By Vaidik Trivedi and Vivica Michel
More than 500 brides visited Long Island’s largest Bridal and Wedding Expo, hosted by the American Consumer Show, on April 14 in Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Held right before the turn of the wedding season in summer, the expo featured snow white sparkling bridal gowns, caterers on wheels, limousine and tram buses to rent along with DJ’s blasting music to entertain the shoppers and gather some potential suitors.
“The expo is held twice, in January and in April,” Marie Freeman, Publisher and Editor of the magazine Long Island Bride & Groom, said. “It’s done once after the engagement season from Thanksgiving to New Year and once before the start of the wedding season that starts in summer.”
For the past three decades, weddings on Long Island keep on getting grander every year Freeman said. A cost of an average wedding on the Island is about $61,113, while the median household income of Long Islanders is $51,841.
“I have been coming here since 2013, since I started working for After Hours,” Ashley Davis, Associate at After Hours DJ entertainment, said. “I have been to bridal shows where have they have 500 brides to 1000 brides.”
The $3 billion national wedding industry is especially vibrant on Long Island, the third most expensive place to get married in the US behind Manhattan and New Jersey.
“We have been doing this for the past 30 years,” Freeman, said. “We attend at least 80 bridal shows & expos every year, this one happens to be the biggest.”
While fewer millennials are getting married as compared to Baby Boomers, their weddings are getting bigger and bigger. Only 50 percent of people above 18 were married in 2016 as compared to 72 percent in 1960. With fewer couples getting married, wedding vendors have a smaller pool of customers to draw from, yet the cost of a marriage has risen over 3000 percent since the 1950s.
“I think the difference is because of what they have established in life,” Diane Kramer, a marriage counselor and psychologist, said. “Baby boomers have established more in their lives with things such as houses, so they are most likely to work on their marriages. Millennials expects equality of the roles and expects their partners to be more like their best friend, which usually leads to a lot of conflict.”
Millennials are less likely to buckle down to marriage because many feel like they are not financially ready, haven’t found someone with the right qualities or feel that they are too young to settle, a study from Pew Research Center published in 2018 have shown.
Of those who are still interested in getting married, some like to touch, feel and taste before committing to a dress, a tux or a cake.
“I came out here with my family today to check out all the wedding vendors,” Stefanie Fox, a resident of Long Island, said. “We are looking for hair products, makeup, DJ and a destination for the wedding.”