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COVID Pushed 2020 Wedding Rate to Lowest in 50 Years

With a relaxing of COVID restrictions, experts say 2022 will see an explosion of couples tying the knot.

Bride and groom toppers on wedding cake.
After a pandemic-fueled slump, the number of weddings is expected to explode in 2022.
Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many life events and celebrations were postponed. As a result, the number of US weddings in 2020 was the lowest in nearly a half-century.

The pandemic's first year saw approximately 1.68 million weddings, a drop of 16.8% from the 2.02 million recorded in 2019, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

That's the lowest number of marriages since 1963, when about 1.65 million marriages were recorded.

NCHS data on 2021 marriages isn't available yet, but according to a survey conducted by industry analyst The Wedding Report, there were approximately 1.93 million weddings, with an average spend of about $22,500.

With the arrival of vaccines and a relaxing of COVID restrictions, industry experts expect a wedding boom in 2022. According to The Wedding Report, 20% of couples rescheduled their weddings last year to 2022.

Some 2.6 million weddings are expected by the end of the year, according to a February report from The Knot, the most since 1984. The explosion of pent-up demand has made it hard for engaged couples to find venues and vendors. 

"The desire to celebrate is stronger than ever," Knot executive editor Lauren Kay said in a statement.  

With rising inflation, many couples are trimming their budgets and guest lists this year, according to The Wedding Report. After 2023, though, "things should start to normalize, and we will get back to pre-pandemic" levels of weddings and spending, the company said.