2022 is set to be one of the biggest wedding years ever. To paint a clear picture of what we can expect at weddings this year, Zola surveyed 3,309 couples to figure out priorities, feelings, budgets, themes, values, and just what will make these weddings different than ever before. One major finding: 2022 weddings are personal, and they should be! Couples are really leaning into the whole “it’s your day” thing—and we’re thrilled to see it. Let’s dive in.
First thing’s first: couples getting married in 2022 have been engaged on average 18 months. This is a huge shift from the average engagement length of 12 months prior to the pandemic. Most of these couples got engaged in December 2020 and hit the ground running with their wedding planning in January 2021. They made it through a pandemic together! And, surprisingly only 17% of 2022 weddings are postponements, so the vast majority of these couples (83%) purposefully spent extra time curating everything from their invite list to the invites themselves to the color scheme and vendors hired.
What’s more: 25% of couples also let us know that they’re sharing the wedding planning responsibilities evenly with their partners. As it should be if you ask us, and that’s a trend that we hope continues to grow! 🥰
The other events couples are throwing:
After all of this time spent planning, couples have some feelings on who should join their reception conga lines, and honestly, we’re here for it. There’s nothing worse than getting back an RSVP card with a handwritten “+4 please! 😊.” Invite lists are getting longer again, with 2/3 of couples inviting 100+ guests. But, they’re not reverting back to exactly the way they were. Not only did the pandemic impact the way we love and wedding plan, but it amplified a desire for togetherness. It drove many of us closer together. We see this clearly reflected in wedding guest trends for the coming year.
The full invite count breakdown for 2022:
Guest lists may also be growing again because when it comes to kids and +1s, couples are being generous, too.
That said, though, couples are still being intentional with their guest lists, reflecting on all relationships: 23% of couples are uninviting guests to their wedding, with four big reasons why:
With a longer-than-usual engagement period combined with more time at home, there are plenty of opportunities to rethink and reprioritize wedding plans, and many couples are happy to stretch their budgets if it means wearing their dream attire, decorating with the lushest flowers (seasonal or not), or dancing to the most memorable DJ. 69% of couples are spending more $$$ than they originally budgeted for two main reasons.
It’s no wonder couples are a bit lost when it comes to budget planning. After all, most articles say the average cost is $30K for a wedding in NYC or Des Moines. We found that 27% of 2022 Zola couples have budgeted $10,000 - $20,000 and 31% have budgeted $20k-$40k, but otherwise, budgets are really stratified—from <$10K to >$100K.
“Average” wedding costs are anything but average. When all unique wedding planning variables are considered—think location, seasonality, even personal vibe, plus current setbacks such as supply chain issues driven by the pandemic —the truth is that a dream wedding can happen for any amount of money.
Here's the full breakdown of spend from our survey:
Yes, going over budget is scary, but hear us out. If you do your research, talk to vendors and other couples in your area, and make a list of priorities before you even start your planning, you’re much less likely to overdo it. It’s so important to start with a clear picture of what makes sense for your wedding goals and your area before you start writing any checks.
In 2022, ⅓ of couples are covering all of their wedding costs on their own, and another 41% of couples are paying in part. So, it’s a really big deal for these couples to be deciding to splurge, especially as many were also financially impacted by the pandemic and a wedding is not the only major expense on their plate.
Here’s what couples are most willing to splurge on:
And here are the other post-wedding priorities they’re focused on financially:
56% of couples also said they’re intentionally speaking with their wallets when it comes to choosing vendors. Many view their weddings as an opportunity to support small businesses in their local area, as well as an opportunity to highlight vendors who align with their own values.
These weddings are going to be specific—really specific. Let’s take wedding colors, for example. Yes, moody earth tones are in for 2022, but we’re not just talking “brown” and “green” here. When given the option of every color in the rainbow on our survey, 31% of couples wrote in to tell us exactly which shade they’re going with. We said “red” and they said “burgundy,” “maroon,” “sangria,'' “wine,” “oxblood,” “cabernet,” “chianti” … you get it.
So, the Top 2022 Wedding Colors are:
And it doesn’t stop there. 36% of couples are opting for a personal wedding theme—and they know exactly what they want and are letting their personalities shine through. We’re talking everything from “light Jurassic Park theme” to “witchy meets European countryside” and “night out in Brooklyn” to “classy Carnival.”
It wouldn’t be a 2022 wedding survey without some mention of how tech is playing a role in these ceremonies. 26% of 2022 couples met on dating apps, so these weddings truly wouldn’t even be possible without the wonders of modern technology! But, couples are divided on how to incorporate tech to balance between sharing their dream day and making sure everyone stays present to enjoy it.
Couples are connecting with vendors, sending digital save the dates, ordering invitations, and shopping for their registries online more now than ever before, and they’re constantly looking for new ways to automate the planning process. All of the new innovation in the world of wedding technology is only making wedding planning easier and more fun, giving couples more time to focus on what matters most—being in love!
If 2022 weddings are more unique and more personal, what does that mean for traditions? Because 2022 weddings are such a personal reflection, couples are pretty divided on the value of the traditional American wedding customs*.
We found that couples are cherry-picking one or two traditions that they like—and finding new traditions to replace the ones they’re leaving behind. Plus, 43% are incorporating at least one or a few meaningful cultural traditions. That’s everything from chuppahs to Chinese tea ceremonies to Celtic handfasting.
In fact, 20% of couples are hosting multipart celebrations and 28% of those couples are doing so just for cultural or tradition-based reasons. The others are splitting their ceremonies up for COVID safety (21%) or for financial reasons (12%).
It’s also worth mentioning that ⅓ of couples say they feel some level of pressure to incorporate traditions by their family, friends, partner, or culture/society in general. Hey, for a lot of couples, wedding planning comes with a bit of outside influence—it’s totally normal.
Want to see all the data? Contact email@example.com for a full breakdown and for any other media inquiries.