Guys, The Words “I Do” will cost you Big Money!

Homer Brickey reporting today in the Toledo Blade says that the cost of weddings are going up, up, up!

A couple wanting to get married in Ohio can get a marriage license for $50. Talk about inflation! Until 1976, a license was $2.15.

Weddings today are expensive. The average cost nationally was $27,852 last year, about double that of 15 years ago, according to a 2006 study by the Conde Nast Bridal Group, publishers of several bridal magazines.

Caterers and other wedding suppliers in the Toledo area say they see a lot of weddings costing less than that national figure, but they say they see some quite a bit higher.

“The cost depends on the number of guests,” said Jane Wilde, owner of the Wedding Maker, a West Toledo wedding-consulting firm. “Determine your top figure, determine the number of guests you want, and that’s your cost per person.”

Such a figure narrows choices for the type of reception, the venue, and lots of other factors.

Nearly half of the total cost is the reception, and that squares with a breakdown offered by one national expert: 50 percent for wedding and reception, the rest split equally among bride and groom attire, music, photography, flowers and decor, and invitations, limousine, and more.

In the Toledo area, prices of halls and caterers vary widely.

The Clarion Hotel Westgate will be the site of about 50 receptions this year, involving up to 420 guests each, said Kristin Watson, wedding coordinator. The price is $45.95 a person for a sit-down dinner or $48.95 for a buffet, including a four-hour open bar.

Fred Malczewski, one of the owners of Scott Park Banquet Room, said he will cater about 60 receptions this year. Those held at the banquet room will cost $325 for hall rental and typically $21 to $22 a person for food and bar. But many receptions will be at other halls, he said, and his rates for food alone range from $10 to $13 a person.

Holland Gardens and Angola Gardens, both on Angola Road in Holland, offer packages for about $40 a person, said Tye “Chef” Hightower, general manager. He said he will supervise about 80 receptions this year and figures the average wedding cost is $15,000 to $20,000. Priced separately, the hall is $475, catering is about $20 a head, and the bar is $11 or so a person.

At Bedford Hills Golf Club & Banquet Facility in Temperance, packages for up to 200 people typically range from $5,000 to $15,000, not including bar.

Of course, there’s apparel to consider. A tuxedo with extras runs $100 to $150 at President Tuxedo Inc. at Westfield Franklin Park.

The bride’s gown is generally much more expensive. David’s Bridal, on Monroe Street, has $99 specials on occasion, but typical prices run $299 to $1,200, said a spokesman for the chain, a unit of Federated Department Stores Inc. Wedding planner Ms. Wilde said a designer gown from Detroit, Cleveland, or New York can be $7,000 to $12,000.

And there may be alterations. Brenda Lee, owner of Sew Faithful on Secor Road, said she often does alterations ranging from a few bucks to $400. One this week cost about $200 on a dress that originally cost $550.

But some brides have ordered original designs, involving special fabric, she said.

For photography, Paul Evans, owner of Paul Kenney Studio on Sylvania Avenue, said his typical wedding package runs $1,600 to $1,800, with some to $2,200.

Ken Kilman, owner of New Image Photography & Video on Tremainsville Road, said he typically charges $1,500 to $2,000 but will throw in a video package for an additional $995.

Often, cake is included in the catering deal, but just in case, there’s the likes of Sweet Occasions on Heatherdowns Boulevard, where cakes cost about $2.50 a serving, said Stacey Gustafson, an owner. A cake for 225 guests could run about $600.

Invitations can cost $150 to $300, said Dolores Brink, owner of the Printing Press on Reynolds Road.

At M&M Printing in downtown Toledo, Mary Isaac, office manager, said she did one deluxe wedding order this week, $600 for 125 invitations. The usual price ranges starts at $150.

Flowers are another big item. Becky Pegorsch, owner of Lee Winters Florist in Maumee, said the typical cost is $800 to $1,000 but it can be up to $4,000.

For around $400, Advantage Limousine Service Inc. in Northwood offers a 10-passenger limo for three hours.

Incidentals add to the day’s overall cost: hair, nails, makeup (maybe $100 to $300 and up); wedding rings (hundreds to thousands of dollars); rehearsal dinner, special decorations, a wedding Web site; and perhaps a wedding planner (at 8 to 10 percent of total wedding budget).

Oh, and one more thing. Insurance. Travelers Insurance recently announced it is offering protection against such calamities as weather disasters, no-shows by vendors, and unavoidable cancellations. Wedsafe.com said it will insure a $7,500 wedding for $185, up to a $50,000 wedding for $405.

Yup, getting married is big business and mucho money, Honey!

His & Her Wedding Rings. Must They Match?

Wedding Bands-1

Wedding rings come in all different shapes and sizes. Certainly, they are not all created equal.

Additionally, the kind of wedding ring that would typically look great on a womans finger, will usually look equally bad on a mans finger.

We are always asked whether it is appropriate that a man and woman (husband-wife) purchase matching wedding rings for their bridal set.

Some people think it looks really great to have a matching wedding set and are completely averse to having it any other way.

Personally, I think it really depends on the specific tastes of each couple.

For example: if the woman loves a particular diamond studded wedding band with filigree and intricate detailing, chances are the matching mens wedding band (even in a thicker width) will look awful on the guy (too much bling bling..for a wedding band).

Similarly, if you are a guy who likes a thick wedding band in yellow gold capped by a huge onyx, chances are that if your gal prefers white gold (no onyx) or platinum, she won’t be too thrilled…

Therefore, it’s always best to establish your parameters at the outset of your search for wedding rings.

What are your individual tastes, likes and dislikes?

You may find that your tastes are compatible enough with each other that it pays to do a matching bridal set.

Otherwise, you will realize that by availing yourselves to the myriad wedding ring options that are mutually exclusive in both mens and womens categories, you will both find something special and unique for each of you to fall in love with.