The Average Wedding Just Hit $29,000

CNN — Weddings are back in full force. That’s the good news. But engaged couples will pay a bit more to get married in 2023.

The average cost of a wedding, nationally, this year is $29,000, $1,000 more than in 2022, according to the online wedding planning site Zola. And in some large US cities, the cost is $35,000 or more.

The price of a happily ever after is higher year after year for two reasons, Zola said: inflation and demand outpace the supply of wedding-related goods and services.

“Suppliers in the wedding industry have had to increase their rates because they are also paying more for goods and services like food, flowers and labor,” Emily Forrest, Zola’s director of communications, told CNN.

Weddings began to recover from a pandemic-induced disruption to all types of celebrations in 2022, and since then, the industry has seen a surge in demand for venues, photographers, wedding planners, florists, and wedding cakes. Add to that the Gen-Z-era desire for highly personalized weddings (hint: put on your wetsuit), and prices are rising.

The Zola report was based on a survey of 4,000 engaged couples who would marry in 2023.

The report ranked New York City at the top of the list among the most expensive cities in the US to host a wedding this year. A wedding in the Big Apple is expected to cost around $43,536, followed by San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose ($37,284), Boston ($35,902), Philadelphia ($34,111), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale ($33,622), Washington, DC ($33,199), Chicago ($32,281), and Los Angeles ($30,712).

The average guest list, according to the report, is expected to include between 130 and 150 guests.

But Esther Lee, deputy editor at The Knot, a wedding planning and vendor marketplace company, said the guest list for some weddings could be getting tighter.

“In 2022, we saw an average of 117 wedding guests, but in 2023 we found that 39% of couples are cutting back on their guest list. It’s no surprise that people are prioritizing more intimate ceremonies this year,” she said.

Unique weddings having a moment

Less traditional can sometimes mean less expensive, experts said. David’s Bridal, a leading bridal gown retailer, said his business has been hit by the number of brides wearing casual or vintage gowns. But unique can also inflate costs.

“Unique weddings are having a moment with the onset of hyper-personalization, which means couples are pulling out influences more meaningful to them and infusing these touches into the details of their wedding day,” said The Knot’s Lee.

“For example, history buffs are lately interested in an antique-themed wedding or honeymoon that might include reading an ancient book or coin motifs from the Byzantine or Roman empires.”

Pinterest said it has an indication of another trend. He said searches for alternative weddings, especially underwater weddings, have increased 305% on his platform. “Underwater weddings are a great example of the offbeat wedding searches we’re seeing on the platform right now,” said Jenna Landi, director of brand research at Pinterest.

“Although it’s a bit challenging from a logistical standpoint, it should be interesting to see the data for underwater weddings in 2023,” he said. “It may be of sudden interest due to the live action version of Disney’s The little Mermaid. “

Wedding photographer Kimber Greenwood, who specializes in underwater wedding photography, is contracted to shoot 20 of them this year. “There has been a huge jump in interest,” she said.

Greenwood, a trained scuba diver based in Gainesville, Florida, offers a package through her adventure photography business, Water Bear Photography, that includes an officiant, a dress for the event (but not to keep), flowers, and photography by $3,000.

“I have never had a couple say they have regretted the experience,” he said.

When asked who foots the bill for weddings, Zola’s report showed that 33% of couples said they are contributing in some way to their wedding budgets, but another 16% said they are paying for their wedding. account.

The wedding industry should enjoy the recovery because it may not last. Jewelers report that because far fewer brides or grooms have met their matches during the Covid-19 lockdown era, the recent engagement rate is well below.

The CNN Wire
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