BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Over the past year and a half, wedding celebrations have stalled as the country grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as things return to normal, local vendors say brides and grooms who had to push off plans are rushing to get things booked.
"The wedding boom is very real," said Buffalo-based photographer Colin Gordon.
In fact, Gordon, like many local vendors, says his 2022 calendar is booking up faster than ever.
"Right now I'm almost fully-booked for 2022. Which usually doesn't happen until January of Feb of 2022," he said.
Gordon recommends calling vendors you're interested in as soon as possible, because they're getting inquiries all the time.
Wedding planner Daulton Van Kuren is the owner of the "The Refined Host" - and has this advice for brides who just got engaged and want to get married next year.
"You gotta start now," she said. "Actually you probably needed to start yesterday!"
She also says she's seeing some COVID-19 related wedding trends carry over.
"People are scaling down," she said. "It seems like these intimate celebrations have encouraged people to forgo inviting the extended family - and they're saying I just want my most important people there."
But scaling down the size of the wedding doesn't necessarily mean scaling down the cost. In fact, some brides and grooms are shortening their guest list so they can have the wedding of their dreams.
"If you think about it and you scale down from 300 people to 100 or 50 people, you can do more with your money at that point if you still want to be spending a similar amount of money," explained Van Kuren.
And the price of weddings is going back up. According to The Knot, in 2019, the average wedding in the U.S. cost $28,000. In 2020 that number dropped to $19,000. This year, the average cost of *just a reception is expected to be $22,500.
Vendors believe it's because brides who have been waiting years to have the wedding of their dreams are ready to get what they want. Maureen Bartley from Maureen's Buffalo Wholesale Florist says what many want - is a lot of flowers.
"More flowers than I've ever seen a bride want," she said. "I think part of it is they've had so much time to look on Pinterest and their ideas are just growing and growing as they wait and wait and wait for their wedding date."
So the bottom line, vendors say, if you're a bride - know your guest list, know what you want, and start calling your vendors as early as possible so you can get what you want.
"I want all newly-engaged couples to book their vendors as soon as possible. Because your favorite vendor is getting inquiries all the time," said Gordon.