Planning a wedding in a shaky economy

10Oct08

When I announced our engagement to friends and co-workers, I was expecting people to expect that we would have a lavish reception, and that I would get grief from people who didn’t like my vision for the wedding, which is not the way that weddings seem to be going of late: inviting everyone you’ve ever met and going into debt. I’ve found the opposite to be true. People have given me tips for having a cheaper wedding and glad to hear it when I tell them I’m planning a wedding on the small side, and outside of a major city.

One can’t help but think that this new outlook is because of the global economic crisis. I try not to spend a lot of time thinking about it, but it is a bit of a scary time right now in general, let alone to be planning a wedding. I wonder if I should even be putting deposits down since who knows what the economy will look like in a few months. I feel for the Fall ’08 brides and early ’09 brides whose guest lists are surely dwindling. I can only hope that by the time I get married, 13 months from now, things will have settled down. But if not, we have already decided that we will have a small ceremony and plan a larger reception on our 1st anniversary.

The only good thing to come out of a shaky economic period is that people are scaling back. The lavish parties and weddings aren’t going to be as lavish this year for the most part. I think the trend of over the top platinum weddings is going to go by the wayside, and not a moment too soon in my book. It’s also a good time to negotiate with vendors, especially one man operations such as photographers or wedding planners. They might be willing to take a smaller up-front deposit to guarantee work later on. This is especially true for those of us getting married in “off” months where the vendor might have a harder time finding work in a troublesome economy.

Other vendors might also be willing to work with you, such as caterers and reception sites. It can’t hurt to ask, you might be surprised by the answer. Even if the answer is no, odds are you’ll probably find at least one vendor who will be willing to negotiate. I hate to say that brides should use this economy to their advantage, but I can’t see why they shouldn’t. Most wedding vendors are overpriced and there is often a mark-up for weddings that there aren’t for other types of parties. We should pay what everyone else pays, and in this economy we may get to do just that.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing if weddings go back to what they should be. A celebration of two people starting their lives together, shared with close friends and family.

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