This year is likely to be an active one for wedding planners and couples alike as pandemic-induced postponements all but subside.
But the 2022 wedding season arrives as inflation hits a 40-year high, having climbed 8.5 percent in March compared with one year ago. And some wedding-related items in particular are seeing explosive price hikes.
Combined, it's shaping up to be a pricey knot-tying season.
“Right now, consumers are feeling the impact of inflation across every industry, the weddings industry included,” said Emily Forrest Skurnik, director of communications for weddings company Zola.
The price of suits, sport coats and outerwear climbed 14.5 percent in March, year-on-year on a seasonally unadjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday. Dresses, meanwhile, climbed 10.1 percent.
While jewelry price increases were much less dramatic — growing 2.8 percent year-on-year — if you were planning on holding or attending a destination wedding this year, you will likely be shelling out more for flights: airline fares increased 23.6 percent in March compared with one year ago, the BLS said.
The majority of wedding vendors, like caterers and florists, are also feeling the inflationary squeeze, Forrest Skurnick said. Each is having to respond to higher prices in everything from food ingredients to flowers to gas prices.
The Knot, a planning website for people figuring out their nuptials, published a report in 2021 noting that with 2.6 million weddings expected this year, simple demand for wedding services is also pushing up prices. The website found 90 percent of guests were willing to spend more on attending a wedding in 2021, "demonstrating pent-up demand to get back to celebrating," it said. It found guests were already spending $160 on average on a wedding gift in 2021, compared with $120 in 2019; while the average overall cost of attending a wedding climbed to $460 from $430 in 2019.
According to Zola's annual First Look Report, approximately one-third of couples are now budgeting at least $20,000 for their wedding, with two-thirds saying they increased their budgets since they started planning. The report was published in January.
"As we prepare for one of the busiest wedding seasons ever, with couples planning with more excitement and intention than ever before after longer-than-average engagements and guest lists growing again, we recommend that couples work closely with their vendor teams to navigate this challenge," Forrest Skurnick said.
"Vendors often have the best tips for how to navigate particular industry challenges, such as which flowers are within a specific floral budget range, which meal options are going to be most economical and where else to save."