Courtnie Alvear-Beceiro and Alex Klebba set aside $15,000 for their upcoming wedding on May 21.
For a venue, they had settled on a friend’s brownstone in Manhattan, thinking it would help them stay within budget. But after meeting with vendors, the couple learned that because of rising inflation, the cost of food, labor and other services would require them to spend more than twice the amount they had allocated for the 50-person event.
“Every vendor had the same explanation as the last: ‘Due to Covid, we’ve had to increase costs,’” said Ms. Alvear-Beceiro, 32, a director of brand marketing for Haven’s Kitchen in New York, a purveyor of fresh sauces.
Ms. Alvear-Beceiro and Mr. Klebba, 33, a radiologist, had already asked guests to save their date, so they kept it. But they changed the location of their wedding to another venue, a brownstone in Brooklyn, which included catering, flowers and décor in the booking fee. They also decided not to hire a DJ, asking their guests to include a song request with their RSVP instead.
Despite not paying extra for food, decorations and music, the price still topped $30,000.
“It was disappointing at first,” Ms. Alvear-Beceiro said of changing their plans only to arrive at a similar total cost. “But the silver lining is that we’re getting the wedding that we both wanted, and the venue takes care of everything so it’s a lot less stressful.”
According to a study published in May 2021 by Zola, a wedding planning site, a third of the 468 participating wedding vendors reported losses of $50,000 or more because of postponements in 2020. In February, another Zola survey of 16 vendors nationwide found that about 13 had raised their costs since 2020, said Amanda Shur, a spokeswoman for the site.
The combination of client cancellations and supply-chain shortages caused by the pandemic, some business owners say, has necessitated raising the prices of their goods and services as they try to recoup lost revenue and stay profitable.
Read more about the 2022 wedding boom in our ongoing Year of the Wedding series.
Amy McCord, the owner of Flower Moxie, a company in Oklahoma City, Okla., that wholesales flowers in bulk to people who would rather not hire a florist, said her business has not been immune to the labor and logistics issues that have resulted in a global flower shortage.
With flower farms and importers still not operating at their prepandemic levels, Ms. McCord said businesses like hers have seen the price of blooms increase by three to four times the normal rate.
A large bridal bouquet now averages $300 to $450, compared with about $250 prepandemic, Ms. McCord said. Labor costs have also increased, and it’s difficult to find contract workers to help with large events, which cuts into a florist’s bottom line.
“Naturally, florists have increased prices appropriately, but the sharp increase has left couples with sticker shock, and looking for alternatives such as D.I.Y.-ing their wedding flowers,” she said.
Florists are not the only vendors whose bottom lines have suffered over the past two years. Allison Depriestre, the owner of Modern Beauties Paris, a hair and makeup company in Paris, said she raised prices by 15 percent from 2021 to 2022 to cover the cost of cancellations.
Most of Ms. Depriestre’s clients hire her for their destination weddings, and when they cancel or postpone an event because of new travel restrictions or regulations, her company loses money. “The time invested in the booking process, client discussions and Zoom calls is uncompensated for,” she said, “and a date that would normally always be booked is now open and stays unbooked, as most of our clients plan ahead of time.”
When cancellations don’t wreak havoc on pricing, gas prices do, said Monina Wright, a makeup artist and the owner of Moderne Beauty Studios in the Bay Area.
Ms. Wright, who offers on-location makeup and hair services, has raised her prices by 20 percent since the 2021 wedding season, largely because of the higher cost for gasoline. She added that hair products and makeup have become more expensive, too, because of supply-chain issues.
But even raising fees does not always help a vendor. Jesse Williams, a videographer and the owner of Visual Event Films in Tarrytown, N.Y., says his profit margins remain slim even after a 10 percent increase in his rates.
“Due to supply-chain shortages, the equipment needed to film weddings has become harder to find as camera retailers often are unable to keep up with demand,” Mr. Williams said. “Unwilling to settle for lesser quality gear, we sometimes are forced to purchase equipment from independent sellers at a markup.”
At the same time, he said, the cost of living has increased, and so he has adjusted the wages for his videographers accordingly.
While couples like Ms. Alvear-Beceiro and Mr. Klebba may be able and willing to spend more, others say they simply cannot afford the higher prices.
Shannon Bernadin, 29, a botanist in Seattle who runs the African Garden, a blog about flowers and plants, and her husband married on Dec. 11, 2021. After looking at the cost of halls, flowers and caterers, the couple decided to hold their wedding at a friend’s house in New Hampshire. They wore outfits purchased from thrift stores and used homemade paper flowers as décor.
“It was nothing like I’d pictured growing up, but it was beautiful,” Ms. Bernadin said, “and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.”
Though most of the recent industrywide price hikes affect people planning weddings, some guests say they are spending more to attend events now, too, especially if doing so requires travel.
Melanie Levin, 28, a wedding planner and travel adviser in Los Angeles, said that lately she has paid more for lodging and transportation while still spending what she normally would on expenses like gifts.
“As a guest, buying a gift on top of increased rates for travel and accommodations is slightly painful,” Ms. Levin said.