Economy, High Gas Prices May Tame Bridezilla

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- Most little girls dream of their fairytale weddings but for many brides of today, reality is setting in.  A sluggish economy, rising gas and food prices and the weakening dollar has many couples rethinking their big day.

The wedding industry has long been considered one of the most recession resistant.  Most brides, grooms and their parents consider the big day an opportunity not to be skimped on. But unlike Cinderella and Prince Charming, who didn't have to pay a mortgage on a castle, more and more couples are finding it harder and harder to swallow the average price tag of a wedding, which according to trend trackers, can run close to $29,000.

Jentri Cupp will make the walk down the aisle this weekend with about 200 friends and family watching.

"You really have to modify. You start out with a plan and throughout the whole process you have to adjust things," said the bride to be.

The Wedding Report, Inc. estimates that nationwide, couples are opting to spend less on receptions and rings.  Cupp says she was able to save with the help of her family.

"I think that it helped a lot that I have a big family and they volunteered themselves to help with the food so that helped a lot to cut back on costs," said Cupp.

Clark's Bridal and Formals owner Shelley Kelley says they haven't seen the effects of the economy yet, but she believes it could be as soon as about six months away.

"Most of the weddings are planned in advance and it's a really special day for them so they try to have it as wonderful and special as close to what they wanted as possible," Kelley.

Kelley believes next year's prom season might take the biggest hit from high gas prices and rising food costs. Brides in Jonesboro spend about $2,000 on flowers.  Posey Peddler owner Bridgette Arnold says she's seen changes in how weddings are planned this year.

"I've seen a lot less destination weddings and more weddings here locally in Jonesboro and in the surrounding areas," said Arnold, "A lot are doing it to where they get their family involved to help them do something say that they would have normally have paid for someone to do."

"I think it's starting to become more personal and not as much as an extreme impressive show. The bride and groom want it to be about them and things that are impressive to them and its things that they cherish,'' said Cupp.

Many newlyweds are also rethinking their honeymoons.  The Wedding Report, Inc. says European trips have declined sharply, likely due to the declining dollar.