Average Bridal Couple Spent $5,764 on Engagement Ring in 2017, Reports The Knot

Bridal couples are opting for less-formal wedding receptions, inviting fewer people, but spending more per guest, according to The Knot’s 11th annual “Real Weddings Study.”  They’re also seeking out non-traditional wedding venues and pushing back on time-honored traditions, such as tossing the bouquet.

We also learned that the engagement ring — at $5,764 — remains the second-highest-priced item on the list of wedding expenses, with the reception venue claiming the top spot at $15,163. Interestingly, The Knot also defined a sub-group of “high spenders,” whose wedding expenses exceeded $60,000 in 2017. Of that group, the average price of the engagement ring was $13,933.

The Knot, which surveyed nearly 13,000 U.S. brides and grooms married in 2017, reported that the average total cost of a wedding (excluding the honeymoon) is $33,391, which is down about $2,000 compared to the all-time high tallied in 2016.

“Weddings in 2017 showed us that couples are focused on guests, as we see them pulling out all the stops to create a truly memorable experience for their wedding attendees,” said Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor in chief of The Knot. “Couples are also shifting away from formal affairs to create an experience that’s truly reflective of their personalities, and infusing more unique and unconventional ideas—from their venue and invitations to food, entertainment and more.”

Other key findings from the survey include the following:
• Most Expensive Place to Get Married: Manhattan, $76,944
• Least Expensive Place to Get Married: New Mexico, $17,584
• Average Spent on a Wedding Dress: $1,509
• Average Marrying Age: Bride, 29.2; Groom, 30.9
• Average Number of Guests: 136
• Average Number of Bridesmaids: 5
• Average Number of Groomsmen: 5
• Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)
• Average Length of Engagement: 14 months
• Most Popular Months to Get Married: September (16%), June (15%) and October (14%)
• Popular Wedding Colors: Ivory/Champagne (37%), Dark Blue (32%) and Gold (30%)
• Percentage of Destination Weddings: 25% (compared to 20% in 2016 and 15% in 2015)

The average number of wedding guests in 2017 is down to 136, compared to 149 in 2009, while the cost per wedding guest reached an all-time high at $268 (up from $194 in 2009), according to the survey. Couples are looking to create the ultimate guest experience with photo booths, sparklers, selfie stations, games, musical performances, wine and liquor tastings, magicians and more.

Since 2009, formal/black-tie weddings have decreased from 20% to 16%, and ceremonies hosted in a religious institution have dropped significantly, from 41% in 2009 to 22% in 2017. Meanwhile, outdoor ceremonies accounted for 52% of all weddings in 2017, an increase from 39% in 2009.

As couples look for more unique, unconventional places to host their weddings, farm, barn and ranch reception venues increased from 2% in 2009 to 15% in 2017, and the number of weddings taking place in historic homes rose from 12% in 2009 to 14% in 2017. Banquet halls dropped (from 27% in 2009 to 17% in 2017), as did hotels and resorts (from 18% in 2009 to 12% in 2017) and country clubs (from 13% in 2009 to 10% in 2017). Other nontraditional reception sites on the rise include beach houses, wineries, rooftops, museums and parks.

The Knot also noted that some time-honored wedding reception traditions are seeing a decline, with fewer than half (49%) of brides opting to toss a bouquet (down from 53% in 2016) and only 37% of grooms choosing to toss a garter (down from 41% in 2016). Even the ubiquitous cake-cutting is seeing a bit of a push-back with 85% of couples in 2017 saying that it was part of their ceremony (down from 88% in 2016).

On the other hand, bridal couples said it was still important to infuse their heritage, culture and/or religion into their special day. Twenty-one percent of couples incorporated a traditional cultural element, including a Chinese tea ceremony, Irish bagpipers, Moroccan belly dancers and traditional Hindu ceremonies.

On average, the bride’s parents contributed 45% of the overall wedding budget, the bride and groom contributed 41% and the groom’s parents contributed 13%. (“Others” accounted for the remaining 1%.) In 2017, 10% of couples paid for the wedding entirely by themselves, and 9% of couples didn’t contribute any finances to the wedding expenses. Exactly 45% said that they went over their budgets.

These were the average costs of key bridal services in 2017: reception band ($4,019), photographer ($2,630), florist/décor ($2,379), ceremony site ($2,311), wedding/event planner ($1,988), videographer ($1,912), wedding dress ($1,509), rehearsal dinner ($1,285), reception DJ ($1,231), transportation ($830), ceremony musicians ($761), wedding cake ($540), invitations ($408), groom’s attire and accessories ($286), officiant ($284), favors ($252) and wedding day hair stylist ($119). Catering averaged $70 per person.

The 2017 Real Weddings Study is based on the responses from nearly 13,000 U.S. brides and grooms married between January 1 and December 31, 2017.

Credits: Image by BigStockPhoto.com. Infographics courtesy of The Knot.


United Airlines Pilot Travels 2,500 Miles to Hand-Deliver Lost Bridal Jewelry to Passenger

A United Airlines pilot traveled 2,500 miles to hand-deliver a bridal set to a traveler who had lost her precious cargo while hurrying aboard a flight in New Jersey. Not only did the pilot “go the extra mile” to deliver the jewelry, but he also included a heartwarming personalized note.  

The viral story took an incredible turn when it was later revealed that the traveler was Brit Morin, the founder and CEO of Brit + Co, the lifestyle media company that boasts 130 million users.

On Twitter, Morin wrote: “I lost my wedding/engagement rings last week somewhere between New York and Jackson Hole. A @United gate agent found it, put it in a safe, and then gave it to a pilot to HAND-DELIVER it back to me in SF. I have a newfound faith in humanity and airlines. Thanks United.”

Morin outlined the details of her incredible story at Brit’s Blog, a popular feature at Brit.co.

Morin is a frequent guest on ABC’s Good Morning America. While in New York shooting a segment for GMA on February 8, Morin had taken off her rings, explaining, “I always do this — it feels odd having a giant camera zoomed in on my ring when I’m working with my hands on set.”

After the GMA appearance, Morin was scheduled to meet her family in Jackson Hole, Wyo., for a ski vacation. The GMA segment ran late and Morin found herself rushing to make a flight at nearby Newark International Airport.

She packed her rings in a carry-on bag and made it to the gate just in time.

But, since she had gotten there later than all the other passengers, there was no overhead storage available. She quickly transferred her rings to a small toiletry bag and jammed it inside her purse. The larger carry-on bag was tagged and sent below.

Imagine Morin’s horror when she got to her final destination in Jackson Hole and realized that the engagement ring and wedding band were gone.

“Panicked, I searched all of my bags — my toiletry bag, my purse, and my suitcase — at least a dozen times, beginning to fear that the worst may have happened,” she wrote. “It must have fallen out somewhere during the suitcase transfer. I must not have zipped my toiletry bag all the way. Oh, dear god, how was I going to tell my husband? (The bigger irony? We got married in Jackson Hole nearly seven years ago, and now here we were back in a town that symbolizes our eternal love and I had no physical symbol of that love on my finger.)”

Fearing that she may never see her rings again, Morin went on the United Airlines website and filed a lost-items claim.

Meanwhile, back in New Jersey, a United Airlines gate agent had found the rings on the jet bridge. She immediately put them in a safe pending the identity of the owner.

When she learned that the owner had come forward, the agent handed the rings to United Airlines pilot Captain Jim Moorey, who was happy to ferry the rings 2,500 miles to San Francisco, where Morin lives with her family.

On February 15, Moorey hand-delivered the rings to Morin, along with a personal note that read, “From day to day, I take pride in getting passengers from point A to point B safely and on time. Today, I’m happy to be able to be part of a team focused on making just one individual happy.”

“I was ELATED,” wrote Morin. “I expected them to shoot me over a FedEx or UPS tracking number, but instead they informed me they would be HAND-DELIVERING them back to me. I couldn’t believe it.”

Credits: Ring photo, Brit Morin photo via Twitter.com/brit/; Aircraft photo by United Airlines.

Music Friday: Teen Star Billie Eilish Can’t Stop Thinking of His Diamond Mind and Those ‘Ocean Eyes’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fresh, new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, prepare to be blown away by 16-year-old Billie Eilish and her debut single “Ocean Eyes.”

In the song, Apple Music’s UPNEXT Artist of the Month is suffering through a devastating breakup. She still loves her ex-boyfriend and is longing for his brilliant “diamond mind” and his dreamy “ocean eyes.”

She sings, “I’ve been walking through / A world gone blind / Can’t stop thinking of your diamond mind / Careful creature made friends with time / He left her lonely with a diamond mind / And those ocean eyes.”

Co-written by her brother, Finneas Baird O’Connell, “Ocean Eyes” was originally recorded for a dance class in 2015, when Eilish was only 14 years old. The original intention was to have her dance teacher choreograph a routine to the music.

“We put it on SoundCloud with a free download link next to it so my dance teacher could access it,” Eilish told Teen Vogue. “We had no intentions for it, really. But basically overnight a ton of people started hearing it and sharing it.”

The song soon went viral with 35 million streams on Spotify alone.

“Ocean Eyes” was featured as the lead single from Eilish’s debut EP, Don’t Smile at Me, which was released in August of 2017. One month later, she made her national TV debut on The Late Late Show with James Corden, and Apple Music named Eilish the UPNEXT artist of the month in October 2017.

Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell was born in Los Angeles in 2001 to a family of actors and musicians. She began writing songs at age 11, following the footsteps of her older brother, who was already performing original songs with his band.

Please check out Eilish’s official music video of “Ocean Eyes.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Ocean Eyes”
Written by Arron Carl Davey and Finneas Baird O’Connell. Performed by Billie Eilish.

I’ve been watching you
For some time
Can’t stop staring at those oceans eyes
Burning cities and napalm skies
Fifteen flares inside those ocean eyes
Your ocean eyes

No fair
You really know how to make me cry
When you gimme those ocean eyes
I’m scared
I’ve never fallen from quite this high
Falling into your ocean eyes
Those ocean eyes

I’ve been walking through
A world gone blind
Can’t stop thinking of your diamond mind
Careful creature made friends with time
He left her lonely with a diamond mind
And those ocean eyes

No fair
You really know how to make me cry
When you gimme those ocean eyes
I’m scared
I’ve never fallen from quite this high
Falling into your ocean eyes
Those ocean eyes

No fair
You really know how to make me cry
When you gimme those ocean eyes
I’m scared
I’ve never fallen from quite this high
Falling into your ocean eyes
Those ocean eyes

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

‘I Avoca-Do’: Believe It or Not, Avocado Ring Boxes Are Now a Thing

The avocado is arguably the most versatile fruit in the world. It can be used in soups, drinks, salads, dips, ice cream — and if you pop the pit and cut it in half, you’ve got the latest, coolest, trendiest ring box. Yes, thanks to Amsterdam-based food stylist, author and avocado aficionado Colette Dike, the wonder fruit has caught the attention of millennials ready to pop the question.

On February 10, Dike posted to her Instagram page a photo of a diamond engagement ring pressed into the gooey core of an “avo box.” Accompanying the photo was the following caption: “Tag someone who should propose like this.” She used the hashtags “avobox” and “avocadoproposal.”

The post went viral with 10,840 likes and 2,310 comments. What’s more, the post stirred the interest of giant media outlets, such as The Today Show, ESPN and the Daily Mail.

Reactions to Dike’s Instagram post were generally positive, humorous and good-natured.

One Instagram user wrote, “I avoca-DO,” while a second chimed in, “BEST EVER.”

A third tagged her boyfriend and wrote, “I do! Only if he brought a spoon, though.”

A few were not so kind due to the fact that avocados are notoriously mushy and their bright green hue quickly turns brown once they’re cut open.

One Instagram user called the idea “ridiculous, dumb and pathetic” while another noted sarcastically, “Here, put on this slimy ring.”

Although Dike is getting the credit for making the “avobox” into a phenomenon, The Today Show‘s website noted that Instagram user Taylor Selby in October 2016 posted a photo of her now-fiancé on bended knee, proposing with a ring embedded in a slightly overripe avocado.

Avocados originated in south-central Mexico more than 7,000 years ago, and although the Aztecs associated avocados with fertility, they were not likely used for ring boxes at that time.

A single avocado tree can produce 500 avocados each year, with an output of more than 200 pounds of fruit. About 95% of U.S. avocado production comes from Southern California. Fallbrook, Calf., claims to be the “Avocado Capital of the World” and the State of California’s official fruit is — drumroll, please — the avocado.

Credit: Image courtesy of Colette Dike via Instagram/fooddeco.

Neighbors Pool Their Plumbing Skills to Rescue Engagement Ring That Was Flushed Down Toilet

Resourceful neighbors in the community of Alamo, Calif., pooled their limited plumbing skills to reunite a future bride with the $10,000 diamond engagement ring she had accidentally flushed down the toilet. 

Only 48 hours earlier, the world was filled with nothing but despair for Haleigh Morrissey and her fiancé Dean Booras.

Morrissey had been in her bathroom applying suntan lotion when she grew concerned that the ring might get stained. She asked Booras to remove it from her finger and rinse it off.

He cleaned the ring and placed it on a tissue, neatly folding the ends together to create a little ring package. And he left it there on the bathroom sink.

Later in the day, Morrissey returned to tidy up the bathroom and instinctively scooped up the folded tissue and flushed it down the toilet.

“I got to the bathroom and then I was like here’s some trash… throw it in the toilet,” Morrissey told a reporter from Fox affiliate KTVU.

Morrissey was devastated when she realized what she’d done.

“I thought there is no chance in the world that we were ever going to see it again,” Booras told the local ABC affiliate.

The panicked couple recruited a bunch of neighbors from this close-knit community 28 miles east of San Francisco. Together, they pooled their marginal plumbing experience to noodle out the best way to find a flushed engagement ring.

After watching a bunch of YouTube videos, neighbor Brett Gunari rented a plumber’s snake equipped with a camera. When that method failed to turn up the ring, fellow neighbor and building inspector Ken Gunari recommended that they flood the system and try to snag the ring further down the sewer line.

His method: “Turn on the bathtub, flush the toilet, dump the two five-gallon buckets of water into the toilet all at once,” he said.

About 200 feet from the house, the neighbors had unearthed the sewer line and rigged it with a screen to catch the ring.

Within a few minutes of the water rush, the neighbors at the site of the trap could be heard yelling, “Oh man, look at that.”

The plan worked. The ring emerged from the screen a bit mucky, but not damaged.

We’re guessing that Morrissey and Booras — who have their wedding planned for this May — will be adding a bunch of well-deserving neighbors to their guest list.

Credits: Screen captures via abc7news.com.

Seeing Double: ‘Twinfinity’ Rings Star in a Proposal Story That Packs Twice the Romance

Identical twins Brittany and Briana Deane shouted “Yes” as identical twins Josh and Jeremy Salyers popped the question at Twin Lakes State Park in Virginia on February 2 (2/2/18). The simultaneous surprise marriage proposals — complete with “twinfinity” rings for both brides-to-be — were featured on the Valentine’s Day installment of Inside Edition.

The gals from Virginia and the guys from Tennessee had met last August at The Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio. The 31-year-old Deane twins and the 34-year-old Salyers twins admit that it was love at first sight.

“It was one of the most magical moments,” Briana told DelawareOnline.com. “For me, it went in slow motion, like a movie. We all believe in soulmates and we all felt that instant connection.”

Interestingly, older siblings Jeremy and Briana established an immediate bond, as did younger siblings Brittany and Josh.

When they got home from the festival, the girls had a message waiting for them. The boys said they couldn’t wait to see them again and the girls responded, “Why wait until next year?” That next weekend, Josh and Jeremy drove from Tennessee to Virginia to see the girls.

“The rest,” the girls wrote on HowHeAsked.com, “is (a double) history.”

“Ever since we were little girls, we have always known that there were identical twin boys who were going to marry us one day,” Briana said.

As part of the surprise proposal, the Salyers brothers convinced the Deane sisters that all four were hired to participate in a commercial for the catering facility at Twin Lakes State Park (This was also the site of their first date). The ruse was that the venue wanted to use twins as a fun tie-in to the park’s name. Actually, the film crew was from the staff of Inside Edition. Josh and Jeremy had orchestrated the whole thing.

With the boys decked out in matching suits with blue ties and the girls wearing matching blue gowns, the film crew led them to a picturesque pavilion decorated with rose petals and candles. When the producer yelled, “Action,” Josh and Jeremy dropped to one knee, pulled out their matching “double infinity” diamond rings and asked their girlfriends to marry them. Brittany and Briana simultaneously said, “Yes.”

The girls called their diamond bling “twinfinity” rings.

The couples are planning a dual wedding ceremony during The Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg this August. After the wedding, the foursome will be sharing a home.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.

Olympic Athletes Are Linked to Diamonds in a Series of Ads Airing During the Winter Games

Olympic athletes are visually and emotionally linked to diamonds in a trio of compelling ads now airing during the coverage of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Conceived by the Diamond Producer’s Association’s ‘Real is a Diamond’ platform in partnership with The NBCU Content Studio, “The Making of a Gem” commercials tell the story of young athletes on the rise. In their own words, athletes representing the sports of snowboarding, women’s ice hockey and pairs figure skating speak of their journeys to achieve greatness.

Each of their narratives include words and phrases commonly associated with diamonds. In fact, one can easily imagine the story being told from the diamond’s point of view.

Here’s an example from the snowboarding script…

“I can do this. I can handle intense pressure. I can stand up against unimaginable heat. That makes me strong. Gives me an edge. And even when I’m rough, unpolished, with all my imperfections, I’m still flawless. That’s what makes me unique. What about you?”

And the hockey script…

“We were made this way. We were made strong. Commitment helped us dig deeper. Focus sharpened our edge. And even when we were vulnerable… we never stopped being invincible. They tried to crush us. But our bond is unbreakable.”

And the figure skating script…

“I’ve spent most of my life in the dark, unseen by the world. The longer I waited, the more intense the pressure became. Until, like a force of nature, I finally broke free. And where before I was hidden, today I have the support of the world who never lets me forget that with love, might and a little polish… I shine.”

“The breadth of common themes was surprisingly rich and made for seamless and layered storytelling,” said Deborah Marquardt, Chief Marketing Officer for the Diamond Producer’s Association.

Stylist Tanya Dukes chose the featured jewelry, explaining, “In each film, we styled the athletes in realistic, current diamond jewelry that they’d actually wear, including some of their own pieces. The jewelry was an authentic part of their personal style.”

The snowboarding ad, for instance, shows the male athlete wearing a princess-cut stud earring and a spider-shaped diamond pendant. The hockey-themed ad shows twin diamond stud earrings on the female athlete and a diamond wedding band on her male coach. In the pairs figure skating ad, the female athlete is wearing twin diamond stud earrings and a diamond engagement ring. Her partner (presumably her husband) is wearing a wedding band.

Of the three ads, the women’s hockey version is getting the highest engagement (7.9), according to ad tracking service Ispot.tv. The snowboarding ad is second with a 7.7 and the figure skating ad is third at 7.0.

“The Making of a Gem” series is being distributed through NBCUniversal’s portfolio-wide platform across social media, video programming and the company’s strategic partnerships with Apple News and Vox Media. Videos and supplemental content will also run on Real is a Diamond-owned and -operated channels, as well as in cinema.

Each of the videos is below…


Women’s Hockey

Pairs Figure Skating

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/Real is a Diamond.