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Steve Chiotakis: Spring is here, and that means more weddings. The average wedding in the United States costs somewhere around $28,000. But these days, many couples heading to the altar are scaling back. Ashley Milne-Tyte reports.
Ashley Milne-Tyte: Here comes 2009’s more frugal bride and groom. Lindsey Wollschlager and her fiance Justin Johnson had planned a reception at an arts center in Red Wing, Minn. The cost: $3,000, even before the food. The more they thought about it:
Lindsey Wollschalger: Why should we mortgage our future on one day, given the uncertainty of everything?
Instead, they opted for something simpler:
Wollschlager: And our favorite camp ground in the world is in Lake City, Minn., and it’s right on the shores of Lake Pepin and it’s just gorgeous.
And the covered dining hall overlooking the lake is pretty cheap.
Wollschalger: I talked to the campground and I can rent that for $200, and it already has the tables, it already has chairs, it already has tablecloths.
Lindsey’s parents are sharing the cost. But her mother works at a company that’s seen several rounds of layoffs lately. That’s making everyone more worried about money, and it’s prompted Lindsey to downsize the wedding.
Millie Martini Bratten is editor of Brides Magazine. She says the recession gives couples a perfect opportunity. They can focus on what they really want in a wedding — and that extends to the guest list.
Millie Martini Bratten: Right now, it’s a little easier to tell people, “Gee, I’d love to have you come, but I really am on a tight budget.” Because in reality, everybody is.
Bratten says businesses from venues to florists are ready to negotiate.
Brandon Powers is a photographer in southern Georgia. Couples started haggling with him over his package deals earlier this year. So he introduced a la carte pricing.
Brandon Powers: And I haven’t seen, you know, a big change in how much people are spending. They’re not necessarily spending less, they just wanna make sure that what they’re spending their money on are the things that they absolutely want.
He says he’s working a lot more do-it-yourself weddings.
Powers: Clients and friends and family members of the clients are taking on more of the responsibilities that were done by professionals in the past.
He’s seeing fewer videographers, fewer bands and more iPods. That’s all fine with bride-to-be Lindsey Wollschlager.
Wollschlager: You know at the end of the day, a wedding is about bringing two families together and celebrating it with the people that you’re closest to. And it doesn’t need to be more than that.
Even if her future in-laws are still getting used to the idea of a reception at a camp site.
I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.
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