Chicago area wedding boom creates hitch for newly engaged couples

Wedding bells are ringing off the hook.

"The wedding gates have opened up and here comes the brides and grooms," said wedding planner and owner of Big City Bride, Susan Cordogan.

The bridal industry is seeing a boom like never before. There are 20-percent more weddings nationwide this year. It’s like an avalanche of engagements.

"It was our best year, in 25 years, in engagement ring sales," said co-owner of Holzmann’s jewelry shop, Pamela Holtzmann.

Wedding planners have never been busier.

"We are definitely seeing that the flood of engagements and the backlog of weddings, postponed due to COVID, is all compounding to make this truly a wedding boom," said Cordogan.

Chicago couple Mary Rosenwinkel and Jake Wagner just got engaged. But finding a wedding date that’s available is rarer than a fine diamond.

"They’ve never seen it so packed. It’s never been this busy and they’re answering like 50 quotes a day or something ridiculous," said Rosenwinkel. "They’re completely booked through this summer and they’re already booking into 2024."

COVID hit Chicago businesses hard, says Cordogan.

"Eighty percent of our industry lost their jobs, were furloughed or let go completely and that's a lot to build back," she said.

Supply chain issues are affecting the wedding industry as well, with prices up two to three times for décor and favors.


Cordogan recommends planning a small wedding to lower the cost and find a unique venue. She has seen many couples book their favorite restaurant or bar.

Big City Bride planned a wedding in the parking lot of an Arlington Heights restaurant, as well as an intimate backyard bash.

"Couples should get engaged when they're ready but if you know it's going to happen, pick a date and a venue, hire your planner, get your vendors lined up and always have a Plan B," said Cordogan.