Weddings, even those with larger budgets, are on the comeback after the pandemic resulted in widespread wedding delays, Timothy Chi, CEO of wedding planning website The Knot Worldwide, told CNBC on Friday.

“The US has an average of about 2 million weddings annually. We have seen that about 50% of them bear fruit,” said Chi at Squawk on the Street.

As a result, Chi said he expects weddings to increase by 20-25% this year and 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels.

According to a report by market research company IBIS World, the wedding industry saw a 34% drop in sales last year as the Covid crisis caused many weddings to be postponed or at least downsized.

With weddings picking up again now with most of the pandemic restrictions lifted, Chi said couples “are ready to do anything again” evidenced by their spending preferences.

The average wedding party budget this year is around $ 22,500, according to The Knot, which is more than $ 3,000 higher than in 2020 and roughly on par with 2019 levels.

In addition, a recent survey by The Knot found that around 66% of respondents increased their budget for things that could make the day “special”, such as adding a second photographer, more exotic flowers, increasing the number of guests, and more Health and safety measures.

Chi said he believes increased budgets can serve as a “leading indicator” of consumer spending in certain parts of the economy, noting that travel and hotel stays are often associated with wedding events.

“There is no better way to return to the post-Covid era than with a grand celebration that brings your closest friends and families together,” he said.