Going to chapel

Couples planning to get married spend extensive amounts of time and money to plan their weddings.

n July 22, 2000, Lendon Schwartz, a junior elementary education major, proposed to his high school sweetheart, Tiffany Marks, also a junior elementary education major, at Benificience after taking in a movie.

"I wanted to pick a place that had a lot of meaning for both of us, a landmark that we can show our children," Schwartz said.

May 4, 2001, freshman, nuclear medicine major, Betsy Busby, was surprised at her senior prom.

"I knew the man that was introducing everyone, so when we walked in, he announced our names, then said 'Betsy, Donnie has a question to ask you,' then I proposed to her," said Donnie Stohlar.

From there the two couples began planning for their weddings. Busby and Stohlar had only a year to plan their wedding for May 4, 2002. Marks and Schwartz had three years to plan their wedding on June 21, 2003.


Wedding dresses come in all styles and sizes - and prices. Most women can find their perfect dress for $300 to $1,500. But the prices can continue to rise well in the ten thousands.

The expense come with the lace and beaded work of the dress, said Melinda Hensley-Loy of Yorktown's Rural Fabric and Bridal Shop.

Dresses with lots of applications and details cost more because of all the manual labor that goes into them.

Another factor in the cost of the dress is the material.

Many formal dresses cost more because of all the extra material used for the train. Because of all the added weight of the train, formal dresses can be very heavy.

"Because the beaded work and the fabric, we've had dresses that weight up to 42 pounds," said Hensley-Loy. "A dress with a train that is chiffon or even tulle is about 2-3 pounds, it all depends on the bead work and lace on the dress."

Nancy Homsy, of Nancy's Bridal in Indianapolis said that satin is the heaviest, where chiffon is the lightest fabric.

A Detachable train allows the bride to walk down the aisle with a beautiful train, then take it off at the reception for comfort. However, Hensley-Loy said that some prefer a built in train because it looks more natural while walking down the aisle.

"Some women don't care how heavy the dress is as long as she looks like a princess," said Hensley-Loy. "Some women don't want to be bothered, and want something very simple, very comfortable."

Many women have an idea of what they want, but after looking at several dresses, change their minds.

"A lot of women come in saying that they want something plain and simple, but then they try on the big dresses and end up buying that," said Homsy.

Hensley-Loy stated that it is wise for the bride-to-be to look for a dress by herself before taking her friends, or even her mother shopping with her. She told of incidents in which the bride-to-be would fall in love with a dress that her bridesmaids hated.


Max Ford Owner of Ford's Tuxedo Rental and Sales said that the popular styles are tuxedos with long coats, three to four buttons down the front, a vest and long tie.

"There is no charge for the grooms rental if there are five rentals from that party that are paid for," said Ford. "This is an on going deal to try to keep the prices down, to keep it reasonable."

To buy a tuxedo it would cost over $400, but one would have to use a tux on several occasions to balance out the difference between renting and buying. Ford said that normally doesn't happen that much.

To rent a tux it cost between $70 to $110 depending the style of the tux and the additional design. A basic tuxedo is less expensive than a designer tux, such as Oscar De' Larento.


Accessories to the wedding gown include apparel such as the veil, gloves, garter, shoes, and jewelry.

Surprisingly, the veil can be fairly expensive, due to all the detail and handy work that goes into each individual veil. The average price of a veil is around $150, said Hensley-Loy. However, she also said that veils can be purchased at any price from $70 to well past $400.

"Many women like the look of gloves, but when it comes time for the ring, they are uncertain of what to do with them," said Homsy.

To alter the glove so the ring fits, many cut off the fabric on the ring finger, then slide it on and off as necessary

Gloves, like the veil can be expensive due to the detail and work. Hensley-Loy said that some gloves are specific to a certain dress, so this also raises the price. Hensley-Loy said that on average, gloves can be anywhere from $10 to $100.

Most garters can be purchased at a fairly inexpensive price, such as $5 or up to $40. Hensley-Loy said that the cheaper garters are good for the toss, where as the more expensive garters make great gifts to give to at the bridal shower.

The Ring

"The amount of money spent on the ring depends on taste, not on salary," said Keith Troxel of Wright's Jeweler's in Indianapolis.

Troxel said that rings come in all shapes, sizes and styles, though the popular style is platinum princess cut. Troxel said that platinum is more expensive because it is heavier and it last longer.

Other metals are gold, white gold (a silver color) and silver. Gold and white gold are still fairly popular, where as silver is seldom used because it is so soft.

"For a surprise engagement, normally the man will buy the diamond on a solitaire, then the couple will come back for the band," said Troxel.

Photography, Flowers, and Catering

With the big decisions out of the way, it's time to focus on the details of the wedding. These details include choosing a photographer, selecting flowers and finding a caterer.

While these steps may seem to fall behind finding the dress, in reality, it's important to take care of these steps early on in the engagement.

"The sooner you book the reception the better, it's first come, first serve," said Mike Doll, Owner and Manager of Muncie's Cardinal Family Dining and Reception.

Jay Stillwagon of Weddings by Jay Stillwagon, said that many couples book a photographer a year and a half to 18 months in advance.

Cindy Disney, Floral Wedding Designer of Annie Arbor's Flowers and Gifts, said that she is book for the next year.

Doll said for a buffet of 200 people, the average price is around $2,600 to $2,800. This accounts for soft drinks, set-up, clean-up and often times the cake and center pieces.

For a sit-down served reception there is an added cost for the waiters. Doll said that raises the price to $2,900 to $3,100.

The price of flowers, like flowers themselves, vary greatly. According to Disney, the price of flowers differ according to the type of flower, whether or not the flower is in season, and how big of an arrangement is wanted.

Disney said for the brides bouquet, the most popular style, that is always in season is a bouquet of tightly bunched flowers. According to Disney an average bouquet cost about $100, but can be purchased at $45 to $200.

Disney also said that sometimes when decorating, "less is more," but they can do as much decorating as desired. It's decorating the church and reception hall where you can add personal touches. For example, signature center pieces at the reception. On average, an elaborate center piece is around $30. Both the flowers for the church and the reception hall can be anywhere from $300 to $500, or more depending on the style of the wedding.

"Everything has a different price," said Jen Mormick of Enchanted Wedding Chapel in Broadripple.

The Couple

The soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz are planning for a fairly traditional wedding. Although Marks refuses to show or even tell Schwartz of her wedding gown, she did say that it is a traditional dress. On the other hand, Schwartz is planning the honeymoon for Marks and will not tell her where they are going.

"It can be expensive, but we're smart shoppers and there are lots of little ways to save money," said Marks.

Busby/Stohlar have a less traditional wedding. As opposed to planning a set budget, the couple is shopping around and seeking their parents approval. Instead of the traditional division of payment, Busby and Stohlar's parents will divide the cost between the two families. This couple is also finding lots of little ways to save money on the wedding. For example, Busby is using her mother's veil, Stohlar has an uncle who is the pastor at the church where they are to be married, and many, many friends who have helped with the planning of the wedding.

Each couple said that planning the wedding has been a lot of fun, but that it can also be stressful knowing that you have to have so many things done by a certain date.