There’s no doubt that 2022 was an enormous year for weddings.
Millions of couples who delayed or outright cancelled their wedding plans during the COVID-19 pandemic decided to tie the knot after pandemic restrictions fell away. As case-counts dropped, weddings came back on a nearly unprecedented scale.
As many as 2.5 million weddings took place last year, according to a sample collected by The New York Times, up from 2.2 million in 2019, the year before the pandemic began. That’s the most since 1984—leaving some big shoes to fill for 2023.
This year, The Wedding Report predicts a dip, though not much. The industry market researcher is projected some 2.4 million celebrations season.
But it’s not all smooth sailing for couples looking to tie the knot. Even as restrictions of the pandemic drift further and further from from mind, there’s a new problem standing in the way of prospective newlyweds: inflation.
Weddings are not immune to rising prices, and the cost of the event—already trending upward—is on the rise, The Wedding Report found.
According to the firm, 2021 saw 1.93 million weddings at an average cost of $22,500. In 2022, the average price tag rose to $24,300. Though demand is expected to slip slightly in 2023, prices aren’t. The Wedding Report expects the average wedding cost to approach $25,000, reaching $24,900.
Rising costs are present a dilemma for couples, many of whom are ready to party. Early indications are that many are forging ahead anyway. Case-in-point: Large-scale weddings—often abandoned over COVID-19 concerns—are making a comeback.
A survey by TheKnot.com, a popular wedding-planning website, predicts the average wedding in 2023 will have around 115 guests, moving back towards pre-pandemic highs, but still hemmed in by inflationary concerns. (The highest number? That goes back to before the Great Recession, when couples averaged 153 guests in 2007.)
One thing that is for sure about the 2023 wedding season is that anything goes. With traditional wedding ceremonies being adapted in the last few years for the COVID-19 pandemic, brides and grooms are looking to get back to the swing of weddings with a more adaptable, personalized experience.
Local wedding photographer Jenni Franklin expects to see big, bold choices in the year ahead, like ‘maximalist’ ensembles, long, intricate veils and “fairy tale”-style dresses—all trends that have come and gone through the years that are now finding favor with brides-to-be.
With the flowers, look for bigger bridal bouquets, despite the price for quality arrangements.
“Having big wedding bouquets is back,” Franklin said, “Bigger bridal bouquets and big floral is making a comeback. I’ve seen weddings where the bridal parties are holding bouquets as large as the bride.”
Bright color palettes, unique and personalized centerpiece decor and locally-grown flowers are all on trend this season. One new addition that has come about recently is for couples to place small pictures of loved ones who have passed away in bouquets to bring along on the special day.
Keep an eye out for pink, peach, green, purple and cream-colored flowers. As for weddings that may occur later in the summer, orange, red and yellow are always in style. Of course, for fall weddings, color palettes for flowers generally trend towards orange, yellow, green and red.
Factors such as quantity, location and time of year dictate the price of the floral arrangements, and costs can vary wildly, according to Wedding Wire, another online planning tool. The site estimated that an average wedding will spend between $700-$2,500 on floral arrangements in 2023.
Even with the grand visions of large dresses, long veils and huge bouquets, couples are also prioritizing sustainability. More and more, weddings seek to minimize ecological impacts from the celebration, reducing the event’s carbon footprint. Many couples are transitioning away from plastic cutlery, dishes and drinkware during the reception. Some have gone a step further, moving away from plastic utensils to feature to more personalized, sustainable tableware, such as inscribed wooden cups, plates and cutlery.
Eco-friendly invitations, sustainably sourced diamonds, recycled or reused decor and outdoor weddings have all become popular ways for newlyweds to have the wedding experience of their dreams, while feeling good about reducing the ecological impact of their celebrations.
Franklin says that despite all the intricacies of planning a wedding and all the changes that weddings go through on a year-to-year basis, it’s important for the couples to remember that weddings—at their core are a celebration of a union between two people and two families.
“I tell my brides that no matter what trends, or however they want their wedding to go, not to lose sight of what they are really celebrating,” Franklin said. “It’s two families coming together. A union, and a love for each other. If you don’t want the big stuff, some couples are simply doing it their way. ” ￼
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