Monday, January 10, 2000

The rush to say 'I do' in 2000 puts a heavy demand on bridal industry

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Jessie Monte and fiancee Natasha Rushing look at wedding photos on display Sunday at a bridal show sponsored by Wendy's Bridal Shoppes.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
        Here come the brides. Lots of them.

        A glut of holiday engagements, paired with sentimental attachment to getting married in the first year of a new millennium, has created major demand for nuptial services.

        The message to couples planning a 2000 wedding: Book that church and reception hall now — or risk getting bumped to 2001.

        “The demand has been unbelievable,” said Terry Kronksi, sales manager of RSVP at Wards Corner in Loveland. “We have two Saturdays left out of the entire year. We're turning away business.”

        January usually is busy for folks in the wedding business. It's more so this year.

        At this weekend's annual Wedding Showcase, sponsored by Wendy's Bridal Shoppes, couples wandered booth to booth at Music Hall looking for florists, photographers and caterers.

        Most of the brides had just begun to plan. High on the romance of a recent engagement and dazzled by aisles of towering cakes and white tulle, few seemed to realize how difficult their task would be.

        “We're just now getting frustrated,” said Maranda Robertson, 19, of Hamilton.

        She and her fiance, Jason Kuykendall, 19, of Hamilton, have contacted at least six reception halls looking for an Aug. 12 opening.

        “Either they have no dates, or they want an outrageous amount to reserve it,” Mr. Kuykendall said.

        Several brides said it was important to wed in 2000.

        “It's easy for men to remember anniversaries,” joked Natasha Rushing, 25, of Westwood as she perused photo albums with fiance Jesse Montie, 22 of Bridgetown.

        “2000 seems to be an important year,” said Barbara Douthitt, an assistant minister at Garden Park Unity Church in Grosbeck. “It's very historic, and the majority of people are feeling very optimistic about it.”

        That optimism means big bucks for the wedding industry.

        Garden Park Unity has twice as many weddings scheduled before the end of the year than usual, Ms. Douthitt said.

        Robert Wermuth, owner of Masterworks Photography in Florence, came to the Wedding Showcase nearly 80 percent booked — up almost 30 percent from other years.

        Eila Roark of the Legacy Banquet and Conference Center in Roselawn has booked at least three weddings for a hall that has been open just one week.

        To brides who haven't made plans, wedding coordinators are suggesting Thursday, Friday or Sunday weddings. Couples hoping for a weekend ceremony during peak months may be out of luck.

        Said Amanda Salyers, director of sales for The Madison in Covington, “If they want May, June, September or October weddings, they had to book six to eight months ago.”


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