COVID & Wedding Budgets: Saving Money When Things Cost More

COVID & Wedding Budgets: Saving Money When Things Cost More

When COVID struck, my first fear was economic decimation, particularly in the events world I know and love well. But something funny happened—the economy stayed relatively strong, and prices for all sorts of things skyrocketed. Couples are now realizing that their wedding budgets need to grow to allow their big day to meet their vision. Why have costs increased, and how can you and your partner prevent these higher prices from busting your budget? We’ll discuss all that and more below.

Inflation and Other Fun Effects of COVID-19

During COVID, a good thing happened (to our collective surprise)—many people were able to keep their jobs, and some companies even made more money than they had in years, especially essential businesses. As people locked down in their homes, they stocked up on necessities—ordering take out, delivery of groceries, and online shipments of everyday goods. Demand shot up, and as we remember so well, companies couldn’t keep up the pace. (Do you still get a jolt of delight when you see a full shelf of toilet paper? I sure do.)

With the good fortune of many people retaining their jobs—and others getting by with the help of enhanced unemployment benefits—demand is now surging even more. People are finally going out to dinner and movies again, and traveling, too; once again, costs increase with high demand. Additionally, due to extended unemployment benefits, there’s a staff shortage. Fewer people want to work essential jobs, especially with the less-than-neighborly way our fellow men and women are treating some of these workers.

So, demand for various items causes sharp increases in costs of essential resources, from food to steel to labor. And guess what that does? You guessed it—this demand increases the price you pay for everything, from flowers to that yummy filet mignon to the event planning staff at your venue.

How To Save Money When Things Cost More

There’s a good side to all this—essential workers can fight harder to get paid what they’re worth, and the unemployment benefits helped folks stay on their feet. And there are still so many people left far worse than before COVID, so overall, if you’ve survived the pandemic with employment and your health, it’s definitely time to count your blessings.

But what if your wedding budget has doubled or even tripled due to high demand? You can still manage your wedding budget in a savvy way without paying far more than you wished. Here’s how.

  • Have a smaller wedding. More and more couples winnowed down their guest list for obvious COVID-related reasons, but now, it’s becoming a long-term practice. Intimate affairs result in a low-key, way-lower-stress planning period and an event where the couple can truly connect with their guests.
  • Consider an out-of-state destination wedding. If you live in a big city, planning your wedding for a destination in a less populous area can save you money and naturally lowers your wedding guest list without directly excluding people.
  • Pay attention to cost fluctuations of raw materials and labor. Red meat has shot up in price, but your guests will enjoy chicken or fish just as much. Also, when speaking with potential caterers or hotels, find out which styles of service require less labor.
  • Don’t go crazy on design—no matter how many Pinterest boards you’ve created! We all ooh and aah over beautiful weddings on the internet, but all those fancy vases, specialty linens, and massive flower arrangements cost money (a lot of money!), and they don’t have a lasting impact on the wedding. Unlike a cake, which you can freeze for a month and enjoy later, or video footage, design elements disappear right after the event. Keep it simple and lovely; no need to go over the top with a huge flower wall or high-end rentals. Where I would advise investing is lighting; washes of beautiful hues create an all-over impact for a reasonable amount of money and set the mood for the entire space.
    • There are also gorgeous city and state-run parks and event spaces surrounded by beautiful foliage where decoration needs are minimal. Another bonus is that many of these spaces are outdoors; thus, they’re that much safer for preventing COVID-19 transmission.
  • Most of all, double-check your priorities. Is your top concern being able to spend the day with family and friends and celebrating your love? If so, all the other details are not nearly as important as they once were. It’s sort of like this: you love the double foam latte from Starbucks, but isn’t a home-brewed coffee good enough?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned throughout the pandemic, it’s what really matters: the health and company of our nearest and dearest. If your top priority is being surrounded by your loved ones and honoring your partner with your vows, everything else is just a bonus. Plan your wedding around the true meaning of the day, not the wow factor, and you’ll have amazing memories to cherish for a lifetime.

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Dee Gaubert

Once a lifestyle content producer (HGTV, FoodTV, E! and more), Dee transitioned her logistical and creative expertise into a career as a wedding and event planner, running No Worries Event Planning for seven years, then working on the venue side of things as a sales manager. She now consults with wedding vendors behind the scenes, handling operations, sales, and logistics, as well as coaching wedding couples on budget and design. She blogs about events on a regular basis at her site, She loves coffee and tea in mass quantities, a good cozy mystery, and talking shop with her fellow event pros. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son. Website:
September 29, 2021

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