In a recent CivicScience survey of U.S. adults, 43% of respondents indicated they knew a couple whose wedding party or party-related event was canceled or postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Luckily, life moved on and more folks are deciding to unite in marriage and celebrate with family and friends. As we enter the 2022 wedding season, it’s time to consider what’s changed for consumers, and how businesses can anticipate spending.

The 2022 wedding season is probably the closest to “normal” people will have seen since 2019, and the majority of U.S. adults (56%) predict “normal” spending on wedding gifts. Back in 2020, the height of wedding cancellations and postponements, those who said they would spend more than usual on wedding presents was down at just 7%. This year, 17% of people planning to give wedding gifts will spend more than in previous years.

The reason behind planned increased spending on wedding gifts this year has less to do with how badly people feel for couples who didn’t get the full wedding experience, and much more to do with inflation. Forty-six percent of U.S. adults planning to spend more on gifts say spending any kind of money right now means spending more than usual. The bottom line is that a greater number of people say they will spend more on wedding gifts this year, but among those who say they will spend more, the primary reason is inflation.

It’s worth highlighting the 20% of respondents who say they’ll spend more on wedding gifts simply because they have extra money to budget. 

This year’s spenders are an interesting bunch. When the data is cut by income, we see that America’s lowest earners have the highest percentages of “spending more” and “spending less” on wedding gifts this year. The nuance lies within just how much more or less when compared to other income brackets: people making less than $50K per year are over 55% more likely than the middle income bracket ($50K-$100K) to say they will spend more on wedding gifts this year. There is only a 17% difference between the lowest earners and middle-income earners who say they will spend less.

Furthermore, people earning less than $100K per year are the most likely to say they will spend more on gifts because they have extra money to budget. Not that higher earners don’t have extra money to spend, but higher earners’ primary reason for spending more on gifts is that products just cost more. Higher earners are noticing the cost of goods but likely still plan to purchase whatever they usually do for wedding gifts, regardless of how much the cost went up.

2022 is feeling more “normal” in terms of daily life and getting back to traditions, but money is certainly the new major influencer over consumer behavior and decision-making.