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5 Ways Couples are Spending Big on Luxury Weddings

We get a lot of questions about the best ways to break into the luxury wedding market (that is, couples who are spending $60K+ or more on their weddings). That’s why we made it our business to learn all about how big budget couples are planning their weddings with a very special survey — our Luxury Real Weddings Study. The results from our 2016 study just rolled in and there’s a lot of juicy insights we couldn’t wait to share. Here, 5 ways couples are spending big on luxury weddings.

Photo: Whiskers & Willow Photography

1. They often avoid DIY elements.

no DIY.jpg

Photo: Chelsea Nicole Photography

Higher spending couples prefer to leave everything to the professionals. On average, they’re hiring 11 pros to pull off their weddings (compared to 8 in the average budget wedding). They’re trusting and investing in more professionals to give them the custom wedding of their dreams.

Take note: Although spend and popularity in wedding pro services are up all around, there are a few standout categories that are making big gains. Luxury couples are far more likely to hire a wedding planner (54%) and send out professionally designed save-the-dates (79%). So if you’re a planner or designer, make sure you’re prepped to offer luxury packages to potential clients.

2. They don’t compromise on the date or location.

fall wedding

Photo: Erin Costa Photography

Luxury couples put a lot of dollars into getting their most ideal date and location for their wedding. In fact, almost 80% of them get married on a Saturday, making it the most popular day of the week for weddings by far. Think about the law of supply and demand. The more couples who want a Saturday wedding, the more they’ll be willing to spend to get that date. Add to that, over 80% of luxury couples reported that at least half of their guests needed overnight accommodations, which often lands on the couple’s tab.

Take note: September is the most popular month for big budget couples to get married. So you can count on them looking to book fall Saturdays far in advance. Don’t be afraid to make the most of the demand and match your prices accordingly for specific in-season dates.

3. They tend to prefer bigger bridal parties.

bridal party.jpg

Photo: Kairos Photography + Cinematography 

Get this: The average wedding party for a luxury wedding has 12 people total. And that means extra costs for the couples. Items to budget for when it comes to the bridal party? Attendant gifts (89% buy for bridesmaids, 86% buy for groomsmen) and hair & makeup on the day of. In fact, over 60% of brides contribute to the bridal party’s hair styling and 55% pitch in to help cover the cost of day-of makeup.

Take note: With the average bridesmaid dress costing over $200 (up from $141 in 2013) and the average groomsmen ensemble coming in at $199 (up from $162), luxury couples are even asking their bridal parties to shell out extra cash. 

4. They make the wedding last.

after party.jpg

Photo: CLB Photography

You can’t stop the party. Luxury couples are putting serious funds into hosting multiple events surrounding their wedding. Think: bridal showers, bachelor parties and day-after brunches. The average number of events per luxury wedding? Five. The more events, the more dollars couples will need to invest in their wedding budget.

Take note: The rehearsal dinner is by far the most popular wedding related event. In fact, 94% of luxury weddings have one. But over half of couples host a morning after brunch, too. Looks like there might be a new must-have on the horizon for big spenders. Venues should consider adding an option to include an additional event (after parties are a big request too) to their package choices.

5. They need it to be fun.

fun couple.jpg

Photo: Chelsea Nicole Photography

It should come as no surprise that average dollars spent per guest in the luxury weddings bracket is at an all time high — almost $480 per person. Why? It’s all about the guest experience. With “fun” and “classic” as self-descriptors both up 5 points since 2013, couples want their weddings to feel both timeless and exciting for their guests. And they’re willing to spend more to make their weddings totally Instagram worthy.  

Take note:  Less couples are using the words “vintage” and “creative” to describe their weddings. So if you’re a wedding planner or designer, you can count on big budget couples looking for less artsy elements and more traditional looks.