Editor’s note: This is one of four articles by MinnPost interns spotlighting diverse Faces of the Economy.
Weddings are expensive. When you throw in floral arrangements, an open bar, venue rentals, the perfect cake and 50 goldfish centerpieces, the happiest day of your life quickly adds up to tens of thousands of dollars. So, in a recession, can couples and their families continue to add the expense of a professional wedding planner to the mix?
According to Christina Anderson, owner of Christina Marie Events in Shakopee, Minn., that answer is “yes.” Anderson said she has not noticed fewer people hiring event planners due to the recession. In fact, business has grown for Christina Marie Events.
“People are wanting [planners] to find better deals for them so they can make more informed financial decisions,” Anderson said.
The average budget for couples who come to Christina Marie is $20,000. Couples are trying to save more money these days, she said, but they are still hiring wedding planners to organize their budgets and help them find the most efficient ways to pay for the big day.
“In the planning process, people learn to save money in certain areas and will often drop their budget in the process,” Anderson said. “Then they find they can put more money toward a house or their honeymoon.”
Number of events has grown
Budgeting is just one aspect of Anderson’s job. She searches and schedules ceremony and reception venues, organizes designs and décor for all kinds of events from corporate events, parties, fundraisers and conferences to social celebrations. But the majority of events she manages, about 60 percent, are weddings. Anderson said the number of events she organized annually has grown considerably every year for the five years Christina Marie Events has been around. The first year, she managed 10 events, 23 the second year and this year she said she will see 40 to 45 events.
Anderson has noticed some money-saving trends emerge in the past year, like the “do-it-yourself bride.” These are women who find ways to cut back by tackling projects themselves like designing and printing their own invitations rather than paying big bucks to get them done professionally. The “green bride” as Anderson put it, is also popular, ordering recycled invitations and renting décor that can be reused.
Although her business has not declined, her clients’ budgets have. And the company must adjust its approach to meet the needs of these clients.
“We pay attention to what the market is doing … narrowing in on a couple’s budget and trying to help them stay within it,” she said. “It’s a happier couple who can save some money.”