(WHTM) — The 2022 wedding season is shaping up to be one of the busiest ever with 2.5 million couples expected to tie the knot.

Wedding planner Claire Roache says the last two years have been challenging for both those wanting to get married and for the industry itself because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But now, guests are once again receiving their Save The Dates and sending in their RSVPs marked “yes.”

“Before we would estimate about 65-70% of people. It’s highly contingent on is this a destination wedding so on and so forth. There’s a lot of factors that play into it. Now i’m banking on about 80-85%, worst-case scenario fewer people RSVP or show up and you actually save money,” Roche said.

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One of this year’s bigger trends — the wedding weekend. “Instead of just one day they’re doing a welcome party, a wedding, and then they’re doing a brunch afterward. And they’re inviting fewer people. It allows them to elongate the celebration a little bit, which I think people are loving,” Roche explained.

Unfortunately, the return of weddings is coming at a time when the cost of everything is skyrocketing. Right now, Roche says she’s seeing couples spend between $50,000 and $60,000.

“Prior to that, I would have said 30-40, but just with the cost of everything, these things it’s more challenging to do a wedding for less,” Roche said.

She adds that the one thing COVID has done is made it easier for couples to throw a smaller wedding, which gives them more flexibility when it comes to what they are spending their money on.

“People are spending the same amount of money, so they’re able to customize things more, they’re able to invest in things that they’re really excited about, which has really been cool to watch couples do that,” Roche explained.

From venues to vendors, couples are just going to be paying more, and Roche’s best recommendation is to prioritize.

“Obviously you want the dream wedding for everybody but that might just not be a reality with the funds that you have for your wedding. So what are the top three things you and your partner really care about,” Roche said.

Whether it’s photographer, catering, or entertainment, figure out what’s more important to you and go from there. The best advice? Do what’s best for you.

“I’m seeing couples get more and more creative. I’m just seeing couples walk out of their wedding day, it might be a little less traditional, but a lot of times they’re having more fun. Doing a backyard wedding or a smaller wedding or wedding weekend, and they walk out of it so happy because it felt like a true reflection of them,” Roche explained.

Of course, couples aren’t just spending their money on the wedding. They are also setting aside money for their honeymoon and budgeting for a house