The current economic downturn is hitting many industries really hard, and one industry that is really feeling the pinch is the wedding industry. As stock portfolios have declined and layoffs have multiplied, brides have found themselves with stricter budgets and fewer resources. In fact, the Wedding Report has indicated that the wedding industry’s projected revenues for 2009 have slipped to $56 billion, which would be down by 4 billion dollars from last year.That means that the wedding industry is adjusting to a new reality: belt-tightening.
“People are absolutely cutting back,” Shane McMurray, the founder and CEO of the Wedding Report recently admitted. “But brides are also rethinking what’s important. There’s more focus now on family. People will still get married. But we won’t see them spend the way they used to.”
The reality is that many in the wedding industry do not view this as a temporary downturn – they are beginning to see this as a fundamental shift in the industry.
Elizabeth Oakes recently wrote this in the Examiner: “The wedding industry isn’t just having a bad week, it’s reeling from precipitous declines in wedding spending, pretty much across the board.”
Ouch. According to Oakes, this is causing a lot of consternation in the industry. The truth is that a lot of vendors and service providers are really hurting, but Oakes did not pull any punches in her column when she openly rebuked the wedding industry and told them that they need to adjust to this new reality:
Hey Wedding Industry! How about some compassion for the brides and grooms who don’t have any, like, freaking funds for health insurance or child care or a mortgage (or rent), and all those who have lost jobs and all their savings (if they had any in the first place?) With all this going on, you think people are supposed to feel guilty for using their own iPods to play music? Have you seen foreclosure rates lately, have you heard about Chrysler and all those bank failures? Get a grip…it’s not all about you.
And yes, Wedding Industry, you need to face up to your responsibility in all this: with relentless decades-long fantasy-based marketing campaigns that caused couples to grievously overspend for so many years, with ruthless manipulative advertising and price-gouging designed to deprive families of their dollars for decades, can you really complain because brides are just as ruthlessly slashing your needless commercial fantasies from their budgets? Wedding Industry, you bought and paid for your image as a purveyor of “luxury” and “elegance,” and insisted that overspending was the only way to achieve your golden standard; now that luxury is out and simplicity/frugality are in, you should stop complaining, suck it up, and start reinventing yourself, quick.
So is this the end of the wedding industry gravy train?
Are the good times permanently over?
Nobody knows for certain, but things look really bleak right now.
But in the middle of all of the bad news for the wedding industry, there is a silver lining. Business is actually increasing for discount bridal outfitters.
David’s Bridal, now referred to as the “Wal-Mart of Weddings” by some in the industry, is actually doing quite well. As brides have sought to cut back expenses, more of them are heading to places like David’s Bridal.
The truth is that more than 2.2 million women will get married in the United States this year, and approximately one-third of them will be outfitted by David’s Bridal.
Other budget-conscious brides are doing their shopping online at sites like Ebay. Brides have become more comfortable shopping online in recent years, and now the prospect of saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars is making Ebay an even more attractive option. Our hope is that this website can help budget-conscious brides take advantage of many of these great deals.