wedding, bridezilla, low-budget wedding

Couples Alter Plans for the Altar in Light of Recession

December 07, 2008 08:02 AM
by Shannon Firth
Hard economic times are forcing some brides and grooms to conserve their cash, though others continue to plan fantasy weddings.

Bridezilla’s Dream Deferred

According to Wedding Report Inc., Americans spent an average of $28,704 on weddings in 2008, a small drop from the 2007 average of $28,732. Still, the decline marks a significant trend, given that a Condé Nast report found wedding expenses had doubled in the last 15 years. Lately, many brides and grooms have had to curb expenses or even postpone their weddings. Certain ethnic groups and couples in the highest income bracket, however, are holding fast to their dream weddings.

Madlen Read, writing for the Associated Press, put it best: “Unlike Cinderella and Prince Charming, who didn’t have to worry about a mortgage on the castle, more couples are finding it hard to swallow the average pricetag of items like wedding cakes (about $500), bridal gowns (around $1,300) and flowers (near $2,000).”

Kyle Brown, a bridal association spokesman, told the Contra Costa Times that couples are putting off marriage to save up money and avoid scrimping on the ceremony. There are some exceptions, Brown notes: “I see the more entrenched people are in their culture, whether it be Italian, or Latino, or Indian, the weddings become more important.”

Desiree Koser of York, Pa., told that before hiring Rachael Glorioso, a wedding planner who specializes in making weddings affordable, she nearly signed a contract for a $13,000 package. Then, Koser said, “I just snapped. That was way too much money.” She says her wedding will be “elegant,” but her new budget is $6,000. Koser said she can save money by having the wedding ceremony on a Friday or Sunday—less expensive than a Saturday—and by making the menus, invitations and save-the-date cards herself.

Tampa, Fla., bride-to-be Lauren Burd said she doesn’t need a limo, or the fancy programs that are usually thrown away, but she does care about the food and the photos. As Amy Hake, owner of Weddings on the Susquehanna advises, “You have to pick what elements are important to you, and that is where you spend the most money.”

According to the Illinois Herald & Review, the recession has impacted bridal shops and florists. Marina Loehr who sells gowns at a shop in downtown Decatur, Ill., said her catalogue and specially designed dresses have only gone up $50 in 10 years, but still she’s feeling squeezed. “Because of the high gas prices and the economy, shipping cost has increased and everything is costing double now; it’s killing me.” Liene Stevens, a wedding consultant for Blue Orchid Designs, told the AP that some couples are making their own centerpieces and choosing afternoon and brunch weddings to save on food and alcohol costs.

According to AP, since last year, because of the rising cost of metals like gold and platinum, which have increased by 30 percent and 50 percent respectively, jewelers have also raised the price of their engagement and wedding rings. Moreover, because the data accounts for inflation, Read writes, “[M]any couples are really getting less for their dollar.”

Reaction: The undeterred

Still there are brides who say they will spare nothing for their special day. Jenny Park, 24, attending a “luxury bridal showcase” promoted specifically for “the top 1 percent of spenders,” told the New York Post, “I can afford it. Who cares how Lehman Brothers are doing? It’s one day of my life.”

Indo-Americans brides as well as those of Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese descent also appear equally unrestrained in their spending. According to Neha Gupta, a future bride from Oakland, Calif., the cost of an Indian wedding ranges from $50,000 to $75,000. Gupta explained to the Contra Costa Times, “You know how parents set up a college fund for their kids when they’re young? Well, Indian parents also have a wedding fund.” Gupta who has five wedding saris, some worth over $2,000, said her in-laws have already gifted her with diamonds and gold jewelry.

Related Topics: Recession-proof weddings; inventive honeymoon payment

British couple John and Ann Till paid for their honeymoon flights by recycling 60,000 cans off the street. It took them three months. The Wedding Examiner writes, “Talk about British pluck!”

The DIY Bride Blog offers its own advice on how to plan a wedding in a recession, including creating a contingency plan: “If one of your (sic) loses your job or promised cash disappears or a vendor goes belly up, what can you do to minimize your loses and still get hitched?”

Reference: Guide to Weddings


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