90% of guests will spend more to attend a wedding

Wedding market trends

Wedding season is in full effect, and couples are now more comfortable filling their guest lists with all their loved ones again. The Knot — a leading all-in-one wedding planning destination — released results of the 2021 Guest Optimism Study, revealing 90% of guests planning to attend upcoming nuptials are willing to spend more to attend an upcoming wedding than they normally would.

The study finds half of guests say they are likely to splurge on a gift for the couple (50%), their own outfit and/or accessories (46%), and/or going out to dinner/drinks before or after the wedding (43%). Furthermore, roughly two-thirds will extend their stay or add a mini-vacation to at least one of the upcoming weddings they are attending.

“We are seeing a positive shift in the mindset of attending events, as couples and guests are making up for lost time after over a year spent isolating from loved ones,” said Kristen Maxwell Cooper, Editor in Chief of The Knot. “Positivity and readiness are clear in the overall sentiment around the upcoming wedding season, as guests note they are excited to party and let loose. Couples and guests are ready to make memories again—sparing no expense along the way, as many guests note they plan to extend destination wedding celebrations into mini-vacations, and spend more on gifts and attire for the special occasion.”

As wedding invitations circulate, guests continue to find importance in receiving health and safety information prior to making a RSVP decision, but less so than last year (56% vs. 72%). Guests are looking forward to catching up with friends and family, though nearly 75% of younger guests feel “rusty” when it comes to interacting in social settings due to Covid-19 (+12% more than guests aged 35+).

Attending nuptials near and far, 73% of guests will attend the upcoming wedding in the state they live, and the majority will travel by personal car (71%). Of note, younger wedding guests (Gen Z and young Millennials) are more likely to be traveling further and venturing out for the event, with one-third reportedly attending a wedding out of state or country, and one in five traveling by plane.

Clear communication on event details is a priority for couples and guests alike, with 63% of guests stating that the couple shared health and safety details prior to their wedding, most commonly where the event will be held (indoor versus outdoor), the number of guests attending, and health and safety protocols required (i.e. by hotel, venue, etc.).

After a year when wedding postponements and change-the-dates were the norm, this year’s wedding season is the most anticipated to date. Guests indicate they are most looking forward to seeing friends and family (65%), food and drink options (53%), getting dressed up (51%), dancing (40%) and letting loose after this past year (37%). While nearly one in three guests note they have mixed feelings—both nervous and excited—about attending weddings again, the overall sentiment is incredibly positive, with 54% of guests noting they are “super excited” and 46% saying they “can’t wait to party with friends and family again.” These sentiments are indicative of a strong comeback for in-person wedding celebrations that feel reminiscent of pre-pandemic nuptials.

Methodology: The Knot’s 2021 Guest Optimism Study, 500+ general population who are attending at least one wedding in the remainder of 2021.

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