Those who grieved over the emptiness of their social calendars during the pandemic are in for good news, as 2022 is looking to be a boom time for weddings.
Over 2.4 million weddings are expected for 2022, according to the Wedding Report, which The New York Times referred to as a trade group that gathers data on the industry. According to The New York Times, if these predictions hold up, this year would see the most weddings since 1984.
“I would say that a surge is the correct term, probably,” said Lorin Kotz, co-owner of Celebrations, LLC, an Owings Mills-based company that plans social events like weddings. “This is the busiest year we’ve ever had, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. And we’re finding that with every vendor in this industry that everyone is busier than they’ve ever been before.”
The majority of the celebrations planned for 2022 represent events that were rescheduled over the past two years, The New York Times reported, while much of the remainder were couples who got engaged during COVID.
Heidi Hiller, CEO and creative director of Innovative Party Planners, another Owings Mills-based company that plans weddings, also saw a significant uptick in the number of weddings being organized this year. She concurred with the view that it is a result of restrictions put in place during the pandemic.
“During the height of the pandemic, many of our couples couldn’t get married,” said Hiller, a Jewish resident of Pikesville and an active volunteer at the Pearlstone Center. “They wanted to celebrate, and whether it was [that] the venue was shut down due to the COVID restrictions … there were just too many risks that they didn’t want to take for themselves, for their families, for their guests.”
Many of Hiller’s clients have been thinking about their wedding since long before ever meeting their significant other, she added, and a wedding with COVID restrictions was simply not what her clients had ever envisioned.
“We’re seeing this [swell], because now that the restrictions have been lessoned, and more people are vaccinated … [they’re] still taking risks, but they’re more willing to take them now,” Hiller said.
Kotz, however, expressed some skepticism that the current surge was the result of a backlog of weddings from COVID.
“Some people at first felt that it was the push from when all the reschedules from 2020 went into 2021, and then, sort of, the pileup of 2021 trying to book,” said Kotz, a resident of Owings Mills who had been a member of Chizuk Amuno Congregation before the pandemic. “I don’t know that it’s that anymore.
“My theory is that people learned a lot from this pandemic,” Kotz continued. “I just think that people want to celebrate the good times in life and the things that we can celebrate. I think we’ve learned lessons that you just don’t know what life is going to bring, and so to try to do it when you can.”
On a gloomier note, the uptick in weddings has resulted in couples having difficulty scheduling them for this year, Hiller said. Last fall, for example, finding a florist was all but impossible if a couple had not already booked one.
An additional factor complicating things is that many vendors in the wedding industry are working with fewer employees than before the pandemic, Hiller added. Many employees in the wedding industry lost their jobs when COVID shut things down and had to look for work elsewhere, she said, and those former employees are not necessarily in a rush to return.
In addition, ongoing problems in the supply chain have also been a challenge, Hiller said.
“If you get engaged and choose to get married in the next few months, you may find yourself having to get married on a Thursday night or at an odd time of day in order to get the kind of vendors that you want,” Hiller said.