Here Comes … A Lot of Couples Getting Married

SurveysFeb 16, 2022

Here Comes … A Lot of Couples Getting Married

The number of weddings is expected to near 2.5 million in the United States this year, a number not seen since 1984.

An estimated 2.5 million to 2.6 million U.S. couples are expected to tie the knot this year, the highest number since the mid-‘80s. Shane McMurray, CEO of The Wedding Report, attributes the increase to pent-up demand from 2020 and 2021, when the pandemic forced couples to postpone their weddings.
New York—In terms of organizing large-scale events, the last few years have felt a little like learning how to drive a stick shift—difficult at first, with a lot of jerky starts and stops and plenty of unexpected stalls.

Members of the jewelry industry are well-aware of these difficulties, with the industry’s stable annual slate of events turned upside-down for going on three years now.

Many couples looking to get married have experienced it too, with COVID-19 disrupting plans for big celebrations in 2020 and 2021, leading to expectations that there will be a lot of weddings in the United States this year.

Shane McMurray, founder and CEO of market research company The Wedding Report Inc., predicts about 2.5 million couples will tie the knot in 2022 and spend an average of $24,300 on their wedding, while The Knot released a similarly bullish forecast of 2.6 million weddings. 

If achieved, it’ll be the highest number of weddings in the U.S. since 1984—when baby boomers, then 20-38, were in the prime age bracket for marriage—figures compiled by McMurray from the U.S. Census Bureau show.

It’s a boom that presents an opportunity for jewelers, from wedding-day jewelry for the bride or groom, gifts the couple exchanges, or presents for members of the wedding party.

Wedding Trends
Overall trends in the wedding industry mirror what’s probably the most predominant engagement ring trend right now—couples want something customized that reflects their individual personalities and relationships.

Sheavonne Harris, a wedding planner and owner of Events by Sheavonne, said she sees clients whittling down their guests lists to include only close family and friends, investing in after-parties, skipping the wedding cake in favor of other desserts—one couple she worked with had an ice cream truck—and/or doing away with the traditional bridal party. 

“There’s been a focus on what they actually want, as opposed to what they are supposed to have.”— Sheavonne Harris, Events by Sheavonne 

And just as some brides opt for a colored stone engagement ring, some choose to wear wedding dresses that are not all white, whether it’s a pop of color in a sash or overlay, a subtle all-over shade, or a bold hue.

Harris said one of her recent brides wore pink while another chose green, a trend she expects to continue. 

Couples want to look back on their wedding day and say, “it was exactly as we wanted it to be,” not, “we did this because we felt obligated.” 

“There’s been a focus on what they actually want, as opposed to what they are supposed to have,” Harris said. “It’s definitely [them questioning], ‘I don’t want to do this, so why do I have to have it?’” 

McMurray said in his research, he also sees couples breaking from tradition, for a few reasons. 

First, cutting out some traditions—say, the cake or the flowers—allows them to be able to afford exactly what they want in other areas, like the caterer, venue, or photographer. 

This is especially true in 2022 as couples battle inflation, supply chain issues, and labor shortages. (Getting labor for events is “really hard right now,” McMurray noted.) 

 Related stories will be right here … 

Secondly, many couples are footing the bill for all, or at least some, of their weddings so they feel free to design the sort of ceremony and celebration they want.

The Wedding Report has a rundown from 2017 detailing how often couples pay 100 percent of the cost for various aspects of their weddings, from the engagement ring (85 percent of the time) to musicians for the big day (62 percent).

On average, today’s couples pay 100 percent of the cost for various aspects of the ceremony and celebration 72 percent of the time, according to The Wedding Report.

Lastly, McMurray sees the trend of breaking from long-held practices around weddings and wedding ceremonies as a reflection of a society that is becoming less tradition-bound.

What’s trending in terms of wedding-day jewelry? Panelists on a recent National Jeweler webinar on engagement ring trends said diamonds and pearls. Assael’s “La Feuille” earrings ($11,900) with South Sea cultured pearls and 1.22 carats of marquise-cut diamonds have both.
What’s trending in terms of wedding-day jewelry? Panelists on a recent National Jeweler webinar on engagement ring trends said diamonds and pearls. Assael’s “La Feuille” earrings ($11,900) with South Sea cultured pearls and 1.22 carats of marquise-cut diamonds have both.

As for the timing of the 2.5 million weddings, McMurray said the core months for weddings vary depending on region but, typically, most weddings happen in May or June, and then September or October.

But if places are booked in 2022, that might force couples to look at traditionally less popular months, like July and August.

‘Til Demand Dies Down
While the expected bump in the number of weddings presents an opportunity this year, McMurray noted that it’s more of a pandemic-induced spike than a long-term uptick.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the U.S. marriage rate—meaning the ratio of marriages to the entire population—has been flat or declining since the mid-1980s, something McMurray points out to his wedding vendor clients.

(The CDC keeps statistics on births, marriages, divorces, and deaths, all considered “vital statistics.”)

He said many in the wedding and wedding-adjacent industries expected a big boom in nuptials in the United States when the millennials, the shadow generation of the 70-million-plus baby boomers, reached marrying age. 

National Jeweler was among them. In August 2010, this publication ran an article in its print edition titled “Here Comes the Millennial Bride,” detailing how, “boomers’ children [are] expected to have a big impact on the bridal market.” 

But the boom hasn’t happened, at least not yet.

In the decade since that article was published, the number of weddings in the U.S. has hovered between 2.1 million and 2.2 million each year, U.S. Census data shows.

Meanwhile, data from the CDC shows that the marriage rate held steady at 6.8 marriages per thousand people from 2010 to 2013.

It ticked up to 7.0 by 2016 but has since fallen off again, dropping to 6.1 marriages per thousand people in 2019. 

According to the data, that’s below the lowest marriage rate recorded during the Great Depression (7.9 in 1932) and well below the post-World War II peak in 1946, when there were 16.4 marriages for every 1,000 people.

Looking past 2022, McMurray predicts the number of weddings will return to pre-pandemic levels. He forecasts 2.2 million weddings for 2023 and 2024, and 2.1 million for 2025. 

“We’re only looking at a lot of weddings [this year] because of COVID and that’s really the issue,” he said. “It’s not growth. It’s pent-up demand.”

Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

The Latest

SourcingDec 02, 2022
Alrosa CEO Sergey Ivanov to Step Down, Report Says

According to Russian news sources, the sanctioned head of the diamond company is leaving to take a job with an investment group.

SourcingDec 02, 2022
Lucapa Sells 170-Carat Pink Diamond Unearthed This Summer

Said to be the largest pink diamond found in hundreds of years, “The Lulo Rose” was sold for an undisclosed sum.

AuctionsDec 02, 2022
Here’s How 2 Royal Jewels Performed at Auction in Denmark

A princess’s tiara fell within its pre-sale estimate while an Art Deco bracelet from a queen doubled it.

Brought to you by
Knowledge and Skills for Today’s Hot Topics

From laboratory-grown diamonds to design to country-of-origin, GIA's Alumni Collective™ has a seminar to suite your needs.

CollectionsDec 02, 2022
Piece of the Week: Foundrae’s Chain

A closer look at the bold links reveals a subtle, surprising detail.

Weekly QuizDec 01, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
Supplier BulletinDec 01, 2022
Take Your Jewelry Design Process Digital with the GIA Alumni Collective™

Sponsored by GIA Alumni Collective™

WatchesDec 01, 2022
Rolex to Certify Pre-Owned Watches

Retailers within its official distribution network will be able to sell the authenticated timepieces.

Brought to you by
Diamond Shoppers’ 2022 Holiday Wish List

Give your customers the best diamond buying experience this holiday season.

CollectionsDec 01, 2022
Kendra Scott’s New Collection is for Barbie Girls

The capsule collection combines the brand’s classic styles with Barbie’s signature pink color.

AuctionsDec 01, 2022
13-Carat Pink Diamond Withdrawn From Christie’s Auction

The auction house is not offering any details on why the fancy vivid pink stone was pulled from its upcoming “Magnificent Jewels” sale.

SourcingDec 01, 2022
Nomad’s Is Selling Its Stones to Raise Money for Ukraine Again

In the spirit of an advent calendar, “Gems to Help Ukraine” will sell a stone a day through Dec. 24 on the Nomad’s Instagram account.

GradingDec 01, 2022
PhotoScribe Granted Patent for Method that Verifies a Stone’s Identification

The secure mark combines an overt mark with a covert data set to provide assurance on a gem.

WatchesNov 30, 2022
Watchfinder & Co. Will Launch a Marketplace Next Year

It will provide a place for select luxury watch retailers to sell their stock.

MajorsNov 30, 2022
Pomellato Buys Into Italian Goldsmith

The brand has purchased a minority stake in Costanzo & Rizzetto.

SourcingNov 30, 2022
Firestone Restarts Operations of Lesotho Diamond Mine

Liqhobong has been in a care-and-maintenance period since the start of the pandemic.

MajorsNov 29, 2022
LVMH Acquires Jewelry Manufacturer Pedemonte Group

The strategic acquisition will bolster the luxury titan’s production capacity in its watch and jewelry division.

CollectionsNov 29, 2022
Alex and Ani Founder Carolyn Rafaelian Has Launched a Fine Jewelry Line

The new brand, Metal Alchemist, focuses on unisex, classic jewelry designs.

IndependentsNov 29, 2022
Reinhold Jewelers’ Holiday Book Is an Ode to an Important Beverage

The 2022 edition of the retailer’s annual publication pays homage to the coffee farms and shops of Puerto Rico.

CollectionsNov 29, 2022
Gabriel & Co.’s ‘Fashion Book’ Is Out

Not a catalog, the magazine is a tool for Gabriel & Co. retailers to connect with their customers.

MajorsNov 29, 2022
Claire’s to Open Shop-in-Shops in Select U.S. Macy’s Stores

The partnership brings Claire’s jewelry and accessories to 20 Macy’s locations in time for the holiday season.

MajorsNov 28, 2022
Pomellato’s New Videos Raise Awareness of Violence Against Women

Starring CEO Sabina Belli and other celebrities, the videos emphasize the importance of supporting women who have experienced abuse.

IndependentsNov 28, 2022
Bert Kalisher, an Industry Veteran Who Loved Making Connections, Dies at 97

Kalisher started out manufacturing watch bands and later got into publishing, authoring two books and serving as publisher of Chronos.

Events & AwardsNov 28, 2022
Registration Is Open for AGA’s Annual Tucson Conference

Scheduled for Feb. 1, the event will feature six gemological education presentations and three hands-on sessions.

MajorsNov 28, 2022
The Kingswood Co. Is One of U.S.’s Fastest-Growing Companies Again

The jewelry cleaner manufacturer jumped up to No. 3066 on the Inc. 5000 list.

AuctionsNov 23, 2022
This Sapphire Tiara Once Owned by a Danish Princess Is Going to Auction

The Dec. 1 jewelry sale at Bonhams-owned Bruun Rasmussen will have several other pieces of royal jewelry on the block.

FinancialsNov 23, 2022
Movado Lowers Guidance Amid ‘Uncertain’ Retail Environment

Its Q3 sales dipped as inflation took its toll on shoppers in the U.S. and Europe.

MajorsNov 23, 2022
De Beers Jewellers Is Popping Up in Connecticut

The temporary store is the result of a collaboration with Betteridge.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy