Brides still spending on weddings despite recessionCourtney Moore got to pick out whatever wedding dress she wanted. Her fiance, Luis Garcia, cashed in his retirement fund so Moore could choose the perfect dress, regardless of the cost.
By: Katie Steiner, The Bakersfield Californian
Courtney Moore got to pick out whatever wedding dress she wanted.
Her fiance, Luis Garcia, cashed in his retirement fund so Moore could choose the perfect dress, regardless of the cost.
The couple, who were married Saturday, skimped on other parts of the festivities. Friends donated all the food and loaned various items to them. They didn’t have to pay for the church as it’s where they attend.
But even by skimping, the couple estimated they spent $30,000 to $45,000 on their wedding.
Despite the recession, it seems many brides and grooms are willing to shell out as much money as is needed to ensure they have the best wedding possible.
They’re also finding that even if they try to save, they can’t escape the high costs that come with putting on a wedding.
“That’s just the business. It’s just expensive,” said Jacqueline Smith, manager of Ladies and Gents Bridal. “They do that on purpose. They know everyone is going to get married.
“Yeah, you can try to do it on a budget but it’s ideal to have that extravagant wedding,” Smith added.
Nationally, the majority of couples spend $15,299 to $25,498 on their wedding, according to www.costofwedding.com, a Web site run by industry research company The Wedding Report.
That is the trend locally as well. On average, Bakersfield couples spend $14,381 to $23,968, according to the Web site. That excludes the costs of a honeymoon and engagement ring.
When planning a wedding, “it adds up really quick,” said local wedding planner Chyrill Sandrini of Sandrini Concepts. “You want whatever makes a little girl’s dreams come true.”
To make those dreams come true without going bankrupt, couples are doing more shopping around, looking for the best deals.
“Because of the economy, people are looking for a package,” Smith said. “They’re looking to get more bang for their buck.”
To keep up with customers’ wishes, Ladies and Gents Bridal is offering discounts such as 15 percent off bridesmaid dresses with the purchase of a wedding gown.
While the store has always offered a few discounts, they’re doing more now. And some of their promotions, such as 20 percent off accessories, are “not normal” for the business, Smith said.
With the economy, couples may also pick and choose where they really want to spend their money.
A few years ago, many people splurged on cakes that served 300 to 400 guests, said Erma Wilson, owner of The Cake Crafters. Now, they’re buying cakes that serve 100 people and “then getting sheet cakes or cupcakes to fill in. That cuts down on the price,” she said.
On the flip side, there are some things couples aren’t willing to compromise on.
Mark Perry, owner of Freestyle Entertainment, said he hasn’t seen any impact on his company’s wedding business.
“People are spending as much as always,” he said. “For milestone events, they’re going to prioritize their entertainment.”
Another thing most couples, or at least the bride, put at the top of the list is the wedding dress.
“Our business has stayed pretty consistent,” Smith said. “People are still getting married, and they’re still trying to find that special dress.”
Megan Mosher spent about $1,000 on her and her bridesmaids’ dresses. That doesn’t sound too bad, except that she’s trying to put on her wedding with a $5,000 budget.
The wedding is being held in a friend’s backyard. Dinner will be a potluck and she is using hand-me-down invitations.
Chanin Hartnett, one of Mosher’s bridesmaids, said, “We’re trying to make it just elegant enough to be considered a wedding.”