On the day before the anniversary of their third date, Brigid was standing in her living room when her boyfriend Tim handed her a ceramic ring holder. She wasn’t sure what it was for until he pulled out an engagement ring.
“Will you marry me?” he asked.
Overcome with emotion, she nodded yes. The wedding is set for next year.
A wedding is one of the most important — and expensive — days in any couple’s life together. In today’s post — the second in a series about how people use Facebook during transitions to new life stages — we explore how engaged couples prepare for their wedding and how marketers can help meet their needs.
Drawing from a combination of our internal data,1 interviews conducted with people who use Facebook, and in-depth research with a small number of participants by strategic research agency Firefly Millward Brown,2 we explored what matters to US couples as they prepare for their wedding and begin planning their new lives together.
During the months between getting engaged and getting married, there is understandably a lot of planning to do. When it comes to their biggest concerns during this time, men and women often differ. For many women, the upcoming wedding day is the main focus. “You’re balancing how you want this day to be along with his parents and your parents,” said Brigid.
For many men, the focus tends to be on preparing for a stable financial future. Men are often looking at financial services at this time and at bigger purchases, such as a home. “Planning for a house is priority number two in my mind right now,” said Tim, who proposed to Brigid before Valentine’s Day. “We plan to start seriously looking right after the wedding.”
The price tag for the average wedding in the US is close to $30,000, according to a recent study by the popular wedding planning website TheKnot.3 This is the highest average ever, the study found, with 14% of couples spending more than $40,000 on their big day. Other findings included the average length of engagement: 14 months; the average spend per guest: $220; the percent of weddings which are destinations: 24%; and the average price of a wedding dress, which is close to $1,300.
There are 2.6 million people who changed their status to engaged in the US last year on Facebook. The median age at engagement on Facebook is 24, and the most popular days for popping the question were Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day. The most popular months to get engaged were November and December.
Compared to the average man age 20 to 30 on Facebook, engaged men send 1.4x more messages, make 1.2x more posts, and 1.2x more checkins. Engaged women on Facebook make 1.3x more photo uploads, 1.4x more checkins, and 1.3x more posts than average women on Facebook age 20 to 30. After their engagement, there is no visible difference in Page likes for men; however, women use Facebook to learn about wedding planning, bridal dresses, and beauty and fashion-related Pages.
When it comes to reaching engaged couples, marketers can help women with wedding ideas and resources such as reception venues, florists, gowns and stationary. This is also a great opportunity to get men involved in the planning by reaching out to them with ideas and offers for lighting, signature cocktails and music for the big day.
Knowing that most couples get engaged in November and December, and more specifically on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day, jewelry brands can advertise to men of marrying age who are in a relationship around this time.
With the average length of engagement 14 months, brands have a long run-up to connect with couples before the big day. And once they do connect, brands can use Custom Audiences to reach the people they know on Facebook to be a potential partner with engaged couples through the entire journey, from the early decisions around securing a venue to last-minute decisions about the cake topper.
Since the average engaged couple is in their 20s, they are often cash-strapped and most likely their parents will be helping with expenses. This creates potential for brands to connect with the parents of the bride- and groom-to-be on Facebook with targeted messaging.
Then there are the longer-term, financial plans that grooms-to-be are preoccupied with, creating an opportunity to help them set their financial and life goals and map out what it would take to reach them.
And finally, there are huge opportunities for travel brands in the lead-up to the honeymoon as couples determine their destination and prepare to head off into the sunset as newlyweds.