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Wedding Facts & Trends
The magical aura of a wedding first forms in young girl's mind and is carried in her dreams till that wonderful day when two become one, or so the story goes.
The wedding is one of society's most valued traditions, a custom honored worldwide. The importance of the wedding in American culture is reflected in the thought, time, money, planning and anguish that go into the activities that precede the typical wedding and the statistics that tell the story.
About two-thirds of wedding cards are hand delivered.
Most (about 75 percent) first-time brides will receive a diamond engagement ring (67 percent of repeat brides).
A third of men's wedding rings have diamonds.
Most (85 percent) weddings are held in a church or synagogue.
More than half of all weddings take place in the afternoon.
Hawaii is the favorite honeymoon destination.
Most wedding cards are from friends. (Brides 18 to 39 receive 85 percent of all wedding cards.)
Weddings by the Numbers
An average of 189 guests attends a wedding.
The average cost of a wedding is $20,000 to $25,000.
48 percent of Hallmark wedding cards are sold during summer months (May through August).
Weddings are a $25.3 billion industry.
For the past 20 years, 2.25 million to 2.40 million weddings take place each year in the United States, a third of them remarriages.
Most brides (30 percent) plan their weddings for 7 to 12 months.
Three Styles Reflect Today's Brides
"Traditional independent bride" financially independent, plans her own wedding, often with the help of the groom; blends tradition with her own style.
"Traditional princess bride" a young woman with parents active in the planning and financing of a once-in-a-lifetime, fairy-tale wedding.
"Nontraditional independent brides" typically marries later or was married before; plans a small, nontraditional wedding.
June and August
While June typically has been regarded as the month for weddings, more weddings have been in August in the past decade than in June, including the past three years.
August is the top month for weddings (10.2 percent) and June is second (9.9 percent).
Today's Bride Worries About...
Party not being fun 40 percent (most expensive element of the wedding)
Exceeding budget 66 percent (most willing to go over budget on photography)
Forgetting a crucial detail 50 percent
Guests not showing up 25 percent
Today's Bride Is Older and Wiser
The average age of the first-time groom is 26.8 and 37+ for the remarrying groom.
Four out of five brides are employed.
Money is the most-desired wedding gift.
The average engagement is 16 months (up from 11 months in 1990) and the average ring costs $2,000.
The average first-time bride was 22 in 1980, 25 in 1990, and 25.1 today.
The average age of remarrying brides was 32 in 1980, 35 in 1990, and 34 in 2000.
Wedding Traditions Evolving
Among all categories, interest is growing in reconnecting to family and seeing occasions such as weddings as an opportunity to bring generations together.
About 15 percent of weddings include ethnic customs.
Destination weddings (family and friends travel to exotic locations) tripled between 1997 and 1999 from 3 to 11 percent.
Increasingly, bride, groom and parents share in wedding expenses.
With brides and grooms emerging from blended and stepfamilies, the wedding can become a tradition and communication challenge. (For example, who walks the bride down the aisle? Where do step-parents and former in-laws sit?)
Wedding ceremonies in unusual venues museums, zoos, gardens, etc.
More platinum rings.
Black-and-white photojournalism-style pictures.
Wedding consultants to direct the event.
Longer, more elaborate, exotic honeymoons.
Professionally-produced videos to be played at receptions.
Focus on guests having fun: novel floral arrangements; more elegant foods, wines, cakes; focus on detail parking, favors, maps, etc.
Till When Do Us Part
About 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.
Half of all adults in the United States are married.
More than 4.2 million unmarried couples live together.
59 percent of brides under 18 are separated or divorced within 15 years.
Wedding Cards Are Kept
Most brides keep their wedding cards and especially treasure those that have handwritten personal messages inside.
Tailored cards can be appropriate for weddings of business associates.
Hallmark wedding cards help friends and family of the bride and groom congratulate them at the time of their engagement, shower and wedding with inspiring and joyful wishes for happiness.
Hallmark's wedding collection includes cards expressing thanks to wedding party, parents, musicians and clergy; to daughter on her wedding day; to bride from groom; to best friend, etc.
Humorous wedding cards are popular, especially for showers and single friends before the wedding; often followed by a more serious or heartfelt card at the time of the wedding.
Hallmark offers wedding cards appropriate for second marriages and nontraditional couples.
Hallmark Warm Wishes 99-cent cards celebrate an engagement or bridal shower, or share wedding congratulations with a casual friend, neighbor or other acquaintance.
African-American, Jewish and Hispanic consumers have a choice of wedding cards from Mahogany, Tree of Life and Sinceramente Hallmark brands, which feature art, icons and messages that reflect cultural traditions.
Hallmark's hip and trendy Fresh Ink card line is especially popular for friends to give to friends, between bride and groom, and for engagement congratulations.
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