Wedding celebrations have largely taken a hiatus following the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Among couples who had a fixed wedding date between March and December 2020, 47% postponed their wedding receptions, according to The Knot’s 2020 Real Weddings COVID study. The trend continued this year.
In March, New York couple Lindsay Holmes and Sean Brech pushed their wedding date back from August 2021 to May 2022. “So much was unclear at the time,” Brech said. “We wanted to postpone it until 2022 to have the best possible marriage, as we originally imagined.”
Now, as the percentage of Americans vaccinated rises and restrictions ease, the celebrations are resuming. If you’re going ahead or changing your wedding plans, here’s how to budget.
CONNECT WITH SITES AND SUPPLIERS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
The high number of couples who have postponed weddings has created a “pent-up demand” for venues and providers, says Lauren Kay, editor-in-chief of The Knot. This restricts availability and in some cases leads companies to raise prices.
If you haven’t secured the locations and services you need, start now. The longer you wait, the less flexibility you will have in choosing your preferred date or suppliers.
Amanda Berg, senior director of growth marketing for the Zola wedding planning and registration website, and her fiance Jesse Krieger stress the importance of reaching out to vendors early on. The couple – who plan to tie the knot in Bedminster, New Jersey, next spring – learned how competitive the search was when they started looking for photographers. “Some of them were already booked for May 2022, and we were doing this planning in October, November 2020,” Krieger said. “Fortunately, we got everything we wanted, in part because we were so far ahead.”
Couples who have already signed contracts should inquire about fees, restrictions or scheduling conflicts before changing their plans. You could lose a deposit when you move to a larger room or face a fee to rent additional chairs.
“Each supplier contract is going to say different things with regards to date changes, plan changes, number of guests changes. So it’s very important that you know what’s in the contract, ”Kay says.
PRIORITIZE AND REDUCE EXPENDITURE
Couples are optimistic about the possibility of meeting in person and having a larger number of guests that is more like the wedding they imagined before the pandemic, according to Kay. But as the guest list grows, so does the expense.
“This will affect not only catering costs, but also the number of chairs, centerpieces and the number of tables,” says Melanie Tindell, owner and event organizer of Oak + Honey Event Planning Co. in Cleveland.
These increasing expenses are not compatible with all budgets. If you want a bigger celebration, you may have to compromise, Kay says. Focus your spending on the things that matter most to you and reduce the others.
Berg and Krieger allocate more of their budget to a band and an open bar, and less to the details they say “nice, but don’t make or destroy a party,” like invitations and flower arrangements. .
BUDGET FOR SAFEGUARDS
The pandemic is not behind us. Venues or couples may require masks for guests, ample space for social distancing, and other precautions to ensure the health and safety of attendees. This often results in additional costs.
“If you have to keep track of who is vaccinated and who is not, this could potentially become a cost because you might want an additional vendor to take care of this,” says Tindell.
Keep up to date with local guidelines and set expectations with your venue, vendors, and guests.
Plans can change unexpectedly. Consider purchasing wedding insurance in case you need to cancel or postpone the event. Tindell says marriage insurance typically doesn’t cover coronavirus-related reasons. But he can still reimburse you for disruptions due to circumstances such as inclement weather or injury. The same goes for honeymoon travel insurance: before purchasing a policy, make sure you understand what it covers.
It’s easy to lose track of what you’re paying for and when, especially if you change your date or provider. Mark down payment due dates as you go to avoid late fees from vendors and credit card issuers.
Engaged couple Holmes and Brech also recommend keeping an expense list. “We’ve created a budgeting document to track every little thing we might need so we know there won’t be a ton of surprises when we end up having to pay something,” says Holmes.
Planning for purchases can help you estimate wedding costs and adjust your budget as needed.
This article was provided to The Associated Press by the NerdWallet personal finance website. Lauren Schwahn is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @lauren_schwahn.
NerdWallet: Here’s how much an average wedding costs http://bit.ly/NerdWallet-wedding-cost