Weddings, including those with larger budgets, are on the comeback after the pandemic forced widespread nuptial delays, Timothy Chi, CEO of wedding-planning website company The Knot Worldwide, told CNBC on Friday.
“In the U.S., there’s about 2 million weddings that happen on average annually. We saw about 50% of those happen, so that just means there’s another million weddings then that got pushed forward, and we’re really starting to see that come to fruition here,” Chi said on “Squawk on the Street.”
As a result, Chi said, he expects a 20% to 25% increase in weddings this year and in 2022 compared with pre-pandemic levels.
The wedding industry saw a 34% decline in revenue last year as the Covid crisis led many weddings to be postponed or at least downsized, according to a report from market research firm IBIS World.
As weddings are picking back up now that most pandemic restrictions have been lifted, Chi said couples are “ready to go all out again,” evidenced by their spending preferences.
The average wedding reception budget this year is about $22,500, according to The Knot, which is more than $3,000 higher than in 2020 and roughly equal to 2019 levels.
Additionally, a recent survey by The Knot found that roughly 66% of respondents look forward to increasing their budget for aspects that may make the day “more special,” Chi said, like adding a second photographer, more exotic flowers, an increased guest count, and continued health and safety measures.
Chi said he thinks increased budgets can serve as a “leading indicator” of consumer spending in certain parts of the economy, noting that travel and hotel stays are often involved with wedding events.
“There’s not really a better way to reenter post-Covid times than with a huge celebration bringing your closest friends and families together,” he said.