Couples Reluctant to Marry on Sept. 11

ByABC News
January 30, 2004, 5:36 PM

Feb. 17 -- When Chicago residents Sarah Smith and Aaron Moore got engaged July 3, they knew they wanted to marry in the fall of 2004 in her hometown of Indianapolis. "The best weather for the Midwest is in September," she said.

Though they did not want to choose Labor Day weekend, they were open to considering other September Saturdays. But then they realized there was another unfavorable date.

"My sister-in-law said, 'Well, no offense, I don't want to overstep my bounds in your wedding planning, but do you really want to get married on Sept. 11?' " Smith recalled. "My immediate reaction was, 'Oh, my gosh I didn't even think of that.' "

It is a date that continues to resonate like no other, at all times. But this year, the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks will fall on a Saturday during one of the most popular months for weddings, which often are booked more than a year in advance.

Many couples are avoiding the date either out of respect for those lost or because they don't wish to associate such bad memories with their marriage. And many wedding professionals have been dealing with both emotional and financial issues they normally do not face.

A Difficult Day to Celebrate

The wedding industry is worth about $80 billion, according to the Association for Wedding Professionals International. Each year in the United States, there are 2.4 million weddings, or just less than 1 percent of the population getting married. The most coveted wedding months are June, September and October, but some industry professionals have been finding Sept. 11 to be a tough sell, even with added incentives.

Barb Jones, a wedding coordinator in Riverview, Fla., said discounts were not enough to entice couples. "We tried to offer $200 off the package price," she said, "but no luck, because everyone remembers the horror."

"I am booked every [other] Saturday in September and October. No one wanted to even look at that date as a possibility," said Meredith Sellers, a bridal consultant in the Washington, D.C., area. She added, "Having a wedding date of Sept. 11 doesn't leave feelings of love and happiness."