While weddings seem to be synonymous with luxury and expense, the recession isn’t likely to affect how much money brides and grooms here spend on their big day, experts said yesterday.

“Even with the economy the way it is right now, people are finding the money to throw themselves a big party,” said Stacey Price, principal planner at Marry Me Productions, a wedding planning company based out of Ottawa. With the average wedding costing between $28,000 and $35,000, “we’re gearing up for our biggest season yet,” she said.

The company was one of about 160 catering to more than 3,000 people at the Wedding Palace Bridal Show, at the downtown Westin Hotel over the weekend.

People are expected to continue to shell out for their weddings despite hard economic times, and there are several reasons for this, said Price.

Brides and grooms are slightly older than in the past, and have had time to establish their careers.

“We see a lot of young professionals,” she said. “People are paying for their weddings themselves, rather than having their parents pay for it.”

“People are holding out a little longer to get married,” said Amanda Andrews, president of the Wedding Palace Bridal Show yesterday.

As a result, they have more money to spend, she said.

There’s also been a change in the types of weddings people are having, Price said.
She estimates only three out of 40 weddings are “traditional.”

“Because they’re paying for it, young people aren’t giving up control,” she said.
Fleisher Photography photographer Kathy Youssef also doesn’t think a recession will have much of an effect on her business.

“At the end of the day, the cake gets eaten and the shoes get put away, but the pictures will stay, and they’ll remind you of the day,” she said.

Although Danielle St-Pierre, 23, and Jason VandenOetelaar, 24, have been affected by the recession, the Alexandria couple isn’t worried about the effect it will have on their October 2009 wedding.
“We didn’t plan on going too extravagant,” she said.