Inflation is crushing wedding budgets, guests are being cut

“The initial budget seems to have ballooned very quickly, as we had planned,” Jamaicia said. Louis, a public health scientist who got married in Miami in April.

“Our original wedding budget was $50,000 to $60,000 for nearly 200 guests, but we almost doubled it.” I had to resort to using it.”

But on top of the strain of a skyrocketing wedding budget, plus the costs associated with the new home Louis and husband Jamal recently purchased in Atlanta, more drastic measures had to be considered.

Ultimately, they decided to limit the number of guests to 150. “That was the hard truth, but we couldn’t push the budget any further.”

Breaking the news was a “difficult conversation,” she said.

“For the most part, we’ve had a good response,” Lewis said, though some of the uninvited guests expressed plans to attend regardless.

“I just said, ‘I’ll be safe,'” she said, noting that she and her husband briefly thought about the possibility of using wristbands to deter wedding breakers. But in the end they did allow a small number of unauthorized guests to stay. “Weddings take on a life of their own. People feel it’s their day as well.”

Plans stalled due to rising costs

Many newlyweds and soon-to-be couples have installation costs on their heads. The Knot, which conducts an annual survey of wedding trends, including size and cost, found that nearly half of couples who got married last year have reduced the number of guests. The traditional wedding, which had 105 guests, averaged $34,000, about the same as the $33,900 reported in 2019, when the average number of guests was 131.

Inflation has continued to rise since then, and the sticker shock is palpable. Couples are looking for cheaper alternatives for everything from entree to entree to bargain more. engagement ringto reduce costs wherever possible.

“The cost of a wedding is staggering,” said Courtney Collins, a nurse in Rutland, Vermont, who has 130 weddings planned for September. I thought, ‘I’m not going to spend 80 grand on my wedding.’ [but] I could have easily spent around $80,000 without adding more. ”

Collins hopes to keep the total cost below $40,000 by limiting the bar’s opening during receptions and enlisting artist friends to help with the invitations and decorations.

“Everything has skyrocketed since the pandemic,” said Leah T. Williams, owner of the eponymous flower and event design firm with offices in West Palm Beach and New York City. And microweddings are all the rage.”

Designers say flower prices have skyrocketed due to sluggish demand, as well as bad weather and political turmoil in several major export markets. Roses that may have cost 80 cents a stem now cost him as much as $3 apiece, and Williams’ signature flower has been a major influence in his arrangements.

“Three dollars doesn’t seem like much when you’re getting one, but when you’re getting $6,000, it’s a big deal. Give someone a quote for $8,000.” , $14,000,” she said.

“These markups are insane,” Williams said, adding that even the cost of supplies doubled.

For example, a roll of floral tape that was around $4 in early 2020 is now around $12.

From dream wedding fantasies to financial nightmares

Wedding planners say their job is always to reconcile fairytale ideals with real-world budgets.

Before the pandemic, Fallon Carter, owner of New York City and Los Angeles-based Fallon Carter Events, said the typical price per chair at rental companies was around $15. “I’m renting a $40 chair right now,” she said.

Many couples think of costs in terms of cost per meal from caterers and venues. A $150 a plate dinner would be closer to $1,500 per person, she said.

Table setting at the wedding of Jamaica and Jamal.

With weddings postponed to 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic still being rescheduled, supplies and labor for goods ranging from rental furniture and linens to food and flowers are still highly constrained. All these rebooked events mean venues that previously may have hosted one or two weddings a week on weekends are now fully booked on weekdays as well. .

Social media fantasies can also create unrealistic expectations, planners say. “They are going through quite a bit of sticker shock because they don’t know how much something they see on Instagram or TikTok will cost,” said owner and owner of New York wedding and event design firm Ohnicki Occasions. Creative Director Oniki Hardman said. City and Palm Beach, Florida.

When New Jersey attorney Janae’ Hunte got engaged to her husband in late 2020, she originally planned a wedding budget of $60,000 to $80,000. double take.

“We got the flower bill back and it was about $20,000,” she said. Her final estimate for renting furniture, linens, and tableware was more than double her $8,000 budget, and the couple’s rehearsal menu for her dinner jumped nearly 30 percent.

“I ended up choosing a color scheme to match the chairs I had in stock,” she said. “The other thing we’ve done is cut down on chargers and silverware…and we’ve cut down on most rentals, except for linens.”

“We could have cut or scaled back a lot,” said Hunte, but with a guest list of 150, the savings were limited. The tally was “just” $120,000.

“It’s not the vendor’s fault, it’s not the wedding planner’s fault, it’s just one of them,” she said. I don’t know if I will get it.”

miniaturization and digitization

Vendors such as planners and photographers say haggling has increased and events appear to be shrinking.

“We don’t just sell services anymore,” says Hardtman. “We need to educate them on how we can save them money in the long run.”

Chris Todd Griffiths, co-owner of Christopher Todd Studios in Orange County, California, said: “Budgets are completely under pressure. It is,” he said.

Griffiths also said it seems more couples are scaling back their weddings. he said. “I’ve done a few big weddings that ended up being smaller. They’re shaving their guest list.”

“I want to tell people that the number of guests needs to be a realistic number at this point,” Carter said. , makeup, flowers, and gifts can add up quickly.

America's small businesses are running out of workers

Collins expects about 130 guests for her September wedding. “If I did it my way with all the friends I wanted, it would be bigger. [but] I can’t afford a wedding for 200 people. ”

A pandemic-era stand-in where large gatherings have been scaled back, Zoom celebrations have been repurposed as a way to include larger groups of friends and relatives without the expense of in-person events. Had already planned to virtually toast their champagne glasses on their wedding day for distant or immunocompromised relatives who could not attend in person, but since the pandemic, it has been a more closely-knit group of friends. I had a hard time getting rid of it.

Adding another $1,200 to the budget wasn’t the beginning, she approached her friend with another offer. “I have second parties and it’s a lot cheaper,” she said, adding that the response she’d received was positive: “People were really looking forward to even being invited.” rice field.”

Some of these solutions are As it likely won’t become a wedding tradition, some industry experts believe the pandemic has reset societal expectations and that another party, virtual event, or cancellation of an invitation may not be what they might have. I feel that it is felt to the extent that it does not represent a failure to break certain norms. 5 years ago.

“Thankfully, the specific circumstances of the pandemic have made it more acceptable to invite people to weddings or have secondary celebrations via Zoom, for example,” Hardman said. said.

Even celebrities are choosing to keep low-key if Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s recent whirlwind wedding took place at the Las Vegas Chapel Any sign.

That’s good news for couples planning to get married, according to industry experts.

“I personally don’t think prices will go down to the levels we saw pre-pandemic,” Williams said. “The market recognizes and understands that we are in a multi-billion dollar industry. I think they’re trying to take advantage of that as much as possible.”


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