The pandemic has forced many people to take a closer look at their finances and find out where their money is being spent. The Knot 2020 Actual Marriage Study reflects this, detailing how this new mindset has affected the price of weddings. The report shows that the average cost of a wedding today is $ 19,000, down about 32% from 2019. Fewer attendees and smaller ceremonies have helped couples save overall , but many have chosen to reinvest those funds in their guest’s experience, with the average cost per guest rising to $ 244 from $ 214 the year before. This shift in spending gives couples a unique opportunity to choose new or grander items that they might not have considered when the overall cost of weddings was higher. Here are some areas where couples splurge.
No matter the size of the wedding, flowers are continually a staple, transforming the scene and popping into a photograph. With the smaller weddings of 2020, couples maximized their budgets by stepping away from multiple screens to fill the space and using fewer arrangements that had more impact and left an impression.
“People seem to be focusing their floral budgets on bigger focal points and / or a juicy bridal bouquet rather than scattering flowers all over the place,” says Noelle Parent, owner of Blue Sage Bride. “With a smaller guest list, you don’t have to have dozens of centerpieces when you can opt for over-the-top floral decoration at your small ceremony.”
The size and number of arrangements weren’t the only changes. Couples have also moved away from traditional styles, choosing more unique pairs instead.
“We’re seeing a lot more requests for blue this year – thistle, delphinium, muscari, anemone with the dark blue center,” says Brenna Coady, floral designer at Flowers and finds from the strawberry fields. “We’re also seeing a lot more runaway size weddings where the bride asks for a simple color palette without floral requests, and we as designers can choose the best seasonal flowers available to work with.”
It seems entirely appropriate that the non-traditional celebrations of the past year are carried over into more unique flower arrangements in the future.
This symbol of unity remains an important aspect of engagements and weddings, but now couples are looking to budget more money for a ring that speaks to them.
Rather than paying for the “4 C’s” (cut, color, clarity, and carat), COVID has given many a new perspective on their priorities when shopping for rings. It has become more important that wearable symbols of love represent personal style and adhere to individual values.
“It’s not necessarily a big diamond, but rather the design,” says Parent. “We’ve seen a trend to make rings smaller and uniquely designed by local jewelry designers or vintage rings, which is a wonderful way to support small businesses.”
The co-owner of Urban Bride Set and the creative director of The Hive Wedding Collective, Christine Haines Greenberg has also seen a change in the way bride and groom consciously select their jewelry.
“A lot of our customers are thinking more and more about where their rings come from,” she says. “Many choose to find local black-owned businesses for their wedding jewelry instead of buying from a big box store. For many people, being in their 40s in 2020 has given them more time to reflect and become more aware of where they are investing their money. “
Whether it’s allocating extra funds or staying on a budget, couples can justify the cost when purchasing the rings that best represent them.
Photo and video
While photography has always been paramount in preserving wedding memories, new emphasis has been placed on capturing and sharing the big day. With fewer guests in attendance, family and friends relied on images and videos to experience the wedding of their loved ones.
Haines Greenberg says, “Our clients hire a photographer with a second shooter or [more] and a team of videographers. she says.
Photography isn’t the only method couples use to capture their big day. According to The Knot, 17% of weddings nationwide were celebrated exclusively via livestream in 2020, and companies have pivoted to include that in their offerings.
Livestreaming is a Cory Tapia service, owner of Creative persistence, provided occasionally in the past, but in 2020 it received more requests for it.
“I used to give it away, and no one asked for it, but as soon as COVID hit everyone asked for it,” Tapia explains. “It’s a good addition because you have people who can’t come from abroad or an older population who can’t come because of COVID, and you want them to feel at least a little bit safe. to be a part of.”
Wedding reduced or not, it’s clear that capturing every special moment remains a priority.
The Knot study found that among those who decided not to postpone their wedding to 2020, 42% turned their ceremony into an intimate “minimonie.” But having fewer guests doesn’t necessarily mean a smaller venue.
“Before COVID, the guest list had to match the location,” says Parent, “but now it’s not uncommon to have a guest list of 20 people in a large area.”
For couples looking to splurge on venue size, most also want the most bang for their buck.
“The trend for venues is getting closer and closer to all-inclusive every year,” says Haines Greenberg. “It’s no surprise that the more amenities that are included, the more popular a venue will be. ”
Sites in the region have picked up on this trend and adjusted their business plans accordingly.
“Many sites now offer micro-wedding packages that include almost all of the vendors needed for a small party,” says Parent. She expects the trend of smaller, more intimate affairs to persist for good.
“If we’ve learned anything from COVID, it’s that people are going to get married regardless of the circumstances,” she said. “We have just been reminded that there is no right way to get married as long as you are with the one you love.”
Finding the perfect wedding ensemble is a rite of passage for every bride. So when the overall cost of the wedding is lower, the brides can reallocate those funds to the dress of their dreams.
“When it comes to dresses, the rules have been overturned,” says Parent. “If a bride wants to wear a gorgeous gown to a backyard wedding because she had to change her wedding from 200 to 20, who’s going to tell her she can’t?”
Parent and Haines Greenberg have seen the full range of trends lately in their living rooms; everything from short dresses and colorful dresses to ensembles with unexpected silhouettes and accents like capes or feathers. But keeping it simple has gained popularity.
“Think of Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Meghan Markle,” says Haines Greenberg. “Sleek, upscale and well-designed dresses that don’t distract.”
To achieve this look, brides may need to prioritize the dress when deciding where to splurge in their wedding budget. High-end, well-designed dresses often come at a price. The average cost of a dress is around $ 1,600, with many factors affecting the overall cost, such as material, beading, embroidery, or alterations. And some designer dresses can fetch over $ 8,000.
When it comes to dress, brides want something that they love to wear that can look back in photos and smile.
Between the importance of sanitation and decreasing the number of guests, couples have changed the way food is served at the reception. The caterers have gone out of their way to ensure that customers are well fed without the buffet.
“People are getting creative when it comes to food safety, with things like individual cold cuts for cocktail hour and cupcakes or mini desserts instead of having a big cake that should be cut and served.” , explains Parent.
Haines Greenberg has seen similar offerings with pre-poured cocktails, plates with multiple protein options, and individually wrapped treats instead of buffets or dessert bars.
She has also noticed a move away from big reception dances in favor of food-focused celebrations, including cocktails and dinner on the plate.
“More and more guests are having fun in their place,” says Haines Greenberg, “so our couples are really investing in the table design and in more individual servings of food, multi-course meals, jazz music. at dinner. ”
Having fewer guests makes those thoughtful touches accessible, and food is one area where couples are more willing to spend big to make sure their friends and family are safe and enjoying the evening.
Given travel restrictions and safety precautions, destination honeymoons were mostly put on hold in 2020, but it also allowed couples to get creative with their travel plans.
Travel agent Geri B. Jones at Focus on travel couples spend an average of $ 5,000 to $ 10,000 on their honeymoon, including accommodation, food and drink, excursions, and travel. However, this average cost has increased over the past year due to the pandemic.
Amanda Roberts, travel agent and owner of Holiday chic, saw couples splurging on vacation because they incurred no other travel expenses during the year.
In 2020, most of Jones and Roberts’ customers have switched to domestic travel, and Roberts sees this new trend continuing after COVID.
“I don’t think the minimoon or staycation is going to go away completely,” she says. “I think a lot of couples are now open to doing something similar, provided it still has the potential to create great memories.”
Jones, on the other hand, believes couples will continue to spend a lot on travel now that things are opening up again.
“My clients are eager to travel,” she says. “I think travelers will be making impulse purchases more than ever. “