Wedding Day Fashion Spends Rise as Popularity of the Strapless Dress Declines and To-Be-Weds Search for Their Ideal Wedding Day Look Even Before Getting Engaged, According to The Knot 2018 Wedding Attire Study

Majority of Brides Purchase Their Gowns at a Local Bridal Salon, Citing the Helpfulness of a Bridal Consultant as the Most Important Consideration in Finding the Perfect Place to Shop

Hot Off the Runway: The Knot Launches Its Digital Wedding Fashion Quiz, Empowering Couples to Uncover Fashion That’s a Perfect Fit and Connecting Them With Local Pros to Pull Their Look Together

NEW YORK--()--Just in time for Spring 2020 Bridal Fashion Week, the time of year when the newest bridal designs hit runways, The Knot releases its findings from The Knot 2018 Wedding Attire Study, the most comprehensive study of wedding fashion and attire in America. The Knot 2018 Wedding Attire Study reveals to-be-weds are more invested than ever before in their wedding looks, with gown-wearing to-be-weds spending $1,750 (including alterations) on their gowns, up 31% from 2011, while suit or tuxedo-wearing to-be-weds spend $267, up 36% since 2011. Today’s couples are making wedding day fashion choices reflective of their unique personalities and style; from incorporating pops of color to giving a nod to cultural heritage with details or even a second look, they’re ensuring their wedding attire truly showcases their personal style and who they are.

The search for wedding fashion inspiration often begins before couples get engaged, with one in three (37%) to-be-weds reporting they started their fashion research before they proposed or said “yes.” More than 8 in 10 couples (84%) report relying on digital tools like apps, including The Knot Wedding Planner app, to find inspiration for their wedding day looks. The majority of to-be-weds (84%) report being unsure of what they want to wear on their wedding day when they begin their fashion research. To empower and inspire to-be-weds, The Knot launched The Knot Fashion Quiz, the first-of-its-kind questionnaire to help couples find an abundance of inspiration through image-based technology. After taking the quiz, couples receive attire recommendations reflecting their unique style, along with descriptors to help them articulate their wedding day style vision. The results also include local bridal salon recommendations to find those unique styles, with the ability to share the vision directly with a salon owner through email.

Fashion is a method of self-expression, and wedding fashion is no exception, as couples want to find a wedding day look that’s uniquely them,” says Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor in chief of The Knot. “The search to find wedding day attire can be emotional and sometimes overwhelming, but with the help of family and friends, bridal salon consultants and even inspirational images, couples are opting for attire that feels authentic to who they are, reflecting their unique styles and personalities on their wedding day.”


  • Average Wedding Gown Spend: $1,750
  • Average Bridal Accessory Spend: $560
  • Average Groom Attire Spend: $267
  • Percentage of Brides Who Purchased a Custom, Special Order or Custom Made-From-Scratch Wedding Gown: 25%
  • Brides Purchasing Gowns In-Store: 89%
  • Brides Purchasing Gowns Online: 7%
  • Average Bridesmaids Dress Spend: $143
  • Average Groomsmen Attire Spend: $193

Key Findings From The Knot 2018 Wedding Attire Study

TO-BE-WEDS TURN TO TECH FOR WEDDING STYLE INSPIRATION. The search for wedding fashion starts online, with 94% of to-be-weds using their smartphones to research looks for their wedding day. Seven in ten (70%) couples also rely on social media platforms to gather inspiration and ideas for their wedding, including their fashion choices. Apps (84%) like The Knot Wedding Planner app are among the most popular digital tools used to find wedding attire inspiration. Beginning bridal fashion research 11.2 months on average before their wedding day (up from 10.2 months in 2011), the majority of brides (86%) report going into their search “with an open mind.” After couples have researched wedding attire inspiration, they purchase their attire, on average, 2.8 months later.

MAJORITY OF TO-BE-WEDS PURCHASE THEIR GOWN AT A LOCAL BRIDAL SALON AND THE IN-STORE EXPERIENCE PLAYS A LARGE ROLE IN THEIR PURCHASE. The in-store experience remains an important and valuable part of the wedding process, with the majority of couples (95%) reporting they visit stores in-person before purchasing their attire. The majority of brides (88%) continue to make their final purchase in-store, with 69% purchasing from a local bridal salon. Largely, to-be-weds (76%) report having a “wedding day attire shopping experience” as being an important part of their journey, especially for those who want their friends and family members’ opinions on their fashion choices (68%). While the majority of to-be-weds research wedding fashion before going shopping, only 16% go into their shopping experience knowing exactly what style they want. Having an in-store experience with industry professionals is extremely helpful for narrowing down options. In fact, nine in ten (93%) brides report the helpfulness of a bridal consultant during an in-store experience is the top consideration as they’re choosing which retailer to purchase their wedding attire from. Other top considerations when selecting a retailer include store atmosphere (88%), ease of getting an appointment (86%), reviews (84%), and variety of styles and designers (83%). Brides visit an average of 2.5 local bridal salons when searching for their wedding attire, typically booking appointments about 9.2 months prior to the wedding. Brides are searching far and wide for their perfect wedding looks, with 15% traveling 100 miles or more from home to purchase their attire.

The wedding dress shopping experience can be fun and exciting, but it can also be intimidating. It’s why I’ve made a career out of helping people find wedding gowns,” says Carrie Yeo, owner of Mariée Bridal in Scottsdale, Arizona. “There’s nothing more rewarding than helping a bride-to-be find a dress perfect for her as she prepares for her wedding day. Many of our brides arrive with no idea where to start, and that’s why our team of stylists are on hand. Day-in and day-out we see all bodies, shapes and sizes, and we provide our expert feedback to help brides explore style options that have them looking great while feeling confident and beautiful.”

FIT-AND-FLARE SILHOUETTE AND LACE FABRIC REIGN AS THE MOST POPULAR, WHILE STRAPLESS DRESSES ARE ON THE DECLINE. While the runways are seeing more and more unique bridal jumpsuits, extravagant textures and materials, and varying lengths, nearly all brides (97%) continue to wear floor-length gowns with fit-and-flare silhouettes as the most popular style (35%, up from 29% in 2011). Other popular silhouettes include A-line (29%, down from 43% in 2011) and ball gowns (16%). Lace continues to be the most popular fabric choice for brides, with one in three (35%) choosing it as their primary fabric (up from 25% in 2011), followed by tulle (15%), chiffon (9%) and satin (9%). Two in three (67%) gown-wearing to-be-weds report preferring dresses with straps, as strapless dresses (33%) decline in popularity (down from 73% in 2011).

TO-BE-WEDS ARE MAKING TRADITION THROUGH FASHION, SOME WITH MULTIPLE LOOKS. Wedding fashion allows couples to showcase their style and personality, as well as pay homage to cultural heritage as they celebrate the joining of two families. While some nonconventional couples may opt for jumpsuits and sneakers or custom suits, others honor family heritage by wearing a traditional Indian sari or a Scottish tartan kilt. More than one in ten (11%) brides report having multiple looks on their wedding day. Beyond fashion for the wedding day, couples are saying “I do” to curated looks for other wedding celebrations, including rehearsal dinners, engagement parties, showers and more; 76% of brides and 37% of grooms report buying additional outfits to wear throughout their wedding celebrations.

SMALL ACCESSORIES ARE HAVING A BIG MOMENT. To-be-weds are all about the details, especially when it comes to fashion. Brides (84%) and grooms (96%) are both putting unique touches on their wedding day looks by accessorizing, with brides spending $560 on average for their accessories. The most popular accessories brides are investing in include shoes (76%), veil (65%), jewelry (56%) and specialty lingerie (46%). Grooms are loving details that enhance their overall ensemble, with the most popular accessories being ties (63%), pocket squares (42%), colorful socks (34%), bow ties (29%) and suspenders (15%).

POPS OF COLOR BEYOND “SOMETHING BLUE.” While nearly two in three to-be-weds (64%) report upholding the long-standing tradition of wearing “something blue,” we’re seeing creative and colorful twists on tradition as couples make a statement through incorporating bold colors into their look in a multitude of ways. The majority of brides (73%) report incorporating colorful elements into their attire or accessories, most commonly through their choice of shoes (39%) and jewelry (39%). Up 100% since 2015, in 2018, 6% of brides opted to wear colorful (think pink, red, blue, black, etc.) wedding attire in place of more conventional shades of white (59% ivory, 13% soft white, 9% pure/stark white, 7% champagne).

GROOMS ARE GOING CASUAL AND FINDING MORE WAYS TO PERSONALIZE THEIR LOOK. Just as casual wedding vibes continue to trend in popularity, grooms are also opting for a more casual look for their celebration. More than half of grooms (52%, up from 24% in 2011) wear a suit on their wedding day, spending an average of $267 on their attire. And groomsmen are following suit, with half (50%) also wearing a suit, while one in three (30%) don a tuxedo and one in ten (12%) rock a casual shirt and pants (up from 7% in 2011). The majority of grooms (83%) rely on national (69%) and local (25%) brick-and-mortar stores for purchasing (50%) or renting (45%) attire for their big day. And while only one in ten (9%) brides share their wedding day look with their partner before walking down the aisle, the majority of couples (85%) pick out the groom’s attire together.

WEDDING ATTENDANTS INCREASINGLY INVOLVED IN FINALIZING FASHION. While all eyes are on the couple, wedding party attire is another big fashion choice for to-be-weds. Nearly all bridesmaids (98%) purchase their attire, spending $143 on average. Groomsmen, on the other hand, largely opt to rent their wedding day attire (57%). The majority of brides (82%) encourage their wedding attendants to give honest feedback and input regarding preferred fashion choices, and more than half (58%) of brides in 2018 report letting their attendants choose their own attire. Seventy percent of brides report taking a special shopping trip to search for bridesmaid fashions with their wedding party, visiting on average 1.5 stores about 5.8 months prior to the wedding. Bridesmaid fashion continues to evolve and reflect personal styles, with nearly half (43%) of bridesmaids in 2018 reporting wearing different styles of gowns in the same color. The most popular color palettes for bridesmaid gowns in 2018 included burgundy/wine (16%), navy/dark blue (16%), blush (14%) and light blue (10%).

This Bridal Fashion Week, The Knot is also connecting designers with retailers at The Knot Couture Show, the largest biannual bridal fashion trade show during New York Bridal Fashion Week. From April 14 to 16 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., bridal brands will exhibit at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, NYC. Designers showing at the Metropolitan Pavilion include Watters, Casablanca, Jasmine, Justin Alexander, Allure, KittyChen Couture and more. The Knot will also host the first-ever runway show for brides—The Knot Front Row to Fashion by Justin Alexander—allowing front row access to live inspiration right from the runway.

About The Knot

The Knot is the nation’s leading multiplatform wedding resource offering a seamless, all-in-one planning experience—from finding inspiration and local vendors to creating and managing all guest experiences, wedding registries and more. The trusted brand reaches a majority of engaged couples in the US through the #1 wedding planning website and #1 iOS and Android mobile app The Knot Wedding Planner, The Knot national and local wedding magazines, and The Knot book series. Since its inception, The Knot has inspired approximately 25 million couples to plan a wedding that’s uniquely them. Visit The Knot online at and follow on social media: and @TheKnot on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.


Melissa Bach
Senior Director, Public Relations & Brand Marketing

Release Summary

Majority of Brides Purchase Gowns at Local Bridal Salons, Citing Helpfulness of a Bridal Consultant as Most Important Consideration When Shopping


Melissa Bach
Senior Director, Public Relations & Brand Marketing