Here comes … an increase in the number of weddings in 2014, which could mean sales of more bridal sets, such as this platinum set from Ritani, for jewelers.
New York--Researchers predict the number of weddings in the United States will increase 2 percent in 2014 due to a small increase in the total marrying age population combined with a marginal rise in the proportion of couples choosing to wed.

London-based economist Tim Jackson, chief executive of the Jewelry Industry Research Institute (JIRI), the company founded by longtime industry analyst Ken Gassman, forecasts 2.2 million marriages in 2014, up from 2.15 million in 2013.

Marriage rates have been holding steady at 2.1 million per year at the last five years, down from 2.2 million from 2006 to 2008.

The reason is a combination of factors, Jackson said, including people putting off marriage--and the costly weddings that are often attached to them--due to economic conditions and more couples choosing to live together but not tying the knot. 

The Wedding Report Inc., a research company based in Tucson that tracks and forecasts the number of U.S. weddings, spending and consumer trends in the wedding industry, makes predictions similar to those of the JIRI in its 2014 Wedding Market Insight Report.

In the report, Wedding Report founder Shane McMurray states that he expects the number of weddings to stay flat or increase slightly this year. In addition, the report states that the U.S. nuptials will remain between 2.1 million and 2.2 million per year “for many years” to come.

“There is a long-term trend to a lower proportion of people getting married as the wider society becomes more secular and co-habiting becomes more widespread,” Jackson said. 

What it means for jewelers
According to JIRI, roughly three-quarters of all brides who tie the knot a get diamond engagement ring. The remaining quarter get a variety of different rings, or no ring at all.

This translates to 1.65 million engagement rings being sold in the U.S. in 2014.

Jackson said ring trends JIRI believes will be popular include a move toward smaller, multiple diamonds mixed with colored gemstones, in lieu of the traditional solitaire.

For those sticking with the solitaire, Jackson said they see the average center stone size increasing very slightly in 2014.

He said the overall average size is now approaching one carat. He notes that JIRI’s number includes all engagement ring sales, including those sold through mass retailers such as Walmart. Therefore, the average carat size may be lower than those provided by other sources, such as The Knot.

Other wedding trends
In addition to forecasting the number of nuptials in 2014, the Wedding Market Insight Report makes a variety of other predictions, in areas such as spending, most popular months for weddings and the hues most likely to decorate reception halls.

In general, spending on weddings is expected to remain flat this year, at $24,500 to $26,000 on average, compared with $25,720 in 2013.

Couples remain cautious about spending and prefer to fund their ceremonies using savings or cash on hand, the report states.

Other wedding trends forecast for 2014 include:
--Who made the list? The average number of wedding guests in 2014 is expected to be between 130 and 140, on par with last’s year average of 136. Couples continue to keep guests lists trimmer than they did before 2008 in order to save money.

--Summer brides. June, May and September will be the most popular months to walk down the aisle. The least popular are January, February and December.

--New traditions. Weddings classified as “formal” and “traditional” will continue to decline in popularity. What couples today wants are romantic, fun and simple weddings, with the popularity of garden, rustic and vintage themes also on the rise.

--Colors of the year. The primary color themes for weddings in 2014 will be blues and purples, reflecting the general color palette that’s currently popular in fashion, including Pantone’s Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid. Silver, gold and champagne also will be popular while yellows, greens and blacks are expected to decline in popularity.

--Put a pin on it. Couples are expected to turn to social media even more to plan their weddings in the coming year, with Pinterest among the main drivers of the increase.

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