Inflation adds challenge to couple’s wedding planning

Business is not slowing down for local venues.

Lauren Iocono is happy to be getting married, but says it is challenging to plan a wedding amid rising costs brought on by inflation.

Iocono and her fiancée Roth Schiefer’s wedding is among the 2.5 million nuptials the Wedding Report website forecasts will be exchanged this year. That will be the most in a single year since 1984, according to the site that tracks wedding data.

Iocono and Schiefer, who met on a dating app, are doing their best to stay within their $20,000-$25,000 budget for their unique dinosaur themed wedding inspired by the groom’s dinosaur tattoos.

While keeping in mind that prices are on the rise, Iocono was pleased to have her dress and veil fall under her price range of about $1,500 from David’s Bridal.

Amina Chakhalidze owner of The Bridal House, a bridal shop in downtown Dayton said she’s hearing concerns about costs.

Chakhalidze has been in the bridal business for three years and said that recently brides who enter her store say they are looking for wedding dresses that are less expensive.

The Bridal House recently added more dresses on clearance starting at $1300, Chakhalidze said.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Iocono also worried about the cost for a makeup artist.

She started receiving emails from makeup artists alerting her to price increases. Since she booked her vendor early in January, she will be able to keep her original price unless she needs to reschedule, she said.

Iocono is paying $150 for hair and makeup and said she thinks it’s on the high end. However, it isn’t nearly as much as what one of her relatives is being charged. Her cousin, who is getting married in Pennsylvania this year, is paying $350 for her hair and makeup, Iocono said.

In addition to makeup vendors, “food prices are going up, everything’s just going up,” she said.

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When considering other aspects of their wedding such as floral arrangements, Iocono, a Xavier University graduate and Schiefer, a graduate of Miami University, would like their budget to stay under $1,000. That might be hard to do. The average cost for wedding flowers in 2021 was $2,300, which is about a 28 percent increase from 2018, according to the wedding website, the Knot. With inflation on the rise, an increase in floral arrangements this year is expected.

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“There’s really no way to avoid it. Other than cut back your expenditure, said Kevin Willardsen, an economics professor from Wright State University, when referring to inflation. “This is why inflation is so bad and why everybody hates it.”

The impact inflation is having on area wedding venues varies.

For Magnolia Estate, where Iocono and Schiefer will marry on Nov. 5, the venue’s calendar is full. The estate is hosting weddings almost every day of the week, according to the general manager and owner Julio Gonzalez. The venue is also still rescheduling weddings from brides and grooms who changed their wedding dates due to COVID-19. Even with hosting weekday weddings, Magnolia’s last COVID reschedule isn’t until 2023.

“We’d rather keep all of our guests and our clients safe, as much as possible,” Gonzalez said of the venue being scheduled into 2023.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

With many couples dealing first with COVID and now with inflation, Gonzalez said he’s aware of their concerns.

However, price increases in this economic climate are possible due to services they use to maintain the estate, Gonzalez said. Since Magnolia surrounded by green space, one frequently used service includes lawn care which has become more expensive over time. Development projects are also getting a cautious look due to expenses, Gonzalez said.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

“So, when we eventually have to increase our prices – I wish it wasn’t a thing, I think maybe it is – but when we do that, we have to be mindful of keeping a fair price for our brides or grooms while maintaining what we do here at Magnolia Estate when it comes to landscaping, staffing, being prepared for these events and what’s to come,” he said.

Magnolia Estate averages 150 weddings per year. Depending on the facility rented and the day of the wedding, a wedding held on a weekend could range from $2,995 to $6,495, according to Gonzalez.

City owned wedding venues like the Dayton Art Institute and Benham’s Grove in Centerville are not experiencing an impact from inflation and are not considering price increases.

DAI remains unaffected by inflation due to couples being billed directly for services specific to their wedding such as caterers, equipment rentals and lighting. “Our vendor partners have been impacted more than we have,” Donna Young, museum and events coordinator of DAI, said.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Benham’s Grove originally opened in 1992 as the Dayton Showhouse.

Since then, some years have been busier than others, but today the venue is averaging 50 to 60 weddings annually.

Depending on which part of the facility, a rental for Benham’s Grove can cost $2,000-$4,000 excluding catering or other vendors, Kate Bostdorff, communications director for the city of Centerville, said.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

According to Benham’s Grove administrator Randal Bishop, business has been constant.

“Our rental rates are submitted and approved by our city council. We adjust them annually,” Bishop said.

Whether you are a bride, a vendor or someone looking for ways to deal with inflation, Willardsen offered a few helpful tips.

“If you don’t have a membership to Costco, now might be the time,” he said, while adding that it would be beneficial to buy items in bulk. “The easiest thing to do would be to cut out luxuries you don’t need.”

With their budget in mind, Iocono and Schiefer are looking forward to November.

“But honestly, I think it’ll be like one of those days where it’ll be all worth it. It’s just getting to that day is a little stressful,” Iocono said.

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