Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Economy takes bite out of East End parties

The economy may not be raining hard enough to stop the East End party parade. But it may be making it a little bit less boisterous.
Fewer companies are holding parties, people are spending less on weddings and conspicuous consumption isn’t quite as in style on the East End as a few years ago. Christopher Robbins of Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs summed it up, saying the “2009 focus is not on beluga caviar and foie gras.” Part of it is economics and part is esthetics and ethics.
“You’re scaling back on the things you’re requesting to eat,” Robbins said. “That makes sense financially. It’s also how you’re perceived.”
Nancy Swiezy, owner of Manhattan-based Nancy Swiezy Events, said in an uncertain economy people are waiting longer before deciding where to hold wedding celebrations.
“The timing’s shorter,” she said, noting that sometimes leads to better prices. “They’re planning three months out instead of a year.”

Even weddings booked a year in advance are scaling back. Two out of five weddings Robbins is helping organize this summer eliminated sushi bars or raw bars, which often cost $25 to $30 a person.
Swiezy said she’s seeing more people book weddings on off nights, such as Sunday and Friday.
And she’s seeing wine and beer at rehearsal dinners instead of open bars, and barbecues and clam bakes instead of sit-down rehearsal dinners. Wedding food more often includes stations rather than plated dinners.
“They’re getting married, but the head count is down,” Swiezy said. “The guest list is sometimes smaller by half. Instead of 200 guests, we’re looking at 100.

by Claude Solnik

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