How couples pay for the party, expenses

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  • Couples spent an average of $34,000 on their wedding in 2021, according to The Knot.
  • Average costs are expected to rise in 2022, according to The Wedding Report.
  • Some couples have to work extra to cover expenses and avoid going into debt.

Kristen Kluin plans to have her wedding on a Friday to help keep costs down. Despite the discounted weekday booking, she still expects to shell out at least $57,000 for the event.

The 32-year-old plans to tie the knot in October in New Jersey, one of the country’s most expensive wedding markets. Glancing at a spreadsheet breaking down her estimated costs, she called the prices “disgusting and overwhelming.”

“When I first looked for places, I was dumb. I was trying to find a place that would cost around $100 a plate,” Kluin told USA TODAY. “I was going to contact this place, and what was $100 (a year ago) was now easily $180 for this same service, for the same day of the week, for the same level. It’s really crushing.”

With the national average price of a wedding around $34,000 starting in 2021, couples like Kluin and her fiancé have to do extra work to cover the costs.

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Kluin, a clinical social worker, said she works 10 overtime hours every week with private clients. Much of his spare time is spent on his “third job:” tinkering with wedding plans and researching wedding vendors to find the best match at an affordable price.

“We’re looking for a house, so with the surge in house market prices, it’s hit us hard,” she said, noting that she has about $80,000 left in student loans and refuses to go into debt. any further.

“Often we ask ourselves: is this marriage worth it? »

Wedding expenses in 2022

A report from the online wedding market The Knot surveyed more than 15,000 American couples and found they spent an average of $34,000 on their wedding in 2021, matching spending in 2019. Those with more than 100 guests paid an average of $4,000 in more.

Costs varied by region, with the south averaging $26,000, while weddings in the northeast cost over $36,000 just for the day’s costs.

Prices are expected to rise further in 2022.

Experts noted that inflation (the consumer price index rose 7.9% annually in February, the fastest pace since January 1982) and strong demand – driven by Disruptions related to COVID-19 — are driving wedding prices up this year.

According to The Knot, nearly half of marriages in 2020 have been postponed to a later date. This has led to a concentration of bookings this year; research company The marriage report says 2022 is expected to be the busiest wedding year since 1984.

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Wedding planner Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events, a wedding event planning and design firm that partners primarily with small businesses owned by women, people of color and gay people, called the request 2022 wedding card from “bananas”.

“It’s gone from total starvation over the past two years to total feasting overnight. It’s amazing, it’s wonderful, but it’s not without its challenges,” Meyer said. “The labor is so short and the prices keep going up.”

Barbara Hearne, owner of Barbara’s Brides, a wedding planning company in Texas, said she’s had to plan more midweek weddings this year because the weekends are sold out. She doesn’t expect business to slow down anytime soon; its 2023 calendar is already full and inquiries for 2024 are already starting to arrive.

How much more expensive are weddings in 2022?

Data from The Wedding Report shows that couples can expect to spend nearly 13% more on their wedding in 2022 compared to 2019.

But some wedding insiders are seeing even bigger price jumps.

Meyer estimates costs for her clients have increased 20-30% since 2019. Hearne estimates wedding costs have increased by at least 30% over that time.

Hearne pointed to gas prices, inflation, supply chain issues and labor shortages as some of the key drivers.

Alyssa Pettinato, owner of New York-based wedding planning company Alinato Events, said she had to raise her rates after seeing demand increase. She works 15 weddings a year on average. In 2022, it has reserved nearly 30.

“I honestly think we’re going to have to increase them again for 2023 to help with the workload,” she said.

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How couples are paying for 2022 weddings

Rachel, 26, said she plans to use egg donation money to help pay for her wedding in the fall of 2023.

Rachel, whose last name is being kept secret for fear that sharing her egg donation history could harm her career, said she and her partner expect to pay around $65,000 on their honeymoon. included.

Rachel has donated eggs four times already, using the money to travel and help with a down payment on a house. She earned around $12,000 her first time and expects to be compensated around $40,000 in her next cycle.

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She said her wedding plans do not depend on donation money, but the money will definitely be used.

“I have a pretty strong feeling that I don’t think people should go into debt for a wedding. I definitely don’t want to myself,” Rachel said. “My current plan is to use my egg donation money since I have this wedding that I want so badly. So that is my plan. If my donations are accepted this year, I will have all the money. which I need.”

A survey of more than 3,000 couples of Zola wedding planning website found that 6% took on a second or third job to help cover the cost of their wedding in 2022. About 2% took out loans and 8% leverage credit cards for purchases.

Sarah Hedge, a 2022 bride based in California, started driving for DoorDash to help raise money for the wedding.

“It’s just little things that add up so much you don’t realize it,” Hedge told USA TODAY. “I saw that people were spending like two thousand dollars on centerpieces alone and I was like, I can’t bring myself to do this.”

Hedge originally budgeted $10,000, but expects the final total to be closer to $12,000 or $13,000. His weekly DoorDash shifts earn him up to $30 an hour.

Her income has plummeted in recent weeks as gas prices have soared, but she said her Hyundai has enough mileage for the side gig to still bring in money.

“It’s super easy, it’s been pretty smooth,” she said. “I jam music and I drive.”

You can follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter @bailey_schulz and follow our free travel newsletter here.

Abdul J. Gaspar