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Brides walk down the wedding expo aisles in Secaucus

Francesca Macchiabelli and her soon-to-be husband Michael Puppelo anxiously browsed through the vendors at the New Jersey Bridal & Wedding Expo on Saturday. Their wedding, she said, was a mere 11 months away.

"I've been panicking to find what everybody says we need, like a photographer and a DJ. Everything is here and it's exciting," Macchiabelli said.

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Macchiabelli and Puppelo, both 26 and from Bergen County, were among hundreds of prospective brides and grooms at the two-day event at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus.

Alyssa Lakes, director of media and marketing for American Consumer Shows, which organized the event, said the expo was a one-stop shop for all things weddings.

"Anything you would need to help start planning your wedding" is here, she said.

The expo floor featured white, polished stretch limousines and Rolls-Royce cars; wedding planners; DJs and entertainment companies; photographers and videographers; florists; gowns and tuxedos; caterers and bakeries; and hotels and resorts. Not to be missed was a booth for Investors Bank, presumably to help the couples finance the wedding of their dreams.

People getting married today "want something different," said Roshni Patel, an employee of Wedding Design in Rahway. "A wedding can be boring. You go, you eat, you dance, you gossip and you leave. You want to wow people."

Brittany Kalinowski, 26, was seeing what the expo had to offer with Dan Santos, 35. The two plan to get married in May 2016.

Santos was one of the few men at the expo.

"I wanted just to be involved," he said. It's our day together. It's nice to see her smiling and enjoying the process."

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07:21 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Want Your Marriage To Last? Start With A Huge, Cheap Wedding

Before and after, there's the bachelor/bachelorette party, the rehearsal dinner and the day-after brunch. There's the photo booth, which is a definite necessity these days. And what couple doesn't have a website designed to share with the world the first time they laid eyes on each other?

"The whole thing has gotten way out of hand," sociologist and sexologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz says of what some have come to refer to as the "wedding-industrial complex."

Yet until Emory University economics professors Andrew Francis and Hugo Mialon decided to organize a study last year, no one had paused to question whether this out-of-control spending was having an impact on, well, the actual marriage.

Spoiler alert, it does. And it's not a positive one. Francis and Mialon surveyed more than 3,000 people — all of whom have been married just once — and found that across income levels, the more you dish out on the Big Day, the shorter the marriage.

Guys investing between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring were 1.3 times more likely to get divorced compared with the more frugal fellows who only allocate between $500 and $2,000. (That said, odds are even better for guys who can drop more than $8,000, possibly because divorce also decreases with higher incomes.)

For both sexes, spending more than $20,000 on the wedding ups the odds of divorce by 3.5 times compared with couples who keep it between $5,000 and $10,000.

A photo prop sits in May 2003 outside the Wedding Chapel, one of two commercial chapels in Ringgold, Ga. The town of 2,422 issued 2,259 marriage the year before, and added $700,000 to the economy, because of the cheap cost and the plethora of related services the town offered.
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For the best odds, though, keep the festivities to less than $1,000.

According to the media company XO Group, the average wedding budget has soared to an all-time high of almost $30,000 (that's not including the honeymoon), with 1 in 8 couples spending more than $40,000. As a whole, research firm IBISWorld calculates that the industry generates $55 billion a year.

"Advertising has fueled the norm that spending large amounts on the engagement ring and wedding is an indication of commitment or is helpful for a marriage to be successful," the researchers wrote in an email — an assumption their work debunked.

Francis and Mialon say one possible explanation is that post-wedding debt stokes marital tensions. But, as Schwartz is quick to point out, correlation is not the same as causation. She says part of the problem may be that "the wedding has become the highlight rather than the beginning of something."

After almost three decades of planning weddings, Kim Horn, whom bridal geeks might recognize from her cameos on the WE network's My Fair Wedding, agrees: "The focus is not on the relationship and the long-term commitment."

Since the 1980s, when Horn first started her career, the industry has become much more hyped, she says. Between bridal magazines and reality TV shows, couples are inundated with advertising, so she says it's not surprising that wedding spending has gone up.

One of Francis and Mialon's other findings seems to contradict the numbers that point toward lower spending: A hefty guest list also lowers the odds of divorce, with attendance over 100 people providing the best boost to marriage longevity.

The ultimate message seems to be, keep your big day big, but shrink the per-guest price tag if you want the years that follow to be just as fulfilling.

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07:10 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Wedding planners see plusses in same-sex marriage

Several local companies associated with the booming beach wedding industry have shown their support for Florida becoming the 36th state in the nation to legalize same sex marriages.

While many local beach wedding vendors have been performing commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples for years, several expressed excitement about being able to finally offer true wedding ceremonies.

“I have long since been an advocate of marriage equality and I’m just happy to see it’s happening as fast as it’s happening,” said Grove Fisher, who owns Fisher’s Flowers with her husband Adam.

Maggie Halsey’s Barefoot Weddings has also performed commitment ceremonies since she opened 16 years ago.

Gay marriage
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“I think more and more people are more open minded,” Halsey said. “Just about everybody has somebody in their family who is gay or have friends.

As the largest accommodation provider in Northwest Florida, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals hosts a lot of weddings throughout the year. Company spokesperson Martin Owen said ResortQuest is looking forward to hosting same sex marriages.

“Naturally, we are all inclusive and we don’t discriminate against anybody,” Owen said. “We just like everybody having weddings on the beach.”

Fisher said her feelings about marriage equality were very personal but intersect her professional life.

“I think it opens the doors to a whole bunch more opportunity as far as growing here,” Fisher said of the wedding industry.

The industry could also see a bump with the clerks of court in Okaloosa, Walton, and Santa Rosa counties getting out of the wedding business.

“It infuriates me,” Fisher said. “It’s so backwards and so wrong that I can’t even stand it.”

For her part, Halsey has been renovating the chapel at 11 Eglin Parkway SE in Fort Walton Beach to offer ceremonies at her office. She hopes to have her chapel ready for ceremonies by Friday.

“I was surprised (the clerks stopped performing wedding ceremonies),” Halsey said. “I wasn’t expecting it. That’s why I’m scrambling now to get the chapel together.”

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07:32 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)