Wedding plans shrinking in scope, but not in quality

By Jessica Bloch, BDN Staff
Posted Jan. 17, 2010, at 7:22 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Leana Larlee, of Glenburn, has been engaged since October. She and her fiance, Eric Main, haven’t yet set a date for their wedding. And they don’t have a location for their big day.

But Larlee has some definite ideas about what’s important to her.

“I want to have a nice photographer,” Larlee said. “We’re probably going to do a small [wedding], but one way to remember that and share it with other people is photography.”

There were plenty of photographers set up Saturday night at the Spectacular Event Center, where brides- and grooms-to-be flocked Saturday night and Sunday for the Maine Wedding Association’s 2010 Bangor Bridal Show.

More than 60 vendors were set up Saturday. There were long-established Bangor businesses such as Frank’s Bake Shop, which makes wedding cakes, and vendors from far away, such as a representative from the Barbados Tourism Authority, who was promoting the island as a destination for weddings and honeymoons.

Joan Montgomery-Dunn, the owner and head of customer service of the Maine Wedding Association, said that despite the effects of the economic recession brides aren’t compromising on high-quality vendors. If they want a top-notch florist or the best disc jockey they can get, they’re going to do it.

Many couples do seem to be cutting back their invitation lists, however, as a way to save money.

“That way, they can still have everything they want,” Montgomery-Dunn said. “So if it was going to be 300 [people], now it’s going to be 150, rather than cutting something out. They’re not compromising or giving up on anything. They want their wedding to be unique and special, and they want it to be them.”

That’s the strategy Larlee and Main are using to plan their wedding. They’re willing to go a little smaller as long as they can have the perfect photographer.

“We want to have something special, but not on as big of a scale,” Larlee said.

Old Town resident Sarah Desjardins, who will marry Jonathan Eisenhauer in June 2011, agreed about the importance of good photographs.

“They’re moments and memories you get to have forever,” she said. “Food goes away. You eat it. But with photography, it’s always a keepsake and a memory of that special day.”

Despite the presence of several limousine services at the show this weekend, Desjardins said that was one thing she could do without on her wedding day. She’s also not as concerned about serving expensive, fancy food. Food is eaten and then it’s gone for good, she said.

Charlotte Catledge and her fiance, Paul Randall, both of Old Town, are getting married in less than a month at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bangor. The food and reception location are, to them, the most critical part of the wedding.

“I want my guests to have an extraordinary time,” Catledge said.

Their compromise was to get married in the winter, a time of year when fewer couples tie the knot. When demand is lower, prices tend to be, too.

“The venues are so much cheaper and you can also get most of the vendors cheaper,” Catledge said. “You’re getting the quality for a [lower] price. It’s just colder temperatures.”

Montgomery-Dunn said most vendors will work with couples to find areas in which they can save a little money. One of the more popular money-saving options she has seen recently is a cocktail-and-hors d’oeuvres reception rather than a sit-down dinner.

“It’s later, it’s classy, and you can cut down some of the price,” Montgomery-Dunn said. “It’s simple. Less is more. That’s what they’re doing. People don’t have to have favors. They don’t have to have an open bar, or they’ll just do wine and beer. Things like that. You have to work with the professionals and be creative. You’re not going to save money by trying to think of everything yourself.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/01/17/news/bangor/wedding-plans-shrinking-in-scope-but-not-in-quality/ printed on October 30, 2014