Wedding costs are skyrocketing as vendors pass inflation costs on to their customers
As inflation rises and supply-chain issues persist, many wedding vendors are passing on higher costs to their customers.
The average wedding cost was $28,000 in 2021—$34,000 if you include the engagement ring, according to The Knot Real Weddings Study. But couples can expect to pay a minimum of $1,000 to $3,000 additional this year, without factoring in extras like a honeymoon.
More than 40% of wedding vendors estimated a financial loss of $10,000 to $50,000 last year, according to a 2021 study published by Zola, a wedding planning website. And 15% reported a financial loss of over $100,000.
As vendors try to bounce back from the economic hardship caused by mass cancellations during the pandemic, many are still encountering obstacles. For example, some bridal bakeries are claiming that they’re facing 20% price hikes for restaurant quality cocoa products, due to the nationwide chocolate shortage.
Sean Williams, one of the co-owners of the Frosted Fox Cake Shop, a purveyor of specialty wedding cakes, told Fortune that while the bakery hasn’t been heavily affected by the wheat shortage, it’s been tricky to find pertinent pastry items, like high-quality raspberry jam, fondant (a decorative icing popularly used on wedding cakes), and chocolate. The scarcity of ingredients means many bridal bakeries are seeing higher costs and increasing their prices as a result.
“So, pre-pandemic, we were a little bit less expensive,” Williams told Fortune. “Our wedding cakes were closer to $5 to $8 a serving, and now they’re $7 to $10 a serving. So there has been a little bit of a jump there.”
Williams is not the only vendor elevating prices. Increased costs have affected wedding hair stylists and makeup artists as well.
“The high cost of gas has definitely affected us because 98.9% of the time we are on location and travel to where the wedding party is to do their hair and makeup,” Dana Persia, the owner of Beautiful Brides Philly, an on-location bridal hair and makeup company, told Fortune. “So I had to raise my travel fee a bit. And the clients aren’t loving that, but they understand.”
Beyond an increased charge for fuel, Persia has also bumped up the pricing for her hair and makeup packages. Before the pandemic, a bride was charged a minimum of $350 for their hair and makeup. In 2022, packages start from $375 to $400, reflecting about a 10% increase.
And while chocolate shortages and gas price hikes are influencing the fees of some vendors, others are being affected by the scarcity of certain precious metals and gemstones. For the bride who wants bling in the form of a beautiful engagement ring or wedding band, jewelry prices are trending upward.
Most couples are spending over $6,000 on an engagement ring, according to American Express. That figure is up almost 10% from the $5,500 average ring cost in 2021, according to the 2021 WeddingWire Newlywed Report. Bridal bouquets are also seeing upward price ticks. In 2021, couples paid an average of $2,300 for bridal flowers, a $300 increase from the average cost in 2019.
“Everyone wants to get married in 2022 and 2023, and we’re really happy,” Persia told Fortune. “But as a business owner you have so many unexpected costs like your studio rent going up; makeup and hair tools are going up. Pricing everywhere is just rising.”
Never miss a story: Follow your favorite topics and authors to get a personalized email with the journalism that matters most to you.