At bridal shows, it's all business.
"We bring together dozens and dozens and dozens of wedding related businesses so that it is sort of a one stop shopping experience for the bride who is planning her wedding," said Mark McIntosh of Washington Bridal Showcase.
It’s an experience that requires a lot of looking, and there are a lot of things to decide on: the dress, the tux, the cake, the pictures, the china and the honeymoon.
"I've been grabbing things at every booth so that we try to remember when we eventually make decisions a couple of months down the road," said groom-to-be Ryan Colaianni.
But while couples are still spending for their special day, the recession has many trading in the extravagant for the economical.
"They might be doing a little bit smaller of a cake, maybe a sheet cake to go along with it. So that cuts costs big time," said Alexis Hilley of Cakes Plus.
Wedding vendors are certainly feeling the pinch.
"We're cutting back on the costs of things and trying to offer them a package that fits whatever they're budgeting," said Jeff Schofield of Washington Talent Photo & Video.
In 2007, couples spent an average of $28,700 on their wedding.
Last year, they spent $21,800, which is 24percent less.
And a recent survey showed 62 percent of couples say they will spend less this year on the honeymoon.
There are ways to save on your wedding.
- Avoid marrying between October and May when wedding services cost more, or book reception halls during the day as they cost more at night.
- Plan your wedding just before or right after another wedding and get the other couple to split the decorating cost, use more greens than blossoms in your bouquet, or save on paper postage with single sheet invitations.
- Another trend for couples is to trade in the traditional gift registry for a honeymoon registry to help pay for their trip.