The Pandemic Postponed Weddings, Now Inflation Is Making It Hard To Attend

Wedding guests clinking glasses while the newlyweds drinking champagne in the background.
Halfpoint / Getty Images/iStockphoto

With the pandemic changing so many everyday work and home routines, its easy to forget that many people were forced to put the breaks on really big life events over the past two years. According to the Wedding Report’s 2021 COVID-19 wedding update survey, there will be close to 2.5 million weddings taking place in the U.S. this year.

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Given the large number of wedding postponements that happened during the pandemic, this year’s wedding total is the biggest it’s been since 1984. Due to the highest inflation rate in 40 years, the average amount spent per wedding is expected to rise almost $2,000 to $24,300 in 2022, up from 2021’s average of $22,500, according to the study.

This increased wedding cost parallels hikes in spending for guests, too. According to a Credit Karma study published in May, 73% of wedding attendees claim that inflation is causing a negative impact on their capacity to join in the fun at weddings and wedding-related events this year. Additionally, 69% of wedding goers say they expect to use buy-now-pay-later services to pay for wedding expenses like travel, accommodation, attire and gifts.

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The study, conducted by The Harris Group, posed a series of questions to over 2,000 individuals, more than half of whom are planning on attending a wedding in 2022. The average number of weddings an attendee will go to this year is 2.5, with an average spend of $1,004 per guest.

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“Weddings are expensive, not only for the hosts, but also their guests,” says Colleen McCreary, Credit Karma’s consumer financial advocate. “The problem is, even before the pandemic, most people didn’t think to create a budget specifically for weddings they plan to attend. Now, with weddings back on the books, many people’s calendars are filling up fast and their wallets are struggling to keep pace.”

One-third of survey responders (33%) state that the fear of missing out is the primary factor in attending a wedding even if they cannot afford to. According to Bloomberg, invited guests grudgingly have to tighten their budgets or go into debt to attend a wedding. Many will have to decline an invitation outright.

Invitees will have tough decisions and serious planning on their plates when it comes to declining or accepting a wedding invitation in 2022. Given the current economic climate, expect more people to be caught in the unfortunate situation of having to choose between going into substantial debt to attend a friend or loved one’s wedding, or potentially offending them by not accepting the RSVP.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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