Wedding bells ring, vendors say cha-ching

by May 27, 2014
Wedding party strolling

For some wedding parties, it’s all smiles until the bills come due. Photo: Katsu Nojiri

It’s the peak of springtime and that ringing sound you hear is the peal of wedding bells – and the cha-ching of revenue echoing in the daydreams of wedding industry vendors.  Add to the mix the imminent marriage mania surrounding Kim Kardashian and Kanye West‘s vows, along with more Federal court victories for gay marriage, and it’s hard to escape the lure of a story about the business of wedded bliss.

June is the most popular month for nuptials in the U.S., followed by August and some fall dates – with Christmas-time weddings gaining in popularity.  So as your readers gear up to walk the aisle, cinch themselves into bridal party finery, write some hefty checks and/or review the gift-registry info at their friends’ favorite retailers, you’ll find a ready audience for any sort of insights into the industries that serve them.

Here’s a Slate article, by the way, that purports to debunk those “average wedding cost” figures that it says can be skewed by regional variations, the lack of distinction between “average” and “median,” and the tendency for “average wedding cost” writers to get their figures from people who are really, really into big weddings.

Vegas wedding

This photo of a selfie being take is proof of this couple’s Las Vegas wedding. Photo: Doctor Popular

The article is worth a read to help you prep questions for industry vendors and spenders.  If you want to be contrarian, you can whip up a personal finance piece based on the actual spending (receipts a must, no taking their word for it) on some average weddings in your area – neither the ultra-frugal nor the country-club set, but just what couples being married at their neighborhood church and feted at a local function hall are actually spending.

Here are the 10 Hot Wedding Trends for 2014, courtesy of The Knot, the well-known planning site.  Woodland weddings and temporary tattoos are among them.  The article also touches on a topic I’ve seen sizzle on etiquette boards: Requests by the bride and groom that guests refrain from sharing pix online and on social media.  It’s quite a contentious topic – who owns the “spoiler rights” to wedding images – and might make for an entertaining and/or eye-rolling take if you cover tech.  Here’s a HuffPo article that cautions similar deference toward bachelorette party honorees – “chat with the bride about her social media preferences” – and suggests picking a special hashtag for the event, too.

Eco-friendly weddings.  Coming up next week in Lambertville, N.J., is a Green Wedding Expo “designed to insprie brides and grooms to make a vow to treat the planet, as well as one’s spouse, with love and respect.” The event features upcycled and vintage wedding accoutrements among other items.

Elsewhere, sites like the Green Bride Guide aim to help couples to-be mitigate the environmental effect of their weddings. Why not check in with planners, vendors and couples in your area–as well as the environmental activists keeping an eye on the industry–about the latest local trends in environmentally friendly bridal festivities?

Same-sex weddings.  With the door to traditional marriage being opened to more citizens, more spending naturally will follow and the Los Angeles-based Williams Institute has estimated the potential economic impact of same-sex marriage spending on states. Clearly, particularly if you’re in a market that appeals to tourists, checking out the local impact of same-sex marriage is worthwhile.

And as this Idaho Statesmen report illustrates, the issue poses a dilemma for some business owners; if your state has legalized same-sex marriage it might be time for another look into the legal protections (or lack therof) against discrimination for same-sex couples shopping for wedding vendors.

The plight of wedding guests. As NBCNews reports, a new American Express survey says the cost of being a wedding guest now averages nearly $600, up 75 percent from two years ago. (How can that be?) And that’s not counting the gift, just things like attire, accommodations, travel and incidentals.

People invited to multiple weddings this spring are looking at spending the equivalent of a decent car down payment, winter cruise or other splurge merely for the pleasure of attending friends’ and loved ones parties.  Or are they?   Again, this is one of those headlines that aches to be localized with real dollars from real readers.  What’s the most expensive part of attending a wedding – clothing, child care, taking a vacation day from work to get there?  Where is this spending occurring and who’s making the most money from wedding guest spending?  And, of course, coping tips like “money-saving advice for wedding guests.”