weddings continued to be extremely popular, with one out of four brides (25%) choosing the palette, up from 21% in 2010 and only 16% in 2009. Other popular wedding colors include blue (30%), green (24%) and pink (22%). On the other hand, brown weddings are on their way out, with only 11% choosing the color in 2011, down from 21% in 2008 (when brown was the “it” color).

WEDDINGS ARE MORE INTERACTIVE. New types of guest “entertainment” are on the rise. Eating and drinking isn’t enough anymore. Custom guest entertainment, such as photo booths and comedians, is on the rise, with 22% of brides incorporating additional guest entertainment into their wedding (vs. 15% in 2010 and 11% in 2009). In addition, interactive food stations, such as a sommelier with wine tastings, a sushi chef or a cheesemonger, continue to be popular, with 14% of brides including this option in their receptions (up from 13% in 2010).

COUPLES STILL LOVE CUPCAKES. Wedding cakes have much more competition. While a majority of brides (67%) still go for a traditional tiered wedding cake, other desserts are also served during the reception. Great dessert options include items like a groom’s cake (19%), candy (15%) and baked goods like pies, cookies and brownies (20%), and cupcakes, surprisingly, grew again in popularity from 13% in 2010 to 17% in 2011.

EVERY WEDDING HAS A WEBSITE. Couples increasingly communicate with guests online. The vast majority of couples now have personal wedding websites (69% of couples created one in 2011 vs. 65% in 2010 and 60% in 2009), and brides are increasingly using social media to share wedding details with guests (45% of couples did so in 2011 vs. 32% in 2009). Nearly one in six brides (15%) even kept in contact with their vendors via Facebook and/or Twitter.

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY. Wedding planning has gone mobile. Nearly three out of five brides use their smartphones for wedding planning. Brides who have smartphones are doing a lot on the go, from taking and sharing wedding-related pictures (58%) and looking up wedding vendor contact information (47%) to accessing wedding planning websites (33%) and managing their wedding gift registry (32%).

About & 2011 Real Weddings Survey

The 2011 Real Weddings Survey captured responses from nearly 18,000 US brides married between January 1 and December 31, 2011; respondents were recruited throughout the year from and membership, which represents nearly 80% of brides nationwide. Brides received survey invitations shortly after their wedding date and were asked a comprehensive series of questions about the event and their planning process. All qualified respondents:

– Were 18 or older

– Had a wedding in 2011

Survey respondents represent a variety of ethnic, education and income levels, and are geographically dispersed across the country. The survey and data management partner for the study was Decipher Inc.

About XO Group Inc.

XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO; ), formerly The Knot Inc., is a global media and technology leader devoted to weddings, pregnancy and everything in between, providing young women with the trusted information, products and advice they need to guide them through the most transformative events of their lives. Our family of premium brands began with the #1 wedding brand, The Knot, and has grown to include, The Nest, The Bump and XO Group is recognized by the industry for being innovative in all media — from the web to social media and mobile, magazines and books, and video — and our groundbreaking social platforms have ignited passionate communities across the world. XO Group has leveraged its customer loyalty into successful businesses in online sponsorship and advertising, registry services, ecommerce and publishing. The company is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange (XOXO) and is headquartered in New York City.


June 17, 2011 – New York, NY – BRIDES, the #1 brand in the world for reaching engaged women, has once again conducted the American Wedding Study, the quintessential analysis of spending and behaviors around wedding planning that provides key insights to the emerging and established trends surrounding this economically charged life phase.


Results of the 2011 BRIDES American Wedding Study show couples doing more with less; overall wedding spending has decreased slightly but there are more events surrounding weddings (double digit increases for wedding weekends, destination weddings, engagement parties, and bachelorette parties) and the wedding itself incorporates more elements and more personalization than ever before.

Couples are blending old with new, preserving select traditions like the first dance and cake-cutting but bidding farewell to sit-down dinners and buffets in favor of cocktail hours and passed hors d’oeuvres. Nearly 10% of all weddings feature a “man of honor” or “best woman”, 14% of couples are married by a friend or family member ordained for the occasion and 11% of couples make charitable donations on behalf of their guests.


* The average wedding cost is $26,501, slightly more than a 5% decrease from 2009 when the average cost was $28,082 but up $8,000 since 2002.

* The reception accounts for 36% of wedding costs, with an average price tag of $13,367.

* Outside of the reception, the largest chunks of money are going to photography/videography ($3,367), wedding rings ($1,495) and flowers ($1,426).

* The average wedding cake costs $480.

* The current average cost of an engagement ring is $4,647, a 27% decrease from 2009’s average engagement ring cost of $6,348.

* Average wedding dress cost is $1,289, which a 20% increase since 2009 when the average cost was $1,072.

* The average bridesmaids dress costs $134.

* Everyone pitches in to pay for the wedding and surrounding events.

* Brides- to-be are the primary contributors for the bridesmaid’s luncheon (60%), wedding ceremony (57%), wedding weekend (53%) and post-reception party (47%).

* Together, 68% of brides and grooms are paying for their honeymoon.

* The brides’ parents are focused primarily on paying for the wedding reception (58%), next-day brunch (44%) and engagement party (36%).

* His parents are still paying for the majority of the rehearsal dinner (60%).

* Their friends take charge of the bridal showers (72%) and bachelor/bachelorette parties (88%).


* December is still the most popular month of the year to get engaged (18%).

* Length of engagement has increased from 14 months in 2009 to 15.4 months in 2011.

* The majority (63%) of brides-to-be provided input on their engagement ring, with over one in five (21%) actually selecting the ring themselves. This is an increase of 9% versus 2009.


* 91% have a honeymoon (14% increase since 2009).

* 35% have an engagement party (+21%).

* 22% have a wedding weekend (+38%).

* 15% have a destination wedding (+25%).

* 87% have a rehearsal dinner.

* 86% have an average of 2.3 bridal showers.

* 34% have a post-wedding brunch.

* 24% have a post-reception party.

* 5% have multiple ceremonies.


* She’s buying her wedding dress 9 months before the wedding.

* Average wedding dress cost is $1,289, a 20% increase since 2009 when the average cost was $1,072.

* Today’s bride is also spending another $581 on wedding day accessories, jewelry, headpiece and veil.

* 1 in 2 purchase from an independent local bridal salon, with another 29% buying from a national bridal chain.

* 84% of brides wear something old, new, borrowed and blue.

* Close to half (45%) will box up their dress to pass it on. Another 10% will either sell their dress, give it to another bride or re-cut/remodel to wear again.


* Nearly half of couples (48%) wed in the city or town where they currently live, with 23% returning to their family’s hometown for the occasion.

* One in ten engaged couples (15%) have a destination wedding, which is an increase of 25% from 2009.

* Of those having a destination wedding, they are staying an average of 6 days/nights on location and their guests are staying 3 days/nights.


* The majority of weddings (91%) have a maid/matron of honor, one out of ten (10%) include a man of honor.

* 89% of wedding parties have a best man and 7% have a best woman.

* In addition to a maid/matron of honor and best man, the typical wedding party features 4.5 bridesmaids and 4.5 groomsmen/ushers for a total of 11 people in the main bridal party.

* The average bridesmaids’ dress costs $134.

* 62% of wedding parties also include a flower girl and 53% feature a ring bearer. 4% also include their pets.


* The average number of guests is 152.

* The majority of brides-to-be (67%) would categorize their wedding as semi-formal in contrast to casual (19%) or black-tie (13%).

* 38% of receptions are described as classic or traditional. 30% are described as intimate or modern (24%), a 76% and 71% increase over 2009.

* Traditions are still important:

* 91% of weddings feature the cutting of the cake

* 90% of weddings incorporate a first dance

* 87% of weddings include celebratory toasts

* 68% of brides throw the bridal bouquet (down from 74% in 2 years)

* 57% of grooms throw the bride’s garter (- 65%)

* Only 4% of weddings feature guests throwing rice.

* 20% now have a photo booth.

* 11% now make donations to charities in lieu of favors.

* 3% have started including professional dancers or comedians for entertainment.


* 93% of couples register for wedding and shower gifts.

* On average they register nearly 7 months (6.7) before the wedding – or 9 months after their initial engagement.

* The average engaged couple joins fewer than three registries (2.7).

* 82% of engaged couples register through a combination of in-store and online. Only 17% of engaged couples register strictly online.


* Couples spend $582 on gifts for each other. The #1 gift from bride to groom is a watch; the #1 gift from groom to bride is jewelry.

* They’ll also spend an additional $760 on gifts for parents ($254), bridesmaids ($268) and groomsmen ($238).

* #1 gift for bridesmaids is jewelry; #1 gift for groomsmen is liquor related (flasks, shot glasses, steins or premium liquor).


* Liquor has increased in importance with 92% having some type of bar, toast or signature cocktail and liquor or alcohol glassware gifts for groomsmen doubling since 2009.

* 1 in 5 use a mobile app to help plan, shop for or register for their wedding.

* 17% use a social media app to plan, shop or register.

* Nearly 1 in 5 couples are now using evites or emails to invite guests to the wedding or save the date.

* The #1 theme for weddings is beach, tropical, luau.

* 14% of couples have a friend or family member ordained in order to perform the ceremony.

* Only 42% will have either a sit-down or buffet meal. Instead, couples are opting for cocktail hour (58%), passed hors d’oeuvres (46%), dessert stations (28%), food stations (19%), picnic/barbeque (5%), sushi chef (2%), wine tasting (2%), food trucks (1%) or cheese mongers (1%).


Respondents were women ages 18+, either engaged or married within the year. The sample included women who have visited or Brides magazine subscribers, representing more engaged women than any other media outlet. A total of 2,985 qualified surveys were evaluated. Respondents were surveyed between April 15 – April 28, 2011.


In over 75 years of publication, BRIDES has remained the most widely read magazine in the category and the country’s foremost authority on engagement, weddings, and marriage. BRIDES, and 16 brides local magazines are published by Condé Nast, a division of Advance Publications, which operates in 25 countries and is home to some of the world’s most celebrated media brands.




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