“People were postponing, first from July to September, and then they realized the further you put it off, the higher the odds were that it would happen,” Brisk said.
Brisk said in Chicago, the total tab for a formal wedding celebration with 150 guests can run around $80,000, but most wedding planners will try to help couples create an event that meets their personal tastes within a more modest budget.
Indeed, while Brisk said couples pre-pandemic typically spent around 45% of their budget on food and drinks, those costs have risen to at least 55% or more of total spending, with steep labor shortages finding some hotels and caterers “monumentally understaffed.”
“There is less, but still there is some room for negotiations as the food costs are increasing,” Brisk said. “The other big issue across the entire industry is labor — so much of the events, wedding, catering (and) lighting production staff found other careers and now work in other fields that are not weekends, and more of the 9-to-5 work.”
“You might be a caterer who typically books 10 to 15 events on a weekend, and now, you have to stop at six, because you just don’t have enough employees, and it’s not worth it to take the business and ruin your reputation, and maybe ruin someone’s night or wedding,” Brisk said.
Couples also need to be aware of supply-chain shortages. Brisk said she has heard of shortfalls of men’s suits — and said she is “all about ordering attire as early as possible across the board.”
To be sure, the pandemic’s impact on the wedding industry the past two years has been significant, with a 2021 survey of 468 wedding vendors finding most were able to service less than 25% of working dates in 2020, and 32% reporting an estimated financial loss of more than $50,000, according to the website for Zola, an online wedding registry, wedding planner and retailer.
This year’s outlook is more hopeful.
In a recent Zola survey of 3,309 couples planning 2022 celebrations, 68% of couples report inviting 100 or more people and two-thirds said they have increased their budgets since they started planning.
The survey also found couples being “super-specific” when it comes to their themes and wedding colors, as well as expanding their guest lists. They are “being really thoughtful when it comes to kids, +1′s, and how their relationships with friends and family have changed,” according to the website.