Surveys

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.

20220216_couple getting married.jpg
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.

20220216_Assael pearl and diamond earrings.jpg
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

Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo modeling Jacquie Aiche’s Rebel Heart collection
CollectionsApr 22, 2024
Jacquie Aiche’s New Campaign Stars Adam Levine, Behati Prinsloo

The “Rebel Heart” campaign embodies rebellion, romance, and sensuality, the brand said.

American Gem Society Conclave logo 2024
EditorsApr 22, 2024
The 22 Best Quotes from AGS Conclave 2024

Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff shares the standout moments from the education sessions she attended in Austin last week.

Virtual Diamond Boutique
SourcingApr 22, 2024
Virtual Diamond Boutique Rebrands as ‘VDB’

The overhaul includes a new logo and enhanced digital marketplace.

1-(3.18).JPG
Brought to you by
The Blueprint for Success in Scalable, Personalized Jewelry Retail

With Ho Brothers, you can unlock your brand's true potential and offer customers the personalized jewelry experiences they desire.

Signet Jewelers employees and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
MajorsApr 22, 2024
Signet Raises Nearly $9M for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

The money will go toward supporting ongoing research and aftercare programs for childhood cancer survivors.

Weekly QuizApr 19, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge by answering these seven questions.
Take the Quiz
Retrouvaí’s Treasure Necklace
CollectionsApr 19, 2024
Piece of the Week: Retrouvaí’s Treasure Necklace

A new addition to the “Heirloom” collection, this one-of-a-kind piece features 32 custom-cut gemstones.

Stock image crime handcuffs
CrimeApr 19, 2024
Grand Jury to Hear Case Against Jeweler Charged in Fatal Shove Following IJO Show

Last month in Dallas, David Walton pushed another jeweler, David Ettinger, who later died.

Jewelers of America Fly In Washington, D.C.
Brought to you by
How Jewelers of America Represents Your Business

For over 30 years, JA has advocated for the industry, fought against harmful legislation and backed measures that help jewelry businesses.

China Pearl collage
MajorsApr 19, 2024
Unique Designs Acquires China Pearl

The move will allow the manufacturing company to offer a more “diverse and comprehensive” range of products.

Printed and digital AGS Ideal grading reports
GradingApr 19, 2024
AGS Ideal Report Now Available in Printed Form

From now through mid-May, GIA will be offering the reports at a 50 percent discount.

Stock image of a polished diamond in tweezers
SourcingApr 18, 2024
Diamond Trade Remains Cautious Amid Economic Uncertainty

De Beers’ rough diamond sales were down 18 percent year-over-year in its latest round of sales.

LVAJWS24_carousel_images_1872x1052_1.jpg
Supplier BulletinApr 18, 2024
Discover History’s Hidden Gems at the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show

Sponsored by the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show

Kelly Yoch
WatchesApr 18, 2024
Watch E-tailer Collectability Hires Kelly Yoch

The Patek Philippe expert will serve as personal curator for the brand-focused company.

Interior of TAG Heuer Boutique on Carnival Cruise Ship
WatchesApr 18, 2024
TAG Heuer Opens Its Largest Standalone Boutique at Sea

The 553-square-foot shop is aboard the Carnival Jubilee cruise ship.

 Stock image of a gavel
Policies & IssuesApr 17, 2024
NDC Prevails in U.K. Case Over Lab-Grown Diamond Advertising

NDC filed a complaint against Skydiamond for use of phrases like “diamonds made entirely from the sky.”

John Carter, 2024 Shipley Award winner
Events & AwardsApr 17, 2024
And the 2024 Winner of the Shipley Award Is …

John Carter received the AGS’s highest honor Tuesday afternoon at Conclave in Austin, Texas.

Visual from Tiffany & Co.’s With Love Since 1837 campaign
FinancialsApr 17, 2024
LVMH’s Q1 Jewelry Sales Fall 5%

LVMH said the company performed well despite an uncertain geopolitical and economic environment.

 B&D ribbon cutting in RI
MajorsApr 17, 2024
Stuller’s B&D Opens New Headquarters

B&D Sales and Service held a ribbon-cutting event for its new location in Cranston, Rhode Island.

Model Wearing Eat Cake Collection
CollectionsApr 16, 2024
Akaila Reid Launches ‘Eat Cake’ Collection

It’s ultra-feminine and filled with gold, pearls, and soft pastels.

Emily Highet Morgan, Emily Bennett
MajorsApr 16, 2024
Loudr Adds 2 Directors

Emily Highet Morgan and Emily Bennett have joined the agency’s team.

Stuller catalogs
MajorsApr 16, 2024
Stuller Releases First Lab-Grown Diamond Jewelry Catalog

Its updated book for mountings is also now available.

Headshot of Karen Rentmeesters
SourcingApr 16, 2024
Karen Rentmeesters Takes Over as Interim CEO of AWDC

She has been with the organization since 2010, most recently serving as its chief officer of PR and industry relations.

Joyce’s Jewelry
TechnologyApr 15, 2024
Judge Rules Jeweler’s Lawsuit Against PNC Bank Can Move Forward

Joyce’s Jewelry sued the bank after cybercriminals drained its accounts of nearly $1.6 million through a series of wire transfers.

Alfred W. DeScenza
IndependentsApr 15, 2024
Alfred W. DeScenza of DeScenza Diamonds Dies at 95

He is remembered by loved ones for his loyalty, integrity, and kindness.

Madeleine K. Albright
AuctionsApr 15, 2024
Madeleine K. Albright Jewelry, Pins Coming to Auction

Hosted by Freeman’s | Hindman, the sale will take place May 7-8.

Audemars Piguet circa 1985 emerald car watch
AuctionsApr 15, 2024
All of Sotheby’s ‘Rough Diamonds’ Sold in Less Than an Hour

The auction house said all 24 timepieces offered in its underground sale of rare and avant-garde watches quickly found buyers.

AGS Conclave 2024 logo Austin
Events & AwardsApr 15, 2024
10 Can’t-Miss Sessions at AGS Conclave 2024

From lab-grown diamonds and AI to the inevitable Taylor Swift mention, here are some of Conclave’s most intriguing educational offerings.

×

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