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Just Hitched

COVID-19 may have put the wedding industry on hold, but as the saying goes, love conquers all. So it’s no surprise that all the proposals from the last couple of years have turned into ‘I dos’ this year.

Weddings are celebrated in all cultures across the globe, in one form or another, as the formation of the basis of a family. This universal appeal makes the wedding industry a behemoth that trumps all other event types in both size and revenue. 

For the singles out there, this sector covers a lot more than you’d expect. Subdivided into several smaller ones, it includes catering, venues, clothing, beauty supplies and services, photographers, gifts, event planners, flowers, music, and much more

In 2019, the average price tag for a wedding was US$24,679 in the U.S. and A$25,679 in Australia. Keep in mind that this excludes the cost of the rings (average engagement ring spend: US$5,900 and A$5,364, respectively) and the honeymoon.

Then the pandemic came, suspending all kinds of gatherings globally, weddings included. But as restrictions subsided in 2022, a ‘post-pandemic’ wedding boom saw a huge uptick in the number of couples tying the knot. 

In the U.S. alone, over $60b was poured into the industry in 2022, almost 20% more than pre-Covid numbers. The number of weddings topped 2.6m; that’s the highest since 1984, almost 30% more than the 2.02m in 2019, and over double the 1.68m ceremonies in the first year of COVID lockdowns. In Australia, the numbers hit 170,000 for 2022, compared to just 113,815 back in 2019. 

Unfortunately for lovebirds, the wedding industry wasn’t spared from global inflation and supply chain issues. Shortages in venues and suppliers have resulted in many celebrations happening on a weekday, with the typical American wedding now costing around US$27,000. Lower discretionary incomes have also led more couples to opt for lab-grown diamond rings instead. Even wedding guests had to mind their budget, being invited to more weddings this year and, in the U.S., spending about US$550 on each.

While the Year of the Weddings is coming to an end, 2023 is forecast to be just as busy. With inflation issues spilling into the new year, our wish to the brides and grooms is that celebrating love doesn’t have to cause such a big dent in their wallets.