Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 24, 2013

Gatsby-style weddings show confidence to spend big

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

The increase in wedding budgets marks a turnaround from the recession, when the number of people getting married dropped to 6.8 per 1,000 population in 2009 from 7.3 two years earlier, and the rate of household formation declined.

While the marriage rate remained at 6.8 in 2011, the latest figures available, more recent data suggests more young people are making up households.

Among adults 34 or younger, 37 out of 100 were heading a household last year, up from 36.7 in 2011 and the first increase since 2005, according to Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Labor Department. "Economists are interested in household formation as well as marriage trends, for what it means for home-buying, and all these expenditures that come with home-buying," said Richard Fry, a senior economist with the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends project in Washington. "When you buy a home, it's not just a home, there is a whole bunch of consumer durables that are associated with it. You've got to equip the home."

The increase in event spending goes beyond weddings, to other family celebrations, such as bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs, according to Cigall Goldman, a 35-year old founder of Mazelmoments.com, a website for planning Jewish events.

Glenn Sherman, a 58-year old cantor at Century Pines Jewish Center in Pembroke Pines, Florida, was hired by a family from the suburbs of Albany, New York, to perform a rain forest-themed bar mitzvah in Costa Rica. Last week, he was in Cancun.

Americans have "definitely more money to spend on these events," he said. "I am booking a bar mitzvah in Hawaii for next year."

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