When it comes to engagement ring preferences, oval-cut diamonds, solitaire settings and yellow precious metals are surging, according to The Knot’s 2023 “Real Weddings Study.”

A comprehensive look into the hearts and minds of more than 9,000 US couples who walked down the aisle last year, the study also covered the timing of proposals, the nitty gritty of wedding planning and how much couples spent along the way.

When asked about their preference of engagement ring center stone, diamonds remained the top choice (85%), while the preference for solitaire mountings increased by 10% compared to 2015, and the use of side-stones/accents decreased by 12% over that same period.

Round is still the most popular shape for a center stone (34%), but that choice is down 15% since 2015. The oval shape (preferred by 23%) and pear (8%) have been trending up over the past eight years.

Yellow gold is making a resurgence. Exactly 31% of The Knot's respondents chose yellow gold, an increase of 15% compared to three years ago. White gold is still the top choice at 39%.

The average total carat weight of an engagement ring is on the rise at 1.6 carats, a phenomenon attributed to popularly priced lab-grown diamonds and moissanite.

The Knot reported that the average length of an engagement was 15 months, during which couples spent an average of seven hours per week planning for their weddings.

December continues to be the most popular month for engagements. Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are the most popular days to pop the question. Couples said the holidays often present an opportune time to make the occasion extra special. Exactly 38% of proposers tied the momentous event to a planned trip, while 20% said they wanted propose when family and friends were around.

Exactly 58% of respondents said they felt some or a lot of pressure to plan a unique proposal. The importance of getting it right led 7 in 10 proposers to start strategizing up to six months in advance.

Once again, October is the most popular month for weddings (17% of all weddings), while September 21, 2024, is expected to be the most coveted date. Other popular 2024 dates (all Saturdays) include May 28, June 22, September 14 and October 12.

The average combined wedding ceremony and reception spend in 2023 was $35,000, up $5,000 compared to 2022.

In 2023, the New York Metro area was the most expensive place to have a ceremony and reception ($63,000), followed by Chicago Metro ($56,000), San Francisco-San Jose-Oakland ($51,000) and Los Angeles Metro ($48,000). The least expensive Metro areas were Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota ($30,000), Sacramento-Modesto ($30,000) and Minneapolis-St. Paul ($30,000).

The Knot reported that the average number of wedding guests in 2023 was 115 (lower than the 2019 average of 131), while the average ceremony/reception spend was $35,000 (significantly higher than 2019's average of $27,000). Cost-per-guest in 2023 stood at $304, compared to $214 in 2019.

These were the average costs of key bridal services in 2023: reception venue ($12,800), photographer ($2,900), florist ($2,800), wedding dress ($2,000), groom's attire ($330), reception DJ ($1,700), wedding cake ($540), wedding day hair and makeup ($290), and catering ($85 per person).

The “Real Weddings Study” is based on responses from 9,318 US couples married between January 1 and December 31, 2023. To provide the most comprehensive view of 2023 trends, The Knot also included in this report wedding statistics from ad hoc studies conducted throughout the year.

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