The average cost of a U.S. wedding rose 1.6% to $33,931 in 2018 from a year earlier, according to wedding site The Knot.

Average number of guests: 136

Average Marrying Age: Women, 29.1; Men, 30.5

Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)

Average Engagement Length: 13.6 months

Most Popular Month to Get Married: September (18%)

Top 5 Popular Wedding Colors: Ivory/Champagne (33%), Dark Blue & Burgundy/Wine (tie at 29%), Gold (27%) and Light Pink (23%)

Percentage of Destination Weddings: 23%

Top 25 Most Expensive Places to Get Married in 2018
1.  NY – Manhattan $96,910 (up from $76,944 in 2017)
2. NY – Long Island $66,409 (up from $61,113)
3. IL – Chicago $60,294 (up from $52,322)
4. Rhode Island $59,201 (up from $52,777)
5. MA – Cape Cod $58,425 (up from $55,083)
6. NJ – North/Central $58,107
7. NY – Westchester/Hudson Valley $57,678
8.  NY – NYC Outer Boroughs $56,967
9. NJ – South $47,148
10. Philadelphia/Delaware $46,640
11. CA – Santa Barbara/Ventura $45,991
12. MA – Boston $44,557
13. Connecticut $42,853
14. CA – Los Angeles $42,638
15. Southern Florida $42,596
16. CA – San Francisco/Bay Area $41,341
17. New Orleans $40,753
18. Washington DC/Northern VA/Suburban MD $39,801
19. CA – Palm Springs/Desert Communities $39,504
20. Baltimore $39,167
21. CA – Orange County/Inland Empire $37,760
22. Hawaii $37,338
23. IL – Chicago Suburbs $36,25
24. South Carolina $35,942
25. Houston/East Texas $35,334

Top 10 Most Affordable Places to Get Married
1. Idaho $16,366
2. West Virginia $17,997
3. Wyoming $19,395
4. South Dakota $19,515
5. Alaska $19,887
6. Arkansas $20,223
7. Utah $20,391
8. West Texas $20,541
9. Lansing, Michigan $20,861
10.  Oklahoma $20,935

2018 Average Wedding Budget Breakdown
Figures based on respondents who hired a professional vendor for the service.

Category 2018 National Average Spend 2018 High-Spender Spend (Wedding Spend $60K+)
Overall Wedding (with ring, excluding honeymoon) $33,931 $104,109
Venue (reception hall) $15,439

25% Spent $20,000+

$42,354
Photographer $2,679

34% Spent $3,000+

$5,123
Wedding/Event Planner $2,002

17% Spent $2,500+

$3,671
Reception Band $4,247

29% Spent $5,000+

$7,089
Reception DJ $1,292

27% Spent $1,500+

$2,373
Florist/Décor $2,411

34% Spent $2,500+

$5,936
Videographer $2,021

26% Spent $2,500+

$3,289
Wedding Dress $1,631

15% spent $2,000+

$2,991
Wedding Dress Accessories $250

25% spent $300+

$520
Groom’s Attire & Accessories $283

21% spent $300+

$430
Bridesmaids Dresses (each) $142

36% spent $150+

$197
Groomsmen Attire (each) $187

22% Spent $200+

$230
Wedding Cake $528

17% spent $750+

$993
Ceremony Site $2,382

36% spent $3,000+

$3,006
Ceremony Musicians $797

22% Spent $1,000+

$1,168
Invitations $386

28% Spent $400+

$1,038
Transportation $856

25% Spent $1,000+

$1,405
Favors $245

21% Spent $300+

$443
Rehearsal Dinner $1,297

23% Spent $1,500+

$3,305
Engagement Ring $5,680

28% Spent $6,000+

$13,619
Catering (price per person) $70

21% Spent $100+

$157
Officiant $286

27% Spent $300+

$491
Wedding Spend per Guest $258

24% Spent $300+

$576
Photo Booth $325

44% Spent $400+

$419
Morning-After Brunch $565

18% Spent $750+

$1,515
Makeup Artist (bride) $102

23% Spent $126+

$137
Makeup – Bridal Party (each) $82

16% Spent $100+

$99
Hairstylist (bride) $123

25% Spent $176+

$165
Hairstylist – Bridal Party (each) $79

16% Spent $100+

$105
Wedding Bands (brides) $1,078

11% Spent $2,000+

$1,983
Wedding Bands (grooms) $584

28% Spent $600+

$1,017

Source: The Knot 2018 Real Weddings Study

 

Con:

Amy Klobuchar, latest presidential candidate, faces questions about temperament, treatment of staff

Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s Mistreatment Of Staff Scared Off Candidates To Manage Her Presidential Bid

Staffers, Documents Show Amy Klobuchar’s Wrath Toward Her Aides

The ‘Worst Bosses’ in Congress?

Amy Klobuchar’s presidential campaign is doomed

Pro:

The Hidden Sexism Behind the Amy Klobuchar Reports

Klobuchar May Be a Bad Boss. That Shouldn’t Disqualify Her From the Presidency.

The Girlboss Ethos of Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar may be best equipped to send president packing

  • 124 million singles in the United States, according to MarketResearch.com.
  • The dating services industry is forecast to grow to $3.2 billion by 2020 from $2.5 billion in 2015.
  • IAC’s publicly traded Match Group is the market leader in online dating with $1.73 billion in yearly revenue, followed by eHarmony and Spark Networks.
  • Match Group’s  revenue grew 21 percent in 4Q 2018 to $457.3 million from a year earlier. The company’s brands include Tinder, Match, Meetic, OKCupid and Pairs. It acquired rival Plenty of Fish for $575 million, and also bought Meetic, OK Cupid, Yahoo Personals, Our Time and Tinder.
  • Match Group increased subscribership 17 percent to 8.2 million in 4Q 2018 from a year earlier. Tinder boosted subscribers 39% to 4.3 million in 4Q 2018 from a year earlier.
  • The first Sunday after New Year’s – dubbed “Dating Sunday” or “Singles Sunday” – is key because of the combination of potentially lonely holidays, recovering from a break-up, peer and family pressure, personal goals and the upcoming Valentine’s Day. Online dating search can go up 75 percent that day, USA Today reported.
  • On Singles Sunday, online daters are 17 percent more likely to get a match and 16 percent more likely to actually chat with that match, according to CNET.
  • Match Group predicted there will be a 69 percent jump in new singles coming to the app on Dating Sunday, according to Market Watch.
  • Tinder told Bustle that one Dating Sunday led to 44 million Tinder matches being made.  Dating Sunday is one of Bumble’s busiest days of the year, according to a statement from dating app Bumble to Global News.
  • Coffee Meets Bagel said the first week of January is the most popular time of year to sign up for an online dating service, and 11:30 p.m. is the peak hour for new member sign-ups.
  • More than 40 percent of online singles globally have used online dating apps or sites within the past month; around two-thirds of them are men, according to consumer research company GlobalWebIndex.
  • 3 in 4 online daters are under the age of 30.
  • Online daters describe themselves as risk-takers and they want to be seen as adventurous by others. These traits are more visible in younger online daters. The majority of online daters also agree that the internet makes them feel closer to people.
  • Online daters ages 18 to 30 are more likely to keep up with the latest fashion trends and visit movie theaters at least twice a month.

The U.S. installed base of smart-speaker devices nearly doubled to 66 million units in December from a year earlier, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. The installed base was 53 million units in September 2018 and 36 million in December 2017.

Amazon Echo has 70 percent of the installed base, followed by Google Home at 24 percent and Apple HomePod at 6 percent.

The percentage of smart-speaker owners who have more than device grew to 35 percent in December from 18 percent a year earlier.

CIRP surveyed 500 U.S. owners of Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod devices from Jan. 1 -11, 2019.

Source: CIRP

The percentage of cellular subscribers who have unlimited data plans rose to 37 percent in 2018 from 25 percent in 2017, according to a Deloitte survey of mobile subscribers.

60 percent of respondents said 5G is now “important” to them, according to Deloitte.

80 percent of respondents who use their smartphones to watch video content weekly said 5G is important to them.

73 percent of U.S. consumers said they were concerned about sharing their personal data online and the potential for identify [sic] theft, according to Deloitte.

69 percent said they believe companies aren’t doing everything they can to protect consumers’ personal data.

73 percent said they would be more comfortable sharing their data if they had some visibility and control.

About two-thirds of respondents use a voice assistant on their smartphones—a 20 percent increase from a year earlier.

Smart speakers are the most prominent platform for digital assistants: 69 percent of respondents use them weekly and 47 percent daily.

Washington Post: Warren listed race as ‘American Indian’ on Texas bar registration

Elizabeth Warren apologizes for calling herself Native American

Elizabeth Warren’s ‘American Indian’ claim cuts to character

Elizabeth Warren is a fraud — Her lies about being Native American disqualify her from presidency, Senate

A 1986 registration card for the State Bar of Texas for Elizabeth Warren with her Race indicated as “American Indian.” Courtesy of the State Bar of Texas

 

Facebook this month will add a feature to its app and website that lets users see how their contact information is used for ad targeting. Read more…

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Top reasons consumers aren’t celebrating Valentine’s Day:

  • Over-commercialized
  • Don’t have anyone to celebrate with
  • Not interested anymore

Percentage of People Planning to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Year Ages 18-34 Ages 35-54  Ages 55 and older
2009 72% 65% 52%
2010 69% 61% 49%
2011 70% 59% 47%
2012 71% 61% 47%
2013 70% 62% 48%
2014 57% 55% 49%
2015 60% 58% 47%
2016 62% 56% 47%
2017 60% 57% 46%
2018 59% 57% 49%
2019 53% 52% 47%

Source: NRF’s 2019 Annual Valentine’s Day Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics

No, it hasn’t:

Tax Policy Center argues federal revenue declined.

Other skeptics cite surging government deficits and debt.

The brief economic spurt in 2018 was evidence of the law’s failure to help long-term growth.

Yes, it has:

None of the above arguments concludes whether the tax cut was worth its cost.

Comparing expected growth in gross domestic product with growth in publicly held federal debt — before and after the tax cut — is a better measure, according to Edward Conard, an American Enterprise Institute visiting scholar and former Bain Capital partner, writing in The Wall Street Journal. His comparison includes the long-term effect of tax reform on the economy and the federal budget.

The Congressional Budget Office last week published a 10-year forecast.

Unlike a pre-reform projection, the CBO now expects annual GDP that’s $750 billion higher by 2027, the last year of its prior forecast.

“A strong case can be made that tax reform played a predominant role in accelerating GDP growth. While most large economies stagnated last year, a sharp rise in business investment in the U.S. helped drive the economy forward,” Conard writes. “On the other side of the ledger, the CBO predicts the tax cuts will add $1.9 trillion of additional debt in the coming decade, and that the government will pay about $60 billion more in interest each year as a result. So the bottom line says an extra $60 billion a year buys the U.S. $750 billion in annual GDP. That’s a great deal for taxpayers.”

The government may collect more than $120 billion a year in taxes from that extra $750 billion of GDP, more than enough to cover additional interest payments.

Tax reform increases real, inflation-adjusted GDP by $300 billion to $450 billion a year in the coming decade compared with the CBO’s 2017 projection.
The higher GDP is much bigger than the debt the government borrowed to pay for the tax cuts (assuming a real growth rate of 1.8 percent and a real long-term U.S. government interest rate of about 1.2 percent).