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Wedding industry slammed during busiest season in almost 40 years

Nearly 2.5 million couples are expected to tie the knot this 2022 wedding season.

ORTING, Wash. — Wedding planners, venue owners and vendors are slammed right now as they tackle the busiest wedding season in nearly 40 years.

"Don't do it!" said Shawn Giese laughing as he talked to KING 5 on his wedding day. "Just kidding."

Giese looked over at his bride Chloe who was also laughing, as they sat comfortably on a couch at Orting Manor, just minutes away from saying "I do."

New Leaf Floral Designs owner Camile Craig said this has been her busiest season to date.

"It's crazy, yeah," Craig. said "It's definitely -- I feel it in my inbox."

Data from the wedding report shows a pretty steady industry until 2020, the year every bride went from happy and excited, to bridezilla with an N-95. No one is blaming them either.

"COVID kind of wiped out our 2020 season," said Rebecca Grant, the owner of popular wedding venue Twin Willow Gardens in Snohomish.

Before 2020 hit, Grant said they were already busy enough.

"We actually already had every single Saturday in 2021 already booked, reschedule," Grant said. "So we had to reschedule everyone into Fridays, Sundays or mid-week weddings. So it was like, all hands on deck." 

Yan Mathison, who took over ownership of Orting Manor in December of 2021, said when she bought the property it came with all the wedding contracts.

"There's a lot of demand for weddings because of all the delays," Mathison said. "A lot of canceling. A lot of postponements."

Before the pandemic, the industry saw about 2.1 to 2.25 million weddings a year.

That changed in 2020 when only about 1.3 million couples celebrated their big day.

Now, rescheduled weddings and even new engagements are overwhelming the industry.

"We are fully booked for this 2022 season," Grant. said "We are actually fully booked for our 2023 season and we have a waitlist of over 50 couples for our 2024 season. There is no time to waste."

Nearly 2.5 million couples are expected to tie the knot this 2022 wedding season.

"We are going to be very busy," Mathison said. "We are going to just you know, [be] turning a lot of people away and that makes me sad."

That's why the Giese's said they feel lucky they booked their venue two years ago. Especially now that the venue manager at Orting Manor said wedding industry challenges mean even more couples are trying to get married at their venue.

"She said that another local venue just shut down and displaced 40 couples," Chloe Giese said. "So she's pretty much immediately, as soon as we leave, trying to give as many tours as she can."

Next year's season is expected to be a little more normal, but since many venues and vendors are already booked out, there may be a whole lot of waiting.

"I feel like if you are last minute, just kind of like let go of whatever like crazy vision that you had," Craig said.

Or just book way in advance.

"The couples [that] are just now getting engaged, they are out of luck," Grant said. "Get on it, I mean it is like, there is no time to waste."

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