Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Economy dampens wedding plans

I read this article on Newsday.com today and I thought I would share it. Weddings can have a have hefty price tag and many clients I have met with recently have down sized their wedding plans in order to save money as well. But one piece of advice I will give is, don't sacrifice quality to save a buck. There are ways to save when planning your wedding but you don't want your wedding to appear as if it was on a budget.

Has the economy changed your wedding plans? Please send in your comments.

Economy dampens wedding plans
By Arielle Brechisci and Michelle Trauring October 14, 2008

A fairy tale wedding never took a recession into consideration.

“We started planning our wedding a year” said Lori Sabetello, 27, of Mount Sinai. “If we were doing it now, and this is how the economy was, we would have invited less people or had it at a less expensive place.”

Business catering to Long Island weddings- events frequently considered to be models of extravagance – are feeling the pinch as more and more couples worried about the souring economy scale back their festivities.

“I would say it’s the slowest it’s been in 15 years” said Victoria Buckwald, co-owner of Angel Bridals, a bridal shop in East Islip.

“More girls have a specific budget in mind, and it’s down from the budget that they would have had a year ago” said Buckwald she began noticing changes in brides's spending habits about a year and half ago.

Buckwald said she's notices women borrowing headpieces and other accessories from their friends, or buying wedding dresses off the rack and having the alterations made instead of custom-ordering a gown.

“You look to save money in any way that you can” said Sabatello, whose wedding to her high school sweetheart is Nov 7 at Infant Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Port Jefferson. “It’s a lot of money when you start adding everything up.”

Gary Cress, fourth-generation owner of James Cress Florists in Smithtown and Port Jefferson, feels the impact of price-conscious brides on his cash register.

For one recent wedding, Cress’ shop crafted the table arrangements – but that was all.

“The bride went to Stop & Shop & for the bouquets” he said. “ I was absolutely floored”

In years past, Cress said, it wasn’t unusual for brides to come to him and say they have consulted with two other florists. Now, it’s more like seven or 10. “The competition is much more prevalent,” he said.

To stay afloat, Cress finds himself changing this sales tactics. He hasn’t lowered prices generally but he is negotiating more with brides on the cost.

“I don’t let any brides walk,” he said. “If they come in with a certain amount of money to spend, I give them their flowers. You can’t let some supermarket do your wedding. It needs to be done correctly.”

Guest list also are taking a hit. Michael Burbage, banquet coordinator for Beckwith Pointe Catering in New Rochelle, said Friday that many guest are not attending his client’s weddings because they can’t afford the travel and hotel costs, or even an adequate gift.

“I have a couple getting married this weekend and almost 35 percent of guest said no.” said Burbage, whose clientele is about 10 percent Long Islanders. Couples have resorted to “going to their C and D lists” to maintain the minimum number of guest needed to keep their room, he said.

Sabatello said that our of 180 guest she and her fiancĂ© invited, 120 responded with one week left to go until the RSVP date. So far, 21 guest – mostly from out of state – declined the invitation.

Debbie Golden, 26 of Coram, has a guest list of 125 and is counting on 100 showing up at wedding in May. “We didn’t invite a lot of out-of-towners,” she said, so there’s no need to worry about long distance cancellations.

But one of the out-of-townser is her sister – who’s in the wedding.

“She’ll show up. Well, hopefully,” she said with a laugh.

Many long Island catering halls haven’t noticed a big change since the economic slump. Bruce Cocchi, banquet director of Watermill Caterers in Smithtown, said he’s notices a slight decrease, “but nothing dramatic,” in guest attendance.

“Maybe some people are concerned about their jobs and giving gifts,” Cocchi said, but I think most people, when it comes to a wedding, realize that the importance of the date has to be supersede something as superficial as money.”

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