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How 2020 Changed the Way We Budget and Plan For Weddings

wedding couple in love with confetti
wedding couple in love with confetti

With large gatherings banned in many places — and many people feeling uncomfortable gathering even in places where they are allowed — weddings have looked very different in 2020. Some couples have canceled or postponed their weddings, while others have downsized their guest lists dramatically. These changes have not only affected the couples but have also had an effect on wedding guests, venues and vendors.

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And it’s not just planning that’s been affected, but the finances of all the stakeholders involved. See how the pandemic has shaped wedding-related finances this year.

Last updated: Dec. 17, 2020

Just married couple showing up before their friends and running through the tunnel of sparklers.
Just married couple showing up before their friends and running through the tunnel of sparklers.

Couples Are Budgeting For Smaller Weddings

Due to the pandemic and size limits on gatherings, many couples who got married this year opted for smaller, intimate celebrations — a trend that may persist even after the pandemic is long gone. Brides’ 2020 American Wedding Study found that 47% of couples are planning to downsize their guest list.

A major pro of these smaller weddings is the smaller budget needed to pay for them.

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Wedding Dress
Wedding Dress

Brides May Be Willing To Spend More on Dresses

Smaller weddings don’t mean smaller dress budgets — it could actually mean the opposite, Raya Sokolyanska, senior analyst at Moody’s, told CNBC.

“A scaled-down ceremony should not hurt gown demand,” she told the news channel. “In fact, I would think that the dress would get a bigger slice of that budget if you’re not spending on a 150-person wedding. You will just reallocate to other items in your budget.”

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luxury hotel wedding venue
luxury hotel wedding venue

Couples May Have Had To Contend With Lost Deposits

Couples who have had to cancel or postpone weddings may not receive all (or any) money back from venues, caterers and other vendors that they have paid deposits to. Contracts don’t necessarily account for pandemics as a cause for cancellation, so it might be difficult to make a case for a refund, The New York Times reported.

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Happy young couple enjoying on a long drive in a car.
Happy young couple enjoying on a long drive in a car.

Honeymoons Are Going Local (and Likely Getting Cheaper)

Couples who got married this year might not have been able to travel to their dream destinations for their honeymoons, which has led to what The Knot has dubbed the “nanomoon.” These smaller honeymoons involve local exploration, such as visiting a nearby winery or taking a road trip to see national parks. A “nanomoon” might be less extravagant than what was originally planned, but it’s likely a lot cheaper, too.

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wedding gifts on table
wedding gifts on table

Guests Are Saving Money on Wedding-Related Expenses

Attending weddings can be very costly. Expenses include suits and dresses, gifts and travel — all of which can add up quickly.

According to a recent survey by The Knot, the average wedding guest spent $430 per wedding in 2019. However, this number varies greatly depending on how close the attendee lives to the wedding location. The average guest spend for a wedding based in their hometown — one that didn’t require travel or lodging — was $185. Those who drove out to a wedding spent an average of $600 and guests who flew to a wedding reported an average spend of $1,440.

While many weddings have been canceled or postponed — eliminating these costs outright — those that haven’t been are more likely to be attended only by guests who do not have to travel, putting guest costs on the lower end of this range.

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wedding venue by the beach
wedding venue by the beach

Venues and Event Vendors Are Suffering Financially

Due to restrictions on gathering sizes in some places, some wedding venues have had to close temporarily, while others have had to make the tough decision to stay closed for the entirety of 2020. The Pleasantdale Chateau, a wedding venue in West Orange, New Jersey, said that closing its doors for the first eight weeks of lockdown cost it about $2 million in revenue, CNBC reported.

And venues are not the only wedding businesses that have been losing money. Danielle Tamasi, a florist in West Des Moines, Iowa, told The Atlantic that most of her 2020 wedding clients have postponed their ceremonies. Without that income flowing in, Tamasi is now worried about her ability to continue to make rent payments on her studio space.

Market research company IBISWorld estimates that downsizing, postponements and cancellations due to COVID-19 cost wedding and events businesses over $670 million.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How 2020 Changed the Way We Budget and Plan For Weddings