Economy sticking a cake fork in bridezilla?
Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:22 PM
NEW YORK - The fairytale weddings that many couples have yearned for are starting to come back down to earth â€” 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 â€œbig dayâ€ 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).
â€œEvery girl dreams about their wedding day,â€ said Rebecca Stamilio, who braved the February chill and the crowds at Fileneâ€™s Basementâ€™s bridal sale in Manhattan to find a gown. â€œBut at the same time, youâ€™re like, oh my gosh â€” 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.
â€œI just donâ€™t want to be in debt,â€ 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) â€” 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.
â€œWho knows how long the euro is going to stay this way?â€ 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. â€œWe 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 â€” $1,000 to $2,000 â€” 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.
â€œHigher-end venues and vendors are going to have to reposition themselves as things tighten up,â€ the Perfect Wedding Guideâ€™s Elliot said. And for smaller players in the wedding business, â€œitâ€™s going to be hard to compete.â€
Of course, many couples â€” some even from middle-class familes â€” 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.
â€œRemember, itâ€™s the dream,â€ Elliot said. â€œMany will spend on the dream in good times and in bad.â€
Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:27 PM
Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:33 PM
| Originally Posted by Kat81 |
The average cost of a wedding is 28000!!! WTF? Thank God for Mexico and Destination Weddings!
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.
Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:35 PM
Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:37 PM
Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:38 PM
Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:38 PM
Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:41 PM
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.
Posted 14 May 2008 - 05:46 PM
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users