A wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and it’s because of that expectation that the wedding-planning industry has managed to thrive through economic crisis. But there are still many couples struggling to bring that idealized, carefully envisioned day to fruition. Even budget-conscious couples have expectations they are simply not willing to forego, which ultimately makes every wedding, no matter how quaint or extravagant, a consistently lucrative event.
Jennifer Evangelista, who bares the archangelic name of a woman born to be a bride, is currently planning her wedding to fiancé, Matthew Bardram. The LI native is thrilled about her impending nuptials but is also candidly realistic about their own financial limitations, “Money is the biggest concern because we both have to compromise what we want for the wedding.”
Evangelista is however insistent about one detail, which would be in an economically perfect world, to afford to invite and accommodate every guest she has in mind. “My fiancé wants an intimate wedding, he’d be content with about 20 people, but I have about 30 people in my family alone so it’s hard; it’s hard to make a celebration like that affordable without having to exclude people you’d like to be there.”
Regardless of where a couple chooses to save, there are still areas in which one, the other or both would like to expend.
Angela Troia, owner of the breathtaking Manhasset Wedding Company confirms that, “People are still having huge weddings. The wedding-planning industry isn’t really affected as much as you might think because people plan on doing it only once. So if you’re planning on spending X amount of money on what’s ideally a once-in-a-lifetime day, then many people will still spend on a wedding and cut back in other areas.”
In addition to the main event, that being the reception, a wedding always starts with a ring, and though it is a physically demure item, its fiscal value can in many ways define the love it symbolizes. When proposing, one would like to present something of overwhelming beauty to their paramour, something that will serve as a representation of a tremendous love, however love isn’t measured in karats and neither is a suffering economy. As a result, many couples will have to balance the significance of the ring and the memory of the wedding itself. Andrew Zecher, owner of Andrew Scott Events, attests that as of recently, his clientele are spending more on wedding planning and have become less concerned with the engagement ring itself. “The events are getting larger and more elaborate this year, which is a good sign given the past few years. People had been scaling back because of the economy but now it’s really all coming back. I think that brides would rather scale back on the ring and spend more on building the event and that memory.” In 2012, Zecher believes that, “Brides can still have their ring and a beautiful affair.”
Evangelista confirms the engagement ring is secondary to her and her fiancé. “Spending on the wedding is more important to me. Not necessarily because of how nice it will be but because I get to marry my best friend.” She says this with an abashed awareness of the cliché while knowing it’s sincerely true; she goes on to say, “He could have proposed with a Cracker Jack ring and I would have been just as thrilled.”
But the engagement ring still is a main focus for many couples.
Gary Hudes from Gennaro Jewelers in Bellmore says, “We’ve noticed that customers are much more knowledgable and educated about what they want. A trend we’ve noticed is a growing popularity in the halo cut diamond because it gives the appearance of being larger. But ultimately people are still buying large stones, but they’re trying to get the absolute most for their money.”
One piece of advice Evangelista wanted to extend to fellow brides in the thick of the wedding-planning madness is that, “It’s important for brides to know, there are no rules as to what your wedding should be. Don’t let anyone tell you or pressure you into doing something because it’s ‘what you’re supposed to do.’ Do it because you want to. I have two maids of honor because it’s my day and my fiancé’s day, so aside from the cost and the stress and other peoples expectations, the most important thing you can do is make it your own.”