News & Politics  |  Weddings

Wedding Professionals Say It’s Been a Wild Nuptial Season

A report from the event-planning front lines.

Photograph by Joshua Dwain Photography.

After the pandemic eased, wedding-industry watchers predicted that this would be DC’s busiest year for nuptials in decades. Did that end up happening?

The numbers: We conducted an informal poll of dozens of local industry pros. Almost half reported booking at least 25 percent more weddings than usual this year. In reality, the increase is probably much higher: Many have been declining events because their schedules are full. “It’s the first time I’ve had to turn away so much business,” says Sarah-Jane Bennett of Planners on Retainer. “I heard it was going to be a big boom, but it was still more than I expected.”

Photograph by Birds of a Feather Photography.

The impact: A scramble, with fully booked vendors referring couples to other booked vendors. Staffing shortages are also a major issue. “The number of inquiries [has been] astronomical,” says Ridgewells Catering’s Renae Ouellette. “And in the past it was typically only Saturdays and never in July or August. People don’t care anymore—they just want to get married.”

The compounding factors: Inflation is one—clients expect prices to stay the same while costs balloon. Plus event-planning timelines are tighter given ongoing pandemic uncertainty, and frustrated couples whose ceremonies were previously postponed can be impatient. “Between industry shortages, staffing issues, and an air of entitlement for postponed weddings,” says Tabitha Roberts of Roberts & Co. Events, “it’s a volatile wedding season.”

This article appears in the September 2022 issue of Washingtonian.

Amy Moeller
Editor, Washingtonian Weddings

Amy leads Washingtonian Weddings and writes Style Setters for Washingtonian. Prior to joining Washingtonian in March 2016, she was the editor of Capitol File magazine in DC and before that, editor of What’s Up? Weddings in Annapolis.