Aisle getting steeper

CNJ Staff Photo: Tony Bullocks Lisa Pellegrino, left, event manager for the Clovis Civic Center, goes over wedding plans Thursday with Sasha Guhrke and Jason Zaikowski of Clovis. The couple are planning for a July wedding at the Civic Center.

By Keely McDowell: CNJ Staff Writer

With the economy putting a strain on spending money, brides are finding ways to cut costs when creating the wedding of their dreams despite their small wedding budgets.

According to local shop owners and event planners who specialize in weddings, brides are being more cautious with their money than in previous years.

Officials believe the rise in the price of food and other items are a factor. They said couples are starting with a smaller budget, choosing to have smaller weddings with less guests, and choosing to do much of the wedding preparations on their own.

“Anything that people can do themselves to cut the cost, I think they are,” said Sharla Bronniman, owner of Forever Blooms.

Although brides are taking on much more of the work prior to the wedding, some brides enjoy the opportunity to be more involved, according to Sasha Gurhke, a bride-to-be who is planning her July 12 wedding.

“My mom and I have been making a lot of the decor things ourselves,” Gurhke said. “But actually, in the end, it has been really good, because we have been spending time together. Now that I look back on it, I’m glad I made the decision I made.”

The economy is also having an effect on the guest list. According to Dan Ronan of AAA the price of gas increased $1.10 from last year. Due to this increase, many guests are unable to travel to attend the wedding, according to Gurhke.

“It has been difficult to get in a lot of my family that lives out of town,” Gurhke said. “Flights are really expensive and they can’t drive because it is not saving them any money. It’s been hard.”

Although couples have less money to spend on their wedding, it is not effecting the wedding industry, according to Neil McMullin general manager of the Clovis Civic Center.

He said the wedding industry is resilient, and couples will find a way to make sure they get the wedding they want.

In addition to decreasing their budgets, an increasing number of couples are asking for payment plans or putting the expenses on their credit cards, according to McMullin.