As February fast approaches and the sounds and sights of Valentine's Day encourages us to follow our romantic side there will be those amongst us who, captured in the euphoric rapture of the moment, will propose in the most romantic of ways to their loved ones. If you thought that this whirlwind/flurry of romance must be the busiest time of year for marriage proposals then I'm afraid you would be wrong. Now if you were thinking “no way its February that’s too cheesy” and then suggested the summer then sure you'd be forgiven but you'd be wrong again. It’s not the summer either. So when is the busiest most popular time for marriage proposals? According to Google it's December…
According to Google's search data December 2010 was touted as the busiest month for search traffic around the term “marriage proposal ideas”. This got us thinking about what else Google could tell us about our habits when it comes to weddings. Does general search behaviour mimic what we think we know about weddings? Using a tool called “Google Insights” (a tool that shows us the search volume behind search queries) we had a look at a few search terms associated with weddings; from the first step of the proposal through the wedding research and out via preparing for the big day.
Here's what we found!
First Step – The Proposal
We've already mentioned that the most popular time for marriage proposals seems to be around December. What’s the basis? Well we assume that people aren't really searching for “marriage proposal” so literally but rather looking for inspiration behind the proposal. We had a look at the most popular time for Google users to search for “marriage proposal ideas”:
Marriage Proposal Ideas (UK Search Volume 1,000)
Why December? Is it the cold weather bringing people together or the holiday cheer? Perhaps the stress of the shopping is a good test of a couple's suitability. Maybe it's because he thought a ring is better than a gift card…
Second Step – Preparation
Once the engagement proposal is out the way the next step is the big one – the arrangement, the preparation, the dress! Organising a wedding can be a HUGE process so a whole lot of research goes into every aspect – from the venue to the wedding favours. Interestingly common trends seem to find themselves across various search queries as we can see below.
If December is the busiest month for marriage proposals then the following months are the most certainly the busiest for what has to be one of the most defining elements of any wedding – the wedding dress.
Wedding dresses (UK search volume 201,000)
It seems the excitement around wedding dresses hits the highest around February although it only slows down around the later months.
Almost as important as any dress is the wedding venue; now location, capacity, budget and timing is of upmost importance. Unsurprisingly organising a venue takes a huge amount of research time but the trends follow a very similar pattern to other elements of the wedding planning.
Wedding venues (UK search volume 27,100)
The interest in wedding venues spikes around the early months (January), rises around the summer then drops nearing the end of the year. The spike in January could be for various reasons – firstly as more and more proposals come in over December more and more brides to be are searching for their dream venues. Another reason maybe simply due to timings – there is more pressure to organise the venue in time for the impending wedding date hence the heavy traffic for search terms around the earlier months. Again interestingly traffic again peaks around the summer months – could this be due to winter weddings or is because of last minute wedding bookings?
Another important search phrase used quite frequently (12,000 per month no less!) is “wedding ideas”. Again follows a very similar pattern however searches really spike around the summer months.
Wedding ideas (UK search volume 12,100)
What this tells us is that generally speaking the most popular times for preparing the wedding is very much during the beginning of the year. Again maybe it's because of a new lease of enthusiasm especially after the December proposals! Or maybe it's because the majority of the weddings happen around the summer months… If we want to know the most popular times for weddings we need to look a little deeper at when people are preparing for the big day.
Third Step – Guest Preparation
The invitations are out and the masses have been informed! Your hard work has just started but at least you don't have to worry about your guests – they will undoubtedly look fabulous (but not as good as the bride!). So now the guests have to do some work – or at least the more fashion conscious ones! Dresses, fascinators, hats and gifts – the research terms are massive! Fortunately for us activity around these words tells us an awful lot about behaviour.
Dresses for weddings (UK search volume: 3,600)
It's clear where the trend is when it comes to information about dresses for weddings – the summer month clearly peak suggesting that people are approaching the wedding season by then and are in need of some desperate inspiration for the special day.
Fascinators for weddings (UK search volume: 4,400)
Wedding fascinators (UK search volume: 1,600)
Hats for weddings (UK search volume: 2,900)
Simply put fascinators are synonymous with weddings. Weddings are also considered key hat wearing opportunities so it's unsurprising that both terms generate a lot of searches. Unsurprisingly search activity follows a very similar pattern as other wedding fashion terms. Peaks tend to be around the summer months with search volume dropping around the end of summer. Could it be because weddings tend to be around the summer months?
We finish with wedding gift ideas. Now be honest, how many times have you been invited to a wedding and not bought a gift until the very last moment? If you get the gift a month before the wedding it's considered great planning! Of all the search terms you would imagine that “wedding gifts” would tell us the most about upcoming weddings.
Wedding gifts (UK search volume: 14,800)
Wedding gift ideas (UK search volume: 5,400)
The most popular time to look for wedding gifts is… the first week of August.
So there you have it! Using Google's data we can tell when someone is likely to propose (or at least research the proposal!) when they are thinking about their wedding and even the date of the wedding. The groom will propose in December, the wedding planning will be all year long and the date of the wedding will be the first week of August. Simple!
Of course take the data with a pinch of salt – no amounts of stats can really predict something as personal as a wedding. So what do you think? Would you agree about December being the busiest month for proposals? When did you start thinking (really thinking) about wedding preparation? Would you buy your wedding gifts months before the wedding or just before? Let us know your thoughts!
Mike with De Vere Venues – luxurious wedding venues across the UK http://www.devere.co.uk/wedding-celebrations.html