Best of times: Brides are back and they are buying, with indications that wedding numbers for 2022 and 2023 will dwarf what we experienced in 2021.

Worst of times: Costs throughout the system are dramatically increasing, including labor, goods, freight and shipping, with the added aggravation of product availability and shipping delays. Manufacturers struggle to absorb what they can before passing along increases; stores pass along what they can while appeasing a world-weary anxious bride.

The key takeaway here though is this: the best of times outweigh the drag of the worst of times. . . we have brides. . . and lots of them!

And they are very aware of product availability and rising prices, and consequently need your expert face-to-face personalized service more than ever… an experience and assurance they cannot get from the faceless direct-to-consumer web sellers struggling with the same issues of costs, delays and deliveries.

Predictions for 2.4 million weddings in 2022 are promising yet too conservative. Even the Knot Worldwide’s recent prediction of 2.6 million weddings is a bit low. I’m thinking we could reach 2.7-2.8 million weddings in 2022 with comparable numbers in 2023.

I’m also optimistic about 2023 because of the impact COVID-19 has had on relationship priorities among American single men and women. Specifically and according to a recent survey, the majority of singles desire to be “off market”, with 62% desirous of the security and stability of a meaningful and committed relationship. . . and they want this relationship in the next year.

So how do we get through this?

By accepting it as a reality, recognizing that it is our attitude that limits, and with a focus on communication.

We can best manage the bride’s expectations by communicating early, often and openly. . . and by making sure that all who come in contact with brides are telling them the same authentic story. This is not a time for off-the-cuff statements that could be misinterpreted and used against you later.

Brides are understandably nervous. . . they see price increases, understand product delivery delays, know what is going on in the world. But that doesn’t mean they’ll forgive every “miscommunication”.

Remember and use your superpower: empathy.

To quote Robin Williams:

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always”