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Economy sticking a cake fork in bridezilla?

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Economy sticking a cake fork in bridezilla? - U.S. business - MSNBC.com

 

NEW YORK - The fairytale weddings that many couples have yearned for are starting to come back down to earth — leveled by everyday problems like house payments and rising gas and food bills.

 

The wedding industry has long been considered one of most recession-proof. Most brides, grooms and their parents see the “big day†as a once-in-a-lifetime event not to be skimped on. But unlike Cinderella and Prince Charming, who didnâ€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).

 

“Every girl dreams about their wedding day,†said Rebecca Stamilio, who braved the February chill and the crowds at Fileneâ€s Basementâ€s bridal sale in Manhattan to find a gown. “But at the same time, youâ€re like, oh my gosh — I could pay off this much of my mortgage.â€

 

Stamilio, a 30-year-old physics instructor at Edgecombe Community College in Tarboro, N.C., found a long, simple, white gown for $249 that was originally $1,600.

 

“I just donâ€t want to be in debt,†she said.

 

Many other couples apparently share that sentiment and are cutting some corners as they put their weddings together. Wedding trend tracker The Wedding Report Inc. estimates the average cost of a wedding will dip slightly this year to $28,704, compared with $28,732 in 2007.

 

That runs counter to the trend of the past 15 years, when wedding spending has nearly doubled, according to Conde Nast data. Tammy Elliot, president of the Perfect Wedding Guide wedding planning Web site, noted that the market is growing quickly due to the children of baby boomers.

 

Spending on the actual ceremony and the rehearsal dinner appear to be up this year, according to The Wedding Report data, while outlays for the reception and rings are declining.

 

 

Itâ€s important to note that the data includes inflation, so with food, energy and metals prices on the rise, many couples are really getting less for their dollar. The wholesale price of gold is up more than 30 percent from a year ago, while platinum is up more than 50 percent, and retailers are having to pass these increases on to consumers.

 

With costs surging, some new wedding trends are sprouting. Liene Stevens, a consultant at the wedding and event planner Blue Orchid Designs, said sheâ€s noticing couples opting for more do-it-yourself wedding items, such as table centerpieces. Theyâ€re also planning more brunch and afternoon weddings so they can shell out less for food and alcohol, she said.

 

Stamilio is accustomed to being frugal; financially independent since the age of 16, she paid for her first car, her first computer and her college tuition. But sheâ€s not the only one keeping track of her receipts (sheâ€s aiming for under $10,000 in total) — bigger spenders are seeking out ways to save money, too.

 

Erin Robertson and her family are willing to budget as much as $30,000 for her upcoming wedding, but Robertson went bargain shopping with Stamilio at Fileneâ€s Basement for her dress. She ended up with a $730 ivory silk dress, tax included, that was originally $3,500.

 

Another popular way for newlyweds to save is tweaking or rethinking their honeymoons (an expenditure that is not included in The Wedding Reportâ€s annual spending estimates). Barb Maxwell, who specializes in honeymoon vacations at the travel agency Viking Travel, said requests for European trips have sharply declined over the past several months, and that couples are increasingly choosing packages that include extra benefits and amenities, like free breakfast. The declining dollar, which makes travel abroad more expensive, certainly has had an impact on honeymoon planning.

 

Portofino, Italy, had been 30-year-old Kate Wittenâ€s ideal honeymoon destination for four years. Witten, a yoga instructor who lives in Atlanta, and her boyfriend chose the Mediterranean fishing village just a few weeks after they started dating. But when they realized a few months ago how expensive it would be with the euro worth about $1.55, they nixed the idea and decided on South Africa instead.

 

 

“Who knows how long the euro is going to stay this way?†said Witten. She noted that their two-and-a-half week trip to South Africa will add up to a relatively hefty $8,000, but they will be able to stay at high-end hotels. “We wouldâ€ve had to really pick and choose carefully in Europe.â€

 

With brides and grooms looking for ways to pare wedding budgets, retailers and planners are noticing some business shifts.

 

Anna Podore, a buyer for Fileneâ€s Basementâ€s wedding dress sale, said moderate-price bridal retailers are not selling quite as many dresses as in the past and, as a result, have more inventory to sell to Fileneâ€s at marked-down prices. Brides in the market for dresses over $3,000 appear resilient to the economic downturn, Podore said, but mid-range dresses — $1,000 to $2,000 — seem to be finding fewer takers.

 

Brides are also cutting back on extras. Lauren Walling, marketing director of Catalina & Co., a small bridal gown shop in Brooklyn, said that although orders for designs and alterations keep increasing, orders for cleaning and preservation have declined.

 

“Higher-end venues and vendors are going to have to reposition themselves as things tighten up,†the Perfect Wedding Guideâ€s Elliot said. And for smaller players in the wedding business, “itâ€s going to be hard to compete.â€

 

Of course, many couples — some even from middle-class familes — are still paying well over $100,000 for their weddings. And although wedding spending appears to be plateauing right now, most experts expect it to resume its climb.

 

“Remember, itâ€s the dream,†Elliot said. “Many will spend on the dream in good times and in bad.â€

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kat81 View Post
The average cost of a wedding is 28000!!! WTF? Thank God for Mexico and Destination Weddings!
Since the article is from New York, I'm hoping it's their average- not the countries. I know the weddings here in Oregon make that average drop! LOL

I would love to go to a kick ass wedding though. I need some rich friends because I sure as hell can't afford one.

I will say after it was all said and done, we spent around 18K. Good LORD! I don't like seeing that figure. I was very anti big weddings because I thought a mortgage was more important. Looks like my values flew out the window or I just had no concept of the costs of weddings. I think and hope it was the latter.

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Great article! I think the average wedding in the US is that $28,000 number but in NY its much higher. Most of the average people I am friends with had a $60,000 or higher. Its insane. Which is why I could never afford a wedding here in NY.

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I went to a really fancy wedding once. The governor of Texas was there and everything. It was so bad ass. I felt like I was in a movie. The reception was soooo amazing. But you know what? I have had way more fun at a lot cheaper weddings. It was like you couldn't just be yourself and go bust a move on the dance floor everything was so prim and proper. BLAH not my idea of a fun time. I bet they spent close to a 100,000 though. Maybe more.

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See there we go- Glenda's friends raise the average with their 5 course meals and flowing bubblies. My friend's lower it with their Bud Light and BYOE (Bring Your Own Entree- or better known as a Pot Luck.) I'm tired of those weddings. I don't cook! Humph!

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By the way not to be super nosy but is that 18000 including your dress and his stuff and the favors? Or was that just the wedding?

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You can be nosy all you want- that's what I'm here for.

 

That figure is for EVERYTHING wedding related, including our 2 week stay. I was not extravagent on anything so I can't really say I feel too bad about spending that much. Too me, it's a lot of money. I know some won't bat an eye at the figure, but I have so many ways I could have used some of that money.

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My MOH is getting married and is shocked at the prices she is being quoted. It is around $21K for 120 people. So crazy!!!

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