After a pandemic pause, an increase in new couples planning weddings means strong demand and higher prices amid record inflation. Here are some tips for saving.

COLUMBIA, SC — Millions of couples are now searching for the right way to say “yes” after the pandemic caused ceremonies to be postponed.

According to the Wedding Planning Site The knot2.6 million couples are expected to wed this year, 400,000 more than is typical in the country.

The wedding boom comes amid record inflation, supply chain issues and labor shortages that are driving up costs.

The high demand is also causing more sites to fill.

RELATED: US inflation hit a new 40-year high last month

Rachel Martin was browsing Bride City Shows‘ Columbia Expo on Sunday, after getting engaged earlier this year.

“We won’t be getting married until October next year,” Martin said, “and that was the last weekend this venue was available in October, so things get booked up really quickly.”

Rental companies, caterers and florists are among those affected, including furniture rental company PR Design.

“We had to raise delivery prices, you know, just based on gas, labor, stuff like that,” said account manager Morgan Arvoy. “So the prices are definitely a bit higher than they normally are.”

RELATED: Meet Sam, a Kid Selling Ice Cream for His College Fund

The Knot suggests financial planning, discusses “must haves” and envisions a weekday ceremony.

“Sometimes people think, oh, we can wait until the last minute for some sellers, but that’s not really true these days. You have to go ahead and secure your sellers,” said Bonnie Brunt, owner by Bonnie Brunt Cakes. “Last spring was the busiest spring we’ve had in 12 years.”

Despite the challenge, sellers and couples agree – the reward is worth it.

“Things can be stressful, but just try to enjoy it and soak it up because these are special times,” said Meghan Sonatore, who is engaged.

Those looking for local sellers can find a list of those who appeared at Sunday Bride City Expo here. Additional planning resources through The Knot can be found here.

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