USA TODAY Network Published 5:05 a.m. ET May 17, 2017 | Updated 9:52 a.m. ET May 17, 2017
Couples are spending nearly double the amount they spent 10 years ago on weddings, although the guest list and income have stayed almost the same, according to a newly released 10-year comparison from online wedding planning site.
Ten years ago, couples spent $16,000 on a wedding with an average of 110 guests, today that number has jumped to $28,000 with an average of 124 guests, according to WeddingWire. Research collected from nearly 15,000 couples who married in 2016 or 10 years prior shows more is being asked of guests as well. Ten years ago, only 8% of couples and their wedding parties left their home state to celebrate, while now 34% head out of the state.
While couples were engaged for an average of 8 months 10 years ago, today they are engaged for an average of 13 months. The longer engagements may have to do with the more elaborate weddings that couples are now planning, according to WeddingWire Trend Expert Anne Chertoff.
“The personalization element really touches every element of the wedding," Chertoff said. “Couples want to take their time to figure out what they want for the wedding and want to make it happen. They aren't going to be like 'I can’t get it;' they will find a way, and they don’t mind waiting longer."
Today, couples want to differentiate their weddings from others with themes and more customized events. While only 17% of couples had a theme for their wedding 10 years ago, today nearly 50% have a theme, while one in four have a personalized cocktail.
And the little touches are starting earlier than ever before. Ten years ago, only 27% of couples sent a Save the Date in the mail, but today whether it's a magnet, a post card or a photo 65% of couple send a Save the Date in the mail. Likewise, nearly half of couples use a personalized hashtag for their wedding today, compared to 2% 10 years ago.
A more extravagant event may be painful for your pocketbook, but it's good news for wedding planners, according to the report. A decade ago, a little over 10% of couples hired a wedding planner, but today 31% of couples enlist the help of a planner.
"The majority of people planning a wedding have not planned a party of this caliber,” Chertoff said. “This is hopefully a once in a lifetime event and hiring a planner is seen as something that can help keep stress at bay.”
Chertoff said finding the right planner can help couples stay in budget and potentially find discounts through vendor relationships.
Couples feel almost the same amount of pressure to have a perfect wedding as they did 10 years ago (64%, 63%), but today nearly 40% of couples feel pressure from the media to have the "perfect" wedding."
While technology has changed wedding planning, it can sometimes be a blessing and a curse.
"Websites like WeddingWire, Insta feeds, Pinterest, there are so many images bombarding brides and grooms," Chertoff said.
But while weddings have undeniably gotten bigger, couples still implement many of the same traditions of the past.
"Every wedding for a hundred years or more has had the same elements, [the bride] is probably going to wear a dress, most likely white, they are going to cut a cake ... those traditional elements are not going away," Chertoff said.
92% of grooms say they did at least some of the planning, while only 83% of grooms helped 10 years ago.
Only 34% of couples took engagement photos ten years ago, compared to 62% today.
60% of couples create wedding websites to provide their guests with details, compared to only 10% of couples a decade ago.