Operations

Limousine Cost Lower Than Other Wedding Expenses

Posted on June 1, 2005 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

NEW YORK CITY – A recently published survey entitled "American Weddings," conducted by The Fairchild Bridal Group reveals that the total amount spent on weddings has increased $5 billion to a total of $125 billion since 2002. There has also been a 13% decrease in the number of brides' parents paying for the entire wedding and a 100% increase in the amount of money couples spend on wedding photography and videography. And over the past 15 years, the average cost of a wedding has grown 73% to $26,327.

The Fairchild Bridal Group, publishers of Brides, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride magazines, conducted the survey through 1,131 brides. The study found that in 2005 one out of every 62 Americans will get married. There will be 2.1 million weddings, or 40,400 weddings every weekend, 18 million bridesmaids and groomsmen and 295 million wedding guests.

In 2005, only 25% of all brides' parents will pay for the entire wedding as was once customary, a remarkable 13% drop since 1999. Instead, 27% of brides and grooms will pay for their wedding themselves and 16% of couples will foot the bill with the help of both sets of parents. In sync with increasing costs, couples continue to be overwhelmed, as 45% spend more than they had planned on their big day.

Here are the top growth categories in wedding details that have accelerated the most since 1999:

.....................1999....2005....% Change

Engagement Ring$2,982$4,146 39%

Photos/Videos1,2632,570103

Wedding Rings1,0601,651 56

Music 7451,250 68

Rehearsal Dinner 7621,153 51

Flowers 7751,121 45

Limousine/Transp. 427 586 37

Attendant’s Gifts 299 550 84

Daniel Lagani, vice president and publisher of The Fairchild Bridal Group, sees the changing dynamic of the American wedding as being a direct reflection of today's marketplace. "The bridal industry is now a life stage that encompasses fashion, travel, home furnishings and more. Engaged couples are active consumers who are building brand loyalty that will last for years to come," Lagani said.

The growing popularity of the “destination wedding” has changed the face of the American wedding. Nine percent of all couples have a destination wedding – a 200% increase in the last 10 years. Couples who have destination weddings spend an average of 41% less on their reception than those who have the average wedding. Some key differences between couples that choose a destination wedding over the basic ceremony/reception are a higher combined household income by over $10,000 and a smaller wedding party by an average of four fewer attendants.

The wedding celebration's price tag and further travel distances aren't the only things to have increased over the years – elongated engagements are now the norm. The average altar-bound woman is now 27 years old, her fiancée is 29, and they will be engaged an average time span of 17 months, a half year longer than the 11 month average engagement in 1990. The winter holidays still dominate as the time of year to get engaged, particularly December. In fact, December has as many engagements as November and January combined. By contrast, the month of April is the least likely time to get engaged.

Despite cost increases and a significant delay in taking the plunge, expect the “echo boom," children of the Baby Boomers who make up 71 million men and women born between 1979 and 2002, to emerge. They are the next big generation to move into "engagement zone," as the oldest in the group reach the marriage age of 27 in 2006.

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