Wedding costs

Wedding Costs Jump as Couples Rush to Get Married During Pandemic

Experts lay out what you need to know if you’re trying to tie the knot anytime soon.

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Couples across North Texas are ready to walk down this aisle after trying to wait out the pandemic.

New marriages in the United States are expected to jump by more than 50% this year, according to industry research firm The Wedding Report.

Planners, vendors, and venues say they are overwhelmed with the demand, which has caused prices to skyrocket.

Venues are trying to accommodate couples that have had dates pushed back once, twice, or even three times because of the pandemic. Vendors are dealing with staffing issues, which in turn significantly raises costs.

So, some couples are afraid to wait any longer to have that dream wedding. 

"We had all the vendors in place, venue and all that stuff. And for different reasons, including the virus, the lockdown and all that, we had to postpone," said newlywed Emmanuel Aguh.  

“I really didn't ever want it to be postponed,” said newlywed Nakachi Aguh. “For me, when I get a date in my head, that's it, that's final. I don't really want much wiggle from there. I really don't want to adjust much.”

Between family trying to get to North Texas from Nigeria, and different COVID protocols and travel restrictions, Emmanuel and Nakachi Aguh had to postpone their dream wedding twice. They finally tied the knot this past August, but it wasn't easy. And yes, it did cost them a lot more than they had budgeted.

Stanley Babb | Stanlo Photography
Photo courtesy Stanley Babb of Stanlo Photography, www.stanlophotography.com

“We already had a budget from the get-go, regarding the first date, and having to push it, some vendors are asking for extra, because, hey, that wasn’t part of the contract in the first place, so to have to give them a new date, they had to ask for extra money,” said Emmanuel. “Some vendors canceled and said, 'hey, we’re sorry. Your deposit is gone. You had a $450 deposit, and you have to look for a new vendor, pay a new deposit.'”

The Aguh’s wedding planner, Jewel Odeyemi of Touch of Jewel Events & Designs, said the industry is simply overwhelmed right now.   

“I plan about 15, 20 weddings a year, and out of those, about 10 were postponed to 2021. And so now, you have a backlog of all the 2020 weddings coming, hitting you all at once, plus juggling the current clients that booked for 2021 as well,” said Jewel Odeyemi.  

Plus, the fear of any new COVID-19 cases only further complicates what is already a strenuous and expensive planning process.

“So it's a mad process. You have vendors that are overly booked. They are taking a little bit longer to get back (to) inquires and to get back correspondence to our clients, and then you have the new clients that are planning for 2022 and 2023. They're also hitting you up with new clients and inquiries and you have the past ones, the current ones, and the future,” said Odeyemi.

“It was a lot. It was a lot of stress because imagine having to go through the whole process over and over again because you had to switch vendors, because not all vendors would be available,” said Emmanuel.  

If and when you do find a vendor for your desired wedding date, it will most likely cost you more. So, experts have some advice for keeping wedding costs as low as possible such as:

  • Replacing professional bartenders and decorators with friends.
  • Looking into suburban venues instead of city ones.
  • Trimming the guest list, sometimes cutting it in half.
  • Marrying in an off-peak month.
  • Scheduling the wedding on a Sunday or weekday.

The Aguh couple said they learned a lot during what was a nearly 4-year engagement, but say it was worth it. Their advice: Listen to your vendors, listen to your planners, and be extremely flexible in your planning.

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