The Vendors Couples are Splurging on in 2022

From top-notch photographers to dream wedding venues, here are the vendors couples are willing to spend a little extra on in 2022.

By Jennifer Prince

Vendors Couples are Splurging
Photo by White Rabbit Studios

The First Look ✨

When you get engaged, amidst the excitement, your head swirls with all of the to-dos—including hiring vendors. From a photographer and wedding planner to the caterer and florist, you probably already know what wedding professionals you need. However, some couples are going beyond simply hiring vendors by investing in luxe packages and add-ons to create a truly unique wedding day. Zola surveyed over 3,300 duos in the First Look Report to find out where they were allocating their funds, and here are 11 vendors that couples are splurging on in 2022.

Why Are Couples Splurging on Their 2022 Weddings?

While 2022 brides and grooms are looking forward to booking essential vendors, many are spending more to make their day even more memorable. After 18 months of uncertainty surrounding weddings and events, couples are finally ready to host a big bash with all the bells and whistles.


Of those surveyed, the average engagement period is 18 months, so couples have been planning and budgeting for extras. However, a surprising 70 percent are spending more than they originally budgeted for their big day. Why? Well, some underestimated the cost of their wedding; others want to invest more to get precisely what they want. Although they are choosing vendors and services carefully, next year’s couples are more than willing to spend a bit more in areas that pack a punch.

Vendors Worth the Splurge for 2022 Weddings

Photographer

Photographers document your big day from start to finish. In addition, their talents leave you with photos to keep in your home and pass down to future generations. A general contract with a photographer includes a dedicated number of hours of coverage, editing, and an online gallery.

73 percent of couples are choosing to invest more in their photography packages. These upgrades can include additional coverage for an extended period, a second (or third!) shooter, prints, albums, and extra sessions, such as an engagement or bridal photoshoot. Investing in these moments and their accompanying keepsakes is a wise idea for those who are sentimental or love heirlooms.

Bar Services

Good news! If you’re attending a 2022 wedding, chances are there will be an open bar, as 60 percent of couples are splurging in this area. Offering free-flowing cocktails, beer, and wine is a way to keep guests happy and the party going. Finally, folks are ready to celebrate after months of quarantining and being separated from family and friends. And the increase in bar services is evidence of that fact. So instead of a cash or ticketed bar, treat guests to a whole mix of drinks during your reception. Or splurge on a custom cocktail created by your bartender.

Venue

Whether your wedding is small or large, your venue sets the tone for your special day. As a result, couples are opting to spend more by booking their chosen location. These upgrades vary depending on the services your venue already offers. However, add-ons, such as extra planning services, booking the venue longer, and staying on-site (if there is lodging), are why 55 percent of brides and grooms are increasing their budgets.

Attire

If you haven’t seen folks for months (or years!), you want to look your best. Therefore, 47 percent of couples go beyond wearing an off-the-rack gown and renting a tux. Of course, both of those choices are perfectly fine. However, if you want to splurge on your attire, think about going with an independent wedding gown designer or having a dress commissioned. Another option is to invest in quality suiting over renting a tux. Attire expenditures also include springing for luxe shoes and other accessories, such as elaborate headpieces and jewelry to wear long past the big day.

Catering

Feed them, and feed them well is becoming the mantra for 42 percent of couples. Instead of just satiating guests, brides and grooms are getting creative with their catering choices. People are working with their chefs to personalize meals, include foods of the highest quality, and create a gourmet experience.

Budgeting more for your catering can mimic a fine restaurant meal and encourage guests to linger. However, couples are also getting creative with add-ons for their big day and by offering food beyond the reception. These ideas are simple to implement in 2022 weddings and will keep your loved ones fed all day. For example, greet guests with appetizers, extend the cocktail hour, and have food trucks provide sustenance during the open bar.

Music

iPhone playlist, move over: There’s a new trend in town. Music is an area where 38 percent of couples are increasing their budgets. If you love music, hire live acts throughout your day. Have a cellist and soloist for your ceremony and a string quartet for your processional and recessional. Keep the reception floor hopping by hiring a live band to provide dance tunes. If you’re hiring a DJ, think about extending their hours or having them mix different songs to splurge a bit.

Hair and Makeup

Beyond attire, 31 percent of those getting married in 2022 are spending more on their look. Instead of doing their own looks, brides and grooms are hiring experts to get the job done. It’s a wise choice, as these professionals can create a look that will last all day. Beyond simply commissioning makeup artists and hairstylists, couples are booking extra services, such as fresh cuts and color, along with complicated updos and luxe makeup looks. Others are spending money to treat their bridal party to have their hair and makeup professionally done.

Videographer

Photos are necessary, as they capture glimpses of time, but videography is a whole new level of documentation. You can see your partner crack a smile or a tear roll down your grandmother’s cheek. The sentimental moments caught on film are precious, and 27 percent of couples are here for it. Some are simply splurging to include videography. Conversely, others are booking luxe video packages that include extra hours, full-day documentation, and detailed trailers of their big day.

Florists

One of the most high-impact ways you can make a difference in a hurry is to up the ante with your florals. As a result, 27 percent of brides and grooms are adding more blooms into their day. Think outside the norm—bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, and corsages—to include extra florals. From ceremony backdrops and arches to photo booth floral installations, flowers are everywhere for 2022 weddings. Not only are there more blooms, but 2022 couples are having their florist use luxe and out-of-season flowers for extra panache.

Desserts

The capstone dessert of the wedding day is the cake, of course. Therefore, folks are getting more detailed with these edible masterpieces. Brides and grooms are asking their bakers to make individual desserts, such as mini cakes, for their guests. They are also including baked goods as favors and creating dessert stations curated by their bakers. Cakes and desserts are where 14 percent of couples are choosing to spend more.

Extras

Of course, there are non-necessities for your wedding day that can be considered a splurge. As a result, couples are opting for these more personal elements to go the extra mile. Things from decor pieces and specialty rentals to luxury transportation are essential to couples getting married in 2022. Some are also spending more to create an experience by having pie bars, whiskey tasting, and artisan performers at receptions.

There may be a bit of wiggle room to include the details you crave, no matter your budget. But, just because something is considered a splurge doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to have your dream wedding. Zola can help you plan your day and stay on budget with all the advice you need from the experts.

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