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What To Get The Couple That Has Everything? Experiences Now Top Wedding Gift Lists

As this summer has progressed and socialization norms have returned, so too have the perennial collections of wedding photos across social media — and with that, the resumption of scrolling through registries to determine what gift to bestow upon the bride and groom.

But after months of watching the world from the comfort of their couches, couples are looking for more than just a china set, KitchenAid mixer or new vacuum — they want to socialize, travel and celebrate with loved ones, according to Jeremy Liebowitz, executive vice president of eCommerce at The Knot.

“Today’s couples are thinking outside the box when it comes to the gifts they’re including on their wedding registries, whether a couple wants to include fun adventures for their honeymoon or local activities they can do together after their nuptials,” he told PYMNTS.

To meet this need, The Knot recently added over 600 new experiences across 29 U.S. states to its registry store, including sunset cruises, Segway tours and classes. Liebowitz said the date night experiences are among the most popular offerings, especially in Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago.

“Launching Experiences on The Knot Registry is another way we continue to innovate on our mission to provide the best possible wedding planning experience for couples,” Liebowitz said.

Love Is in the Air 

Compared to 2019, The Knot has seen 30 percent more wedding websites, 20 percent more couples creating registries and a 15 percent increase in couples contacting local vendors.

Liebowitz said The Knot also saw seven times more invitations purchased in June compared to March, “which signals a strong acceleration into wedding season this year and in 2022 as well.”

“The wedding boom is just getting started, and we expect it to be a busy late summer, fall and 2022,” he told PYMNTS.

According to industry research firm the Wedding Report, one million weddings took place in 2019, nine million weddings will take place in 2021 and 2.5 million weddings will take place in 2022. Still, wedding-related businesses are about 10 percent less booked than in 2018 or 2019, and 15 percent of couples say they are still cutting their budgets by as much as 28 percent.

‘Revenge Spending’

For the 85 percent of couples who aren’t cutting budgets, though, spending is roaring back with a vengeance. Prior to the pandemic, budgets averaged around $17,000, David’s Bridal Chief Marketing and IT Officer Kelly Cook told PYMNTS last month. This year, they’re averaging $27,000 — and in the Northeast, budgets are even higher, reaching into the $30,000 and $40,000 range.

Related news: David’s Bridal Loyalty Program Tops 500K Amidst Rebound In Weddings

“There’s a lot of revenge spending and happiness spending going on, because … the world’s opened back up, so they’re having a little bit more fun with their weddings than they may have in the prior times,” Cook said.

According to an internal survey conducted by wedding planning website Zola, couples are also now getting married much sooner after their engagements compared to the average engagement time in 2019, which was 15 months. “People are so thrilled to be able to get together with their friends and family members,” Emily Forrest, director of communications at Zola, told The Atlantic.

The Delta variant has many still worried about the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic even as vaccinations continue to rise, which could put a damper on weddings scheduled for the coming weeks and months. But PYMNTS has also reported that engagement ring sales are up 20 percent over pre-pandemic levels, suggesting that there’s no stopping love.

See: US Engagement Ring Sales Up 20 Pct Over Pre-Pandemic Rate

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