Fewer, smaller US weddings – But not all is glum

Global Business

Fewer, smaller US weddings - But not all is glum

Most people love a good wedding, but if you’re in the United States, you may have been getting invited to fewer recently.

If so, don’t worry, it’s not your fault. Fewer of us are getting those invitations these days. That’s according to figures from research firm, Ibis World, which claims that the number of overall weddings has been dropping for more than 20 years.

CGTN’s Phil Lavelle reports.

According to its numbers, in 1995, nine people out of every 1000 got married. Now, it’s seven. And by 2023, it’ll have fallen to six. 

Expert aren’t surprised. Wedding planner, Belinda Lui runs LA-based ’Bookt Events’. She lives and breathes marriage:

“I think the reason why is that people want to make something of themselves. They’re following their careers, wanting do something else before and carve out their own individuality before settling down”, she tells CGTN, adding, “I don’t really think there’s a huge urgency to get married nowadays.”

Those Americans that are getting married are inviting fewer of us along to watch. Marriage website, ‘The Knot’ says the average number of guests last year was 141. That’s down from 149 in 2009.

Many couples are now choosing to dedicate their cash to other aspects instead: 

“I had this one bride who didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the wedding and yet she spent $20,000 on her wedding dress. And the entire wedding guest list was about 70 guests and it wasn’t this huge lavish wedding but she had this huge dress.. and I was just like “you do you!”, Belinda adds.

“So, I think it depends on the couples’ priorities – they are redistributing their money but I have seen also smaller budgets as well.”

Kat and Brian are getting married in November, and agonized over their own guest list:

“It was a struggle because we have different networks and groups of people and friends and it was important to me to include as many people as possible but we had to compromised and come to a nice round number”, Brian tells CGTN.

And, echoing Belinda, they’re spending more on other aspects instead. Kat tells us: “Flowers is one big spending area. The dress was not as important to me. I know some brides like to spend a lot on the dress, but I think it was flowers, entertainment, making sure that our guests had a good time.”

Economics professor, Kaycea Campbell, of Pierce College in LA, points out that there are other aspects of the wedding industry that are doing incredibly well. Although fewer Americans are getting married, many from abroad still make the U.S. their destination for saying “I do”.

“The top destination, if you couldn’t guess, is Las Vegas,” she tells us. “And that’s followed by Hawaii. And maybe some Caribbean islands, with estimates putting this amount in the billions of dollars associated with marriage here. A lot of foreigners think of these destinations as places to get married, Which means it’s a huge moneymaker for the United States.”

But asked if this is all a sign of the marriage industry shrinking, Belinda is confident: “I think it’s evolving. I think it’s changing. I think the wedding industry is robust enough to be able to handle and whether this.”