Those planning an upcoming wedding are planning for the biggest day of their lives. But couples-to-be, their families and guests could face serious sticker shock this year, as inflation hits the wedding industry.
Consultants are trying to find affordable dresses for nervous couples at bridal shops everywhere, stunned by recent price hikes.
Bride-to-be Madison Cox is struggling to keep costs in check.
"It's crazy; it's really expensive, for sure," she said. "Stuff has gone up a lot, even compared to people who got married a few years ago."
How much more you may pay
According to the wedding website The Knot, the average gown is now almost $1,900, up from an average of $1,600 before the pandemic.
Tina Minshall, manager of a popular dress shop, Bridal and Formal, says manufacturers are hitting her with rising labor, shipping and silk costs.
"They are just now passing on the price increases they have had the past two years," Minshall said.
She is trying to absorb as much of it as she can without passing those costs along to brides. But it's not just bridal gowns and bridesmaids' dresses that are seeing price hikes this year.
Couples planning for a sit-down dinner should prepare for $75 a guest, according to The Knot's latest survey.
The average photographer is now $2,500 — a price that shocked grandmother Sandra Ashby.
"We were talking thousands of dollars for photography," she said. "Not just $1,000 or $1,500 as it was when my daughters got married."
Even those who are just guests aren't off the hook, either. A setting of fine china dinnerware is now almost $100, and many guests now pay upwards of $200 for their gifts, according to recent surveys.
Minshall says to be prepared for higher prices everywhere.
"The cost of food has gone up, the price of rentals has gone up, gas prices, and that effects everything when you are planning a wedding," she said.
Ways to keep costs down
To keep costs down, Minshall suggests that brides look for marked-down, off-the-rack dresses or visit a shop during a trunk show when sellers have dozens of dresses out on display available for purchase.
She also suggests planning a year ahead. Six months is no longer enough time to order a gown in many cases and is not enough time to find a nice wedding venue, especially with vendors now overbooked due to postponed weddings.
"When I was looking for my venue, there just were two weekends available for 2022," Cox said.
Cox and her fiancé are just glad they locked in some decent prices last year.
Finally, to keep venue costs down, skip Saturdays during peak season. Plan a Friday night wedding or a Sunday afternoon wedding — which can really keep bar costs down. That way, you don't waste your money.
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