Millions said “I do” in 2022. After a couple years of postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported 2.6 million couples got married this year.
Early this year, Zola released its First Look Report 2022. Zola, the one-stop wedding planning website, surveyed 3,309 couples to figure out priorities, feelings, budgets, themes, values and what makes weddings different than before. Emily Forrest, director of communications at Zola, joined GOBankingRates to look back on the big picture in wedding spending throughout this year, and trends to anticipate for those tying the knot in 2023.
The Surprising Wedding Spend Shift
In Zola’s First Look Report 2022, weddings were anticipated to cost anywhere from $5k to $100k this year. Forrest said most budgets fall between the $20k to $30k range. Some budgets were closer to $10k and others were closer to $40k.
According to the report, many couples getting married in 2022 had been engaged for some time, with the majority of couples engaged for an average 18 months. They had also signed contracts in advance for vendors and other key wedding expenses.
What shifted in 2022 was not the total spend, but rather prioritization of spend within the budget. Forrest said couples looking to save often made different cost-cutting choices. Instead of mailing out traditional invitations, some opted for digital save-the-dates. Others elected to have fewer floral arrangements or even decided to go a more thrifty route with their wedding looks and décor.
Spending With Intention
Many costs associated with weddings naturally increased in a year marked by skyrocketing inflation. As evidenced by the number of couples who still tied the knot, inflation did not stop weddings from happening this year. Instead, couples spent their dollars with extra thought and intention.
Forrest uses the example of how the cost of butter increased this year. This price hike was felt by a person at a grocery store as much as it was felt by a bakery making a beautiful wedding cake. “It makes sense some wedding vendors, who are usually small business owners, have to tick their prices just a bit.”
Cost-conscious behavior extended beyond the purposes of inflation too. This year, Forrest said there has been a huge trend toward upcycling. It saves extra money, and it is sustainable.
The practice of spending with intention was not solely designated for the wedding day either.
“We see couples acting in a very cost-conscious way as they host all of the events surrounding their weddings, such as they are maybe a bit less willing to splurge on every element for their bachelor/ette party,” said Forrest.
A Peek at 2023 Wedding Costs
Forrest was kind enough to share an exclusive look at Zola’s First Look Report 2023 with us.
Couples planning to wed in 2023 will continue differentiating their weddings, even from weddings held over the past two years. The First Look Report 2023 surveyed over 4,000 Zola couples with most responding they feel absolutely certain about who to marry.
Wedding budgets are anticipated to remain steady at around $20k to $40k, and while inflation will increase some costs, it is not a contributing factor to overall budgets or wedding guest counts.
Couples who see an increase in costs for 2023 weddings will echo Forrest’s earlier sentiments and spend their dollars with intention and thought. Though the best policy is still honesty. Forrest recommends couples be open and honest with their vendors about their budgets and work together for this special day.
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