As guest lists slowly get bigger and entertainment becomes more of a must-have among other luxury items, spending has increased for engaged and married couples who plan to have ceremonies and receptions in the last quarter of 2021 or 2022.
"Across the board, we are definitely seeing larger budgets for weddings now than we were over the last 18 months. Guest lists increase the cost of everything from food and beverage to rentals, decor and flowers, Rena Sweeney, the creative director at NOW Weddings Magazine, told FOX Business. "This also means larger venues are needed. Plus, vendors are in high demand due to the buildup of two years’ worth of weddings all trying to happen now."
She went on to add that not all couples will be able to secure their preferred venues or vendors, which could lead to higher price points than they originally budgeted for. However, Sweeney noted that many couples have had more time to save money during event postponements.
"They are ready to get out and celebrate, see their friends and family again and forget about the recent struggles," she said. "That means they're also often wanting to really give their guests an amazing experience, even if that means spending more money than they would have a year ago."
Similar spending habits have been observed by Cynthia Najares, who is a planner, creative coordinator and logistic manager at For All Time Events, a California-based celebration planning and coordination company.
"Weddings have increased in budget and splurging, no doubt about it," Najares said. "Grand entrances have been enhanced with all the extras, such as rooftop views, fireworks, etc. Photo and video have been booked extra hours to align with extended celebrating. I have seen couples spend anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 more than before the pandemic."
While some couples have opted to elope, have smaller celebrations or buy a home, Najares said the couples who held out on their special day are feeling the "urge to party and celebrate in a big way." Many are using their extra funds to add coronavirus safety protocols, including onsite testing and temperature checks. Others are using the opportunity to get luxe entertainment, décor and food.
"I had a couple who had a budget of $45,000 initially, which went up without hesitation to $60,000 by adding photo booths, furniture rentals, late-night bites, cocktail hour entertainment, reception entertainment and more," Najares shared. "It really has been an endless splurge in the last three months alone."
"With 2022 approaching rapidly, I can see that it will definitely be a year with the most weddings since 1984," she added, which is a prediction market researchers at The Wedding Report published in their 2021 COVID-19 Wedding Market Update this summer.
New York City-based event planning expert Louis Avanti agrees that many couples have turned over a new leaf and are investing more money into their weddings.
"Couples are splurging on larger weddings to make up for the last year and a half," said Avanti, the founder of AMG Events & Visuals. "They are spending more money locally since they are still unable or discouraged from traveling internationally for destination weddings. Vendors who provide decor, venue and attire services are all seeing an uptick in spending from each couple."
He went on, "Couples who were supposed to be married in 2021 to 2022 don't want to have regrets and have been planning for more elaborate events than they initially were going to put together. It is estimated that there will be more weddings next year than we've seen in 40 years."
According to Avanti, he’s seen couples who originally planned on having "intimate affairs" but are now opting to have larger weddings because they want to make their day "a more memorable and celebratory occasion."
In his own words, "If the pandemic taught us anything, nothing is more valuable than the memories we share with our loved ones."