From the vows to the vendors — the demand for wedding services is skyrocketing.
Across the U.S., COVID-weary couples are ready to celebrate their big day and are looking to the wedding industry to make it happen.
Bria Helgerson is the executive chef and creative director of Flourish Cake Design in Chicago, IL. Between postponements and new proposals, she says services like hers are booking up fast.
"I'm telling clients that I have like, 'You have a vendor you want? Book them. It doesn't matter how far out, book them, because all bets are off this year and next year, and maybe 2024,'" Helgerson said.
It's not just cake slots couples are competing for on the calendar.
From florists to photographers, vendors in every corner of the wedding industry are receiving a flood of requests.
"You went from COVID times with zero inquiries because nobody could have weddings to the floodgates being open," photographer William Decosta said. "We're averaging anywhere between 10-12 inquiries a day."
Many vendors say that while the return of business is welcomed, they have had to reconsider the price of their services, with supply chain disruptions and inflation being two of the driving forces behind those decisions.
"If you haven't raised your prices at all, like you're going to be hurting," Helgerson said.
According to the wedding planning site The Knot, in 2021 the average costs for vendors included: $2,300 for flowers, $2,500 for photography, $500 for the wedding cake and roughly $75 per head for catering. Industry experts say those prices will likely continue to rise.
Maddie Wilson and Ryan Cliff have been planning their wedding since November 2019 and are finally set to marry in June. Like many couples, they say finding the right vendors for their price range took research.
"I think food was, like, our biggest struggle," Wilson said.
"When we went and did tastings and talked to different vendors for food, the prices that they were giving to us were kind of egregious," Cliff said. "We finally found one that was more reasonable, but we love the food, and it just ended up working out."
After the long-delayed journey, some couples are going the extra mile.
"People aren't just like serving everybody the same cake flavor, they'll have two or three different flavors, because again, it's more fun," Helgerson said. "So having fun on the inside and outside is something that I'm seeing a lot more of this year which is awesome."
Seems to be a topping off for what will already be a special day for so many couples.