Mormons Do It Big: The Geography Of American Weddings


If the back-to-back time slots of Say Yes to the Dress and Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta have taught us anything, it’s that wedding planning in the United States is a distinctly regional affair. So what are weddings like in your part of the country?

The first map above, based on data from The Knot‘s 2013 Real Wedding Survey, shows the average wedding size, by state, across the U.S.* Over at Slate, Will Oremus has a great piece on why the spending figures from this very study should be taken with a grain of salt – these surveys are somewhat self-selective, and these averages can be easily skewed by a few especially large, lavish weddings. The same points apply here.

Nevertheless, there seem to be some very real regional trends on display. The East and West Coasts generally have smaller weddings than the middle of the country. Utah, home of Mormons and their enormous families†, leads the nation with an average wedding size of 209. Nevada, home of horrible mistakes, averages a wedding size of just 64. This is further proof that the border between Nevada and Utah might be the weirdest in the U.S., if not the entire world.

Big weddings can be exhausting though. Here’s who’s getting the hell out of there afterwards:

Utah, having it all! Besides the Beehive State, this is pretty much the inverse of the wedding size map. The middle of the country tends to stay put, while the East and West Coasts get as far away from home as possible, so they can have weird sex in peace. 89 percent of Rhode Islanders take honeymoons, the highest figure in the country. Only 44 percent of Alaskans make the trip, because nothing is more romantic than Alaska.

Finally, let’s take a look who’s having the most buttoned-up weddings, based on whether survey respondents identified their wedding as “formal” or “black-tie.”

To no one’s surprise, New York and New Jersey lead the country in weddings that are extremely fancy, insomuch as being fancy means wearing very uncomfortable clothing. On the other side of the country, Hawaii (3 percent formal), Alaska (six percent), Oregon (nine percent), and Washington (10 percent) are almost unbearably casual. We get it, guys. You’re so chill.

*Gay weddings were included in the survey in states where they were legal in 2012. The Knot, for some reason, does not have state-level data for Kansas, Montana, or Delaware.

†No, not like that.

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