INDIANAPOLIS — This year, 2.5 million couples are expected to get married. That’s the highest number in four decades.

Brides and grooms aren’t only battling waitlists but inflation too! The average couple spent $27,000 on their wedding in 2021; up from just over $20,000 in 2020.

“Because of a lot of the weddings last year, things are backed up this year because of COVID,” said bride-to-be Riley Nicholson.

Couples are getting creative to save money, while vendors are facing supply chain issues and higher prices. 

Certified special events professional, Vincent Early, says wedding venues and receptions are filling up two years out.

As vendors continue to bounce back from canceled events during COVID, they’re now facing higher prices at the store, gas prices and labor shortages.

Early says these challenges are impacting couples planning their big day.

“The biggest challenges for us now is the wedding receptions we’re doing now were booked 12, 18, 24 months ago, so we were booking them at prices set in 2020, 2021,” Early said. “But now prices are going up from food to gasoline to services, anything you can think of.”

Inflation means couples are paying more for their big day and competing for their choice of venue and vendors.

The number of marriages in the U.S. is expected to jump more than 50 percent this year according to The Wedding Report.

Nicholson and her fiancé, Luke, opted out of a traditional venue and are instead getting married in their friend’s backyard because of the soaring prices and limited availability for dates.

“Vendors have raised their prices, which I do want to emphasize, good for them,” Nicholson said. “But I think for us, it was also difficult too. I understand why they need to raise their prices to match what everything is right now.”

So what can you do?

Experts say if you have your eyes on a specific venue, be open to choosing a weekday, like Thursday or Friday, to host an event.

Or choose a time of year that’s not as busy, such as winter or spring.

Stick to a wedding budget. There are lots of free resources online, including The Knot.

Also, don’t be afraid of DIY! Couples are saving a lot of money ordering items directly from suppliers or creating things themselves!

For couples still waiting to set a date for their special day, Early says 2024 is your best pick of getting the day you want.

You can find more tips here.