Wedding costs up 30%, how couples are cutting more than cake

June means wedding season is here! However, really, there's been a wedding rush since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many couples to postpone their nuptials.  

Wedding costs are soaring from pent-up demand, and supply and labor shortages.

30% more couples than usual are expected to tie the knot this year, according to the Wedding Report.  And the average cost of a wedding is up 30%, from $20,286 in 2020 to $27,063 in 2021.

Here's how couples are cutting that cost down.

A video of a rental wedding cake went viral on TikTock, made by Shelby Bower and Rair Events.

"They're faux cakes, they're fake," explained Rair Events co-owner Stephen Bower. "There’s no food on the cake except for the little slice that they can use for the photo at the ceremony."

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That's right, it's stacks of Styrofoam. It's frosted and decorated to look real.  

"I have wooden dowels I stick inside," Shelby Bower showed us. "Because they are really lightweight, it keeps them from wiggling around."

It was bride Leena Nacy's wedding cake featured in that Tiktok video. She saved thousands of dollars on her cake, and got to eat it, too.

"The actual faux cake itself was $300, which is so cheap when you think about it," said Nacy. "And then the sheet cake that got cut in the back that nobody saw was $150."

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Wedding planner to the stars Darryl Moore with D'Concierge Weddings says couples are also saving thousands of dollars on venues by getting married mid-week instead of on the weekend, cutting down the guest list, and using low-cost locations.  

"During COVID, people did some major renovations in their backyards," said Moore. "So now their backyards are ready to host. They're using friends’ homes, they're using garden spaces."

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"I found a venue that had some decor there. I just had to add some flowers," said Nacy.

Moore says the wick shortage has made candles almost as expensive as flowers.  He suggests saving money by filling tables with elegant place settings.

"Always consider setting your table beautifully with glass wear, flat wear, and a beautiful napkin," said Moore.


And he says some brides are saying no to expensive gowns.

"They're now visiting their local department stores. They're now shopping online. They're also thrifting wedding dresses," said Moore.

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Other ways couples are saving money is by planning their own weddings rather than hiring a planner or skipping the videographer, spa services, or party favors.

Experts don't expect the wedding rush to normalize until 2024.