Understanding the Financial and Social Pressures of Wedding Season

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One of our goals is to better understand the relationship people have with money and how it impacts their lives. This includes routine daily decisions that are made, and the ones around some of life’s biggest moments. 

In June, for example, we surveyed more than 1,000 Americans about the topic of wedding season. Why? Weddings can be expensive, whether you’re planning your own, helping to pay for one or simply attending a wedding. 

What do we do with this type of survey data? 

A few things. For one, these responses provide valuable insights in terms of content, tools and products we may be able to create for our customers.

We often share some of these findings with the media as well as in our own blogs because there’s power (and comfort) in knowing there are others who may be faced with similar situations and choices. 

These are some of the survey statistics that stood out to us.

How money factors into paying for a wedding

  • Nearly 1 in 4 (21%) parents who paid for all or some of their child’s wedding went over their original budget. 
  • Nearly 1 in 4 (21%) parents who paid for all or some of their child’s wedding did not set a limit for how much they were willing to pay.  
  • Over a third (35%) of Americans who paid for all or part of a wedding in the past 5 years went into credit card debt to cover the cost.
  • 75% of Americans who planned a wedding in the past five years had a budget in mind when planning the wedding and 60% of Americans surveyed underestimated the cost of the wedding. 

The financial commitment for wedding attendees

  • One third of Americans (33%) spent $1,000 or more on weddings or wedding related activities in the past 5 years. 
  • Nearly a third of Americans (30%) agree they spent too much money attending weddings or wedding related activities in the past 5 years. 

How people wedding attendees pay their way

  • Over 1 in 4 Americans (29%) had to carry a balance on a credit card to cover the expense of attending a wedding or wedding related activity. 
  • 44% of Americans had to dip into their savings to cover the expense of attending a wedding.

The pressures of attending wedding related events

  • Nearly half of Americans (47%) feel pressured to attend a bachelor/bachelorette party if they are invited. 
  • Half of Americans (50%) would feel pressure to attend a bachelor/bachelorette party even if it put them into debt. 

The financial pressures of getting engaged

  • Over half of Americans (58%) who have or are planning to propose feel pressure to buy an expensive engagement ring. 
  • Almost 3 out of 4 Americans (72%) who have or are planning to propose would have proposed sooner if they did not feel pressure to buy an expensive engagement ring. 
  • Almost half of Americans (48%) who have or are planning to propose have gone or anticipate going into credit card debt to cover the cost of an engagement ring.

The preferred wedding gift? Cash.

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, over half of Americans (51%) who have been or currently are married would have preferred to receive cash or a cash equivalent as a wedding gift compared to gifts from their registry (23%) or a vacation or trip (15%).

When weddings are not in the budget

  • According to a recent survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, over 1 in 10 Americans (11%) has declined a wedding invitation in the past 5 years because they could not afford to attend.

The “Summer Spending Wedding” Survey was conducted by Marcus by Goldman Sachs® in June 2019 among 1,501 Americans.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.

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