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New wedding business trends

March 22, 2017

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Bride and groom wearing Converse sneakers
The average New York City wedding cost north of $75,000 last year, reports TheKnot.com ("Bridal" image via Pixabay CCO license NGDPhotoworks)

As newlyweds and their guests gear up for the spring and summer wedding season, wedding planners and related businesses are also looking for creative ways to tap into this lucrative market. TheKnot.com reports that the national average for wedding costs in 2016 exceeded $35,000, with coastal areas such as California and New York City costing considerably more.

Instead of rehashing the same old wedding stories, consider these less-reported business angles.

Bridal resale market

Budget-savvy brides use consignment shops, Facebook groups and online resale sites like OnceWed.com or Tradesy.com to buy gently used wedding dresses and décor, or to resell items after the wedding day. Check if your local area has any consignment shops specializing in bridal wear, Facebook groups devoted to buying and selling wedding items or a website based locally. What items and times of year are most popular? Also check with local bridal retailers to see if the resale trend has impacted their business.

Staged proposals

Instead of a traditional proposal at sunset or in a posh restaurant, men—and women, too—are staging elaborate events complete with flash mobs and YouTube videos. And they’re hiring professional planners to help orchestrate the happening. And rather than rely on selfies or agreeable passers-by, professional photographers are documenting the moment. If local event planners or photographers have carved out a niche in the proposal market, it may make an interesting profile.

Elopement planners

Elopement planners are a new breed of wedding pros who create small destination weddings. These long-distance specialists will find the perfect location, line up vendors and handle the legal paperwork. Some elopement planners also do pop-up weddings, for which they’ll construct and style a venue. Several small wedding groups can hold their ceremony back-to-back at the site, for a fraction of the typical cost.

Same-sex wedding specialists

Since same-sex marriages are now legally recognized in the U.S. (at least for now), how are local wedding planners catering to this demographic? Have any chosen this as their sole focus? On a similar note, have local venues updated their paperwork to reflect this shift, rather than assuming that every wedding includes a bride and a groom? What other adjustments have they made (or not made)?

Reporter’s Source Guide

• Yelp.com: Search business names and lists in your local area to see what people are buzzing about and to get ideas for local business profiles in the wedding industry.

• TheKnot.com: The go-to site for engaged couples has a directory of wedding vendors, searchable by city, state or zip code.

• Bridal fairs: Many communities have wedding fairs, bridal expos and other events designed to introduce eager couples to local wedding vendors. You’ll likely find plenty of wedding mainstays (DJs, florists, bakeries) but with any luck you might you might uncover more unusual local businesses like bridal boot camps or elopement planners. (Which might sound even more appealing, after being overwhelmed by the alternative.)


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