Kiwi brides defying recession says Urban Gourmet   12 Aug 2009

WEDDINGS:  According to one of the country's leading event and catering companies, Urban Gourmet, New Zealand wedding couples are defying the economic downturn. While other costs are being cut, it seems that couples are still happy to invest in this milestone occasion.

'We have had more weddings booked for 2010 than in the past three years,' says Sophie Lister, Events Manager at Urban Gourmet. 'Even though times are tough, people are still getting married. They still want that dream wedding to look forward to.'

One side effect of the recession is that couples are doing more shopping around to find the best deals. Although they are still going ahead with their Big Day, Kiwis are not prepared to bankrupt themselves doing it. 'Because money is tighter, people are looking to get more bang for their buck' explains Sophie. 'On top of that, they are planning their weddings further ahead, in the hope that they can take advantage of early booking discounts.

'The format of weddings has also shifted. 'For example, less people are after a formal, sit down meal but the fork food style of catering has become much more popular. Couples want something that is elegant and delicious but isn't going to break the bank.'

Rachel Bowden and Christopher Shermer are one New Zealand couple who have not let the recession stand in the way of getting married. Despite some financial challenges, they are still determined to say their wedding vows. 'The economic downturn has had a massive impact on us as Chris was made redundant in February,' says Rachel. 'Even though we lost two thirds of our income, we still really wanted to go ahead with the wedding. We didn't want to postpone making that commitment to each other in front of all our friends and family.' 'We have had to make some changes due to cost,' adds Rachel. 'However, there are a couple of things we would prefer not to compromise on. For example, we are both big foodies, and appreciate excellent cuisine and fine wine so I am hoping we won't have to cut back on that. The dress is also something I wouldn't want to spend less money on. But if we have to slash our budgets further in order to get married, I wouldn't hesitate.

'I think it's hugely important, especially the way the economy is at the moment, for couples to keep reminding themselves that the wedding is about the two of them making a commitment to each other. Everything else is just material.

'Working to a tighter budget shouldn't stop anyone getting married. I think too many couples, including us, worry about having the best of everything and dwell on what the guests will think. But, in reality, the wedding is not for the guests, it is to celebrate the union of two people in love. This is the most important part, that shouldn't be forgotten.'

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