Cold feet confession: 1 in 5 admit they nearly ran out on their wedding

NEW YORK — Walking down the aisle is no small feat — and it turns out more people get cold feet than you might think. A new survey finds one in five recently married Americans confess they nearly skipped out on their own weddings!

The poll of 2,000 Americans who married between 2021 and 2024 finds that 20 percent got cold feet before their big day and nearly called the whole thing off. When it came down to it, over half of the respondents (52%) said they spent less than $10,000 on their wedding, with only one in five people spending more than $30,000.

The survey, conducted by OnePoll for USA Today Blueprint, took a close look at the financials of wedding planning and the biggest regrets people still have about the big day. Eighty-six percent say they don’t regret how much their wedding cost, but when asked what specific regrets couples had, 10 percent still noted that the price of their big day was a big concern. That may be because over half (54%) of respondents paid for the wedding themselves, and the majority (69%) used cash.

white printer paper beside silver laptop computer
Common regrets when wedding planning includes budgeting, scheduling, and guests, according to the poll. (Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash)

Other payment methods people used for their weddings included credit cards (29%) or a wedding loan (2%). Keep in mind that respondents were able to choose more than one answer for this question, so some used a combination of these methods.

The most common regret for new couples was the scheduling, with 19 percent saying they were too rushed and didn’t have enough time to do everything they wanted before tying the knot. Also high on the list of regrets was the guest list: 17 percent said they wished they did a better job at selecting who was invited to their wedding.

The survey also finds that 15 percent of couples say wedding planning was the biggest challenge of all. When asked how long the entire planning process took them, 40 percent shared that they did all of their wedding planning in less than four months, and 20 percent said it took them four to six months. 

Another 24 percent planned their wedding in seven to 12 months, while only 17 percent took longer than this. On average, it’s safe to say you need up to six months set aside for wedding planning.

The survey also asked married couples what they enjoyed more: the bachelor and bachelorette parties or the honeymoon. When it comes to pre-wedding celebrations, it seems the bachelor and bachelorette parties are losing a bit of their sparkle. Just over half of those surveyed skipped the traditional pre-wedding celebrations altogether.

For those who did indulge in the pre-marital revelry, the honeymoon still reigned supreme for nearly half of them, with 42 percent favoring post-wedding bliss over pre-wedding jitters. Yet, a significant 34 percent found the party to be the highlight.

Survey Methodology:

This online survey of 2,000 Americans who have been married since 2021 was commissioned by USA TODAY Blueprint and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society’s code of conduct. Data was collected from Feb. 7 to Feb. 14, 2024. The margin of error is +/- 2.2 points with 95 percent confidence. This survey was overseen by the OnePoll research team, which is a member of the MRS and has corporate membership with the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).