CENTRAL TEXAS (KXAN) — With inflation levels impacting virtually all industry sectors in the last several months, businesses that specialize in quinceañeras are feeling those impacts as they also combat a surge in both backlogged and new celebrations.

Quinceañeras are celebrations in Hispanic and Latino cultures that mark a girl’s passage from girlhood to womanhood when she turns 15. Sometimes celebrated by teenage boys, they are akin to bar and bat mitzvah, said Jason Rubio and Ricky Lopez-Galindo, business owners involved in quince-centered services.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lopez-Galindo said costs for quinceañeras often began around $10,000. Now? Those starting estimates have increased by thousands.

“By the end of an entire contract, or by the end of the event, [families are] spending at least another $5,000 to $8,000 more dollars than they would have spent back then in 2019,” he said. “So at least for us, in that big scale of doing events like that, it has created a huge impact for our community.”

Some of the most significant pinch points include dresses and venue costs, both Lopez-Galindo and Rubio said. Dresses, which previously cost about $1,000, can now go for $1,400, while some venues have nearly doubled their fees.

“People expect to pay a little more, but it is stopping some people. Some people said ‘I just, I don’t think I want to do it anymore. It’s a lot, it’s very expensive,'” Rubio recounted. “And I completely understand it.”

Lopez-Galindo owns Ricky’s Events and specializes in dresses, while Rubio is the owner and manager of Austin’s Best DJs. Together, they’ve collaborated on Quince Expos, a resource that brings together all elements of a quinceañera in the form of an expo event.

Their first expo of the year was held in June, while the next Quince Expos will be held in Kyle Oct. 9.

Both Rubio and Lopez-Galindo said they created these as a resource for families beginning preparations for the milestone celebration, creating a one-stop-shop to network with dressmakers, videographers, venue owners and caterers. It’s something they said they wanted to prioritize as the Central Texas region’s Hispanic and Latino population continues to grow.

And families will need plenty more time to prepare for these events. Prior to the pandemic, Lopez-Galindo and Rubio recommended families begin preparations a year before the quinceañera. Now, they’re stressing families begin planning at least two years before the celebration.

Next month’s expo will feature plenty of raffles to help ease some of the cost burdens, with giveaways of a free dress and photographers. It’ll also include food and cake tastings, dress modeling from the latest collection, and vendors such as photographers, events and live entertainment.

The event will be held in both English and Spanish to help accommodate more families.

“It’s gonna be a lot of fun, a lot of music, and most of all, coming to see everything that we offer to our community,” Lopez-Galindo said.

More information about Quince Expos and Kyle’s October event is available here.