The Economic Collapse Of The Wedding Industry

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.

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  • Stacy

    My name is Stacy and i work for a new auction site dedicated to special event items and services. The main reason mYeventBiD was created was because of the economy. It works best for the brides as well as the vendors. Brides can purchase their wedding dress on auction on or recoup the money they spent for their wedding by selling gently used items or items that they know they will never use. Vendors can also list their services for sale or auction on Read the article for more info Offers Moneymaking And Saving
    Opportunities During Times Of Economic Crisis launches new online auction website, making it possible for small businesses and at-home workers to easily sell their products and services while consumers save money.

    During these troubled economic times, a growing number of people are turning to the Internet to help them earn extra money as well as to stretch their dollars further., a new online auction site geared toward auctioning event products and services, hopes to make it possible for businesses and consumers to more successfully navigate through our current economic downswing.

    “I wanted to create an online auction site that was different from anything else out there,” says Kay Ellison, founder and CEO of “While there are several online auction sites on the Internet, none of them specializes in event products and services.”

    By working with our affiliates that specialize in event products and services, Ellison and her staff hope to make it easier for event planners to find the items and services they need at the best price possible.

    “In addition to helping event planners with our site, we also wanted to create a place where businesses can advertise their services and products to a targeted market,” says Stacey Lewis, Marketing Specialist. “Other online auction sites offer such a wide variety of different products and services that it is virtually impossible for them to target a niche group of consumers. Our site gives businesses the comfort of knowing their products will be put before the eyes of consumers who are looking for the types of products and services they provide.”

    As with other online auction sites, there are fees associated with using When compared to other popular auction sites, however, the fees are substantially less. eBay, for example, charges $39.95 to have an auction listed on the homepage, while charges just $1. Similarly, eBay charges $5 to have the item highlighted, whereas charges $0.20 for the same service.

    “We wanted to keep the fees reasonable,” continues Ellison. “That way, businesses can keep their prices lower, which helps them stay more competitive and more profitable. It also makes it possible for our members to get great deals when they make purchases through our site.” is not just for established businesses, however, as anyone interested in selling an event-related product or service is welcome to put it up for bid. For example, recently married couples may wish to sell left over favors or even the bridal dress through the online bid site.

    “By allowing anyone to place an item up for auction, it makes it possible for party planners to recoup some of their money,” comments Ellison. “It is common to purchase too much of an item when planning for an event. But, what are you supposed to do with the leftovers? By placing the items up for sale or auction on our site, people can recoup some of the expense while other party planners purchase the items they need at a discounted price. It really works out for everyone involved!”

  • Hon

    I know getting married is expensive, but it is the most beautiful thing that will happen in life, Specially the girls part. Cheers!

    Cheap Wedding Favors

  • Pam

    Just about all Events and Conferences and Conventions are seeing a return to careful spending. Could it be that this not-so-new thought process is where we all should have been all along??

    We are all going to have to reinvent and double are commitment in offering customers the goods and services they need at prices they can afford if we ever hope to ge our country moving forward.

    This is a cycle that many of us at a certain career status have seen before. Those who have will definitely adapt quickly and push forward. Those of you who have not ~ watch your associates with experience, follow suit and you too will survive.

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  • Wedding

    Great Blog – I just signed up for your RSS Feed.

    Looking forward to more of your posts.


    Your friends at the Wedding Favors Association of Atlanta, GA. Everything you need for all your Wedding Planning needs.

  • Mike D

    Thank god, I hope it continues to fail. The wedding industry is one of the sleaziest I’ve ever encountered, right up there with funeral homes. They use guilt to get you to pay for their grossly marked up crap. Then half the time they don’t even deliver what they promised because you are too busy getting married to notice they never put out that $300 fruit and cheese tray.

    As soon as they slap the word wedding on something they multiply the price several times. A regular large cake? $200. Now take the same cake and make it a “Wedding Cake” and suddenly it’s $1000.

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  • Owen McNamara

    It is only natural that people are cutting back their expenditure. A Wedding is mainly about two people and their families – we should never forget that. It is about Love not money. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It can in fact be very cheap, ours certainly was, and the money we saved we put towards a 3 month backpackers honeymoon holiday in Asia. Everyone needs to adjust to the current economic climate, tighten their belts, learn from the situation and look forward to another day. As a result the whole industry will improve as good suppliers, vendors and businesses always do. I hope everyone can make the changes they need to make without going under. Adapting, evolving, being innovative and listening to customers are always keys to business success.

  • Richard Markel

    Celebrations will always continue. The wedding industry is comprised of many people who do what they love. Many cases they are underpaid. They are not “money grubbing people”! Many of the professionals like the brides they serve are trying to make ends meet. They are not out to steel anything.
    A gown salon, most invest $150,000 just to open their doors. This is not the kind of investment you make because you want to scam brides.

    All brides have a budget. They also have a dream. Sometimes the two do not match.

    Richard Markel

  • San Francisco Wedding Photographer

    It’s certaintly been a less busy year. I was scared to adjust my prices ( I didn’t want to “look cheap” ) , but have since started to offer 10%-20% off and it’s helping my sales volume come back up.
    Brides are appreciating little extras more than ever ( free extra hour ect. ).

    Amanda Bowers Photography

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