Thursday, May 31, 2007

Trash the Dress!

A *hot* new trend that we think is fun, playful and just plain sexy is "Trash The Dress." Great photojournalists (like one of our very fav's in Grand Cayman - the uber talented and totally cool Rebecca Davidson) are offering 'trash the dress' sessions the day after the wedding.
Destination brides in particular are embracing this in a big way - it allows them to let their hair down in spectacular settings and get a whole new set of amazing photos! This sure beats staged wedding portraits any day!

My First Podcast!

I love the innovative approach that The Wedding Podcast Network has taken to bring this emerging media to everyone in the wedding market. It has been embraced by today's bride & groom, a host of 'who's who' of the wedding industry and advertisers alike.

I was honored to be asked to sit down for a "Destination Weddings" podcast interview last year - and admit that I did it - not even knowing at the time what a podcast really was! I have since recommended WPN as part of an integrated advertising + marketing strategy to some of our clients!

Listen to my entire podcast with host and founder Robert Allen here.

Webbed Bliss: Brides and Grooms Tell All Online

From the Wall Street Journal (5/31/07) an interesting read on the trend towards brides & grooms telling (& showing) everything about their wedding (starting with the proposals) online. A few key quotes from the piece:

"Wedding Web sites -- also known as "Wed sites" -- were originally conceived as a convenient way for couples to notify guests of wedding events, provide directions and link to gift registries. Now they are turning into elaborate hubs of matrimonial exhibitionism, with confessional stories, courtship videos, and blow-by-blow accounts of the preparations."

"Wedding sites "used to be very 'Just the facts, ma'am,' " says David Liu, chief executive of, an online purveyor of wedding products that started offering free wedding Web pages in 1999. These days, couples are opting for fancier "premium" Web sites, where they can pay around $70 a year for features like vanity URLs, music, video footage and blogs to track couples' thoughts and feelings leading up to the big day."

"Couples are particularly keen to record and publicize marriage proposals: About 1,800 such videos are now on YouTube."

*Note*: We love the work being done by OurCaymanWedding offering LIVE wedding webcasts - even from the white sands of Seven Mile Beach!

Click here to read the WSJ article in it's entirety.

Echo Boomers Say “I Do” to $10 Billion Destination Wedding Market

A new Mintel report was released today and the news is ever more promising for the future of Destination Weddings!!
Here is the entire press release:

New Mintel Report Shows Echo Boomer Interest Rising in the Emerging Wedding Sector

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--More U.S. consumers are taking their vows on the road, according to a new Mintel report. In the last five years, the destination wedding market has ballooned from $3 billion in 2001 to nearly $10 billion in 2006—equating to over 300 percent growth. As the Echo Boomer generation, currently ranging from 13 to 30 years old, stands as the largest age group since the Baby Boomers, there is strong potential for the destination wedding market to continue its rapid climb through 2018.

According to Mintel’s exclusive research, eight percent of respondents are planning to have a destination wedding in the next two years. Of those respondents, one fifth fell between 18 and 24, eclipsing all of the other age groups. This shows major growth potential within the Echo Boomer wedding sector.

With consumers waiting longer to marry, the Echo Boomers present the largest target demographic for destination weddings. The median age stands at 26 for today’s brides and 27 for grooms. Between 2007 and 2018, the number of people turning 27 will grow by a third as the Echo Boomers come of age. This demographic will comprise two out of every three brides by 2012.

“Even though marriage rates are declining, the Echo Boomer group shows major potential due to their sheer numbers and higher interest in destination weddings,” said Chris Haack, analyst for Mintel. “This younger generation wants all of the benefits of a traditional ceremony, with the adventure aspect added to their experience. Traveling and having an intimate ceremony is becoming a more cost-effective option for many couples, and marketers can take advantage of this messaging when they appeal to younger couples.”

Companies such as Royal Caribbean are pioneering more adventurous wedding options, positioned to appeal to a younger consumer group. This year, Royal Caribbean launched the Explorer Wedding program that gives consumers many adventurous marriage location options, including on an Alaskan glacier or in a hot-air balloon.
Mintel estimates that destination wedding spending overall will reach more than $18.9 billion by 2011.

Photo Courtesy of Whitebox Weddings

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Just Back...

Just last week I was speaking in The Bahamas at the first annual Wedding Aisles Symposium sponsored by Sandals & The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and had the opportunity to stay at the fabulous and 'so hip it hurts' Cove at Atlantis resort which had opened just days before I arrived in a *star studded* gala weekend. Those that know me at all, know I am a bit of a hotel snob and I admit it! It is one of my great pleasures in life - collecting amazing hotel experiences and I am so lucky that it is part of my job. And this one did not disappoint! It had the best of just about everything and I cannot wait to go back - as a family, for a getaway weekend with my sweetie or with a group of friends!

I plan to share some of my most fabulous hotel experiences here on this blog from time to time - all good things are worth sharing!

Kudos to The Cove for getting it very right - in every way!

The Saints Go Marching In!

So, I debuted the blog with big fanfare (really just a quick email to family, friends and close colleagues) and my little brother immediately responded (as only little brothers can!) with this:

"So is not one of your favorite links, I see. That is very disappointing."

As the Senior Director of Media Relations and Communications for The New Orleans Saints I am so incredibly proud of my brother, Doug. After 16 seasons as communications director with the New York Jets, he packed up his family and moved south last September - and what a great move it was! The season was AMAZING and the Saints are far more than just a sports team in NOLA. He is also in the process of completely re-launching the Saints official website - I have no doubt with him leading the project it will be the best in the NFL!

Also - notice that the New Orleans Saints website is now an official link on this blog :)!

Who loves ya kid?!

Think Like a Bride!

Another great resource that I refer to often is the innovative b2b wedding industry site It is jam packed with insightful articles and thought provoking pieces by an industry insider named Christine Boulton. I recommend it for anyone in the market but it is especially geared towards the small business owner/wedding professional and as far as I am concerned a 'must read' each month. The cost is minimal ($8.95 per month or $89 for the year) and makes a healthy return on the investment in terms of time and targeted information.
We can all learn more about 'Thinking Like a Bride' and be reminded of who our real boss is!! If you don't do it - I guarantee you that someone else is!!

My Daily Obsession...

There are so many things to share on this blog - really it is a matter of where to begin. One of my daily reads (ok, I admit - multiple times a day...I am a bit addicted!) is the most FABULOUS blog WeddingBee. I discovered it about a year ago and now read it religiously throughout the day.

Made up of multiple bloggers in various stages of planning a wedding or recently wed, this constantly updated site is a treasure trove of the latest finds, hot new trends, joys, challenges, frustrations and exuberance of wedding a wedding & honeymoon in a super easy and fun format.

As an industry expert - it is a fascinating read into the minds of today's bride and far more insightful and real ( & much less confrontational!) than lurking on message boards and forums.

Top it off with one of the nicest and most 'in touch with today's bride' people I know - Bee Kim - "WeddingBee" herself! Bee just totally 'gets' today's bride and has certainly taught me a thing or two about blogs and wikis and all sorts of other keys to the emerging media that we all must embrace if we are to market and service the echo-boomer bride & groom.

Happy "bee-ing!"

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mr. Fabulous

CONGRATS to the one and only Preston Bailey, otherwise known as "Mr. Fabulous" for being named as the new 'face' of! Conde Nast has just debuted a new b2b ad campaign using celebrities associated with their various titles. Preston is in great company alongside Richard Branson for WIRED, Patrick Dempsey (Dr. McDreamy) for Details, Sharon Stone for Golf for Women, Diane von Furstenberg for Vanity Fair & Eva Longoria for Glamour. The new website Point of Passion shows notable figures interacting with their favorite Conde Nast publications.

They do not come any nicer or more talented (and just plain fabulous!) than Preston. It has been my pleasure working closely with him on the Sandals Wedding program over the past 2 years! Love him!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Inside the mindset of today's bride & groom

For anyone who has heard one of my presentations, you know that one of my very favorite subjects (besides how everyone MUST blog of course!) is the emergence of the "Echo Boomer" Bride & Groom. I cannot get enough of this fascinating demographic and how it is impacting every single aspect of society but particularly the dramatic changes in marketing, selling & servicing weddings.

The current issue of Fortune magazine is on the stands now and has some great insights to our Echo Boomer's! Check it out!

Out of the Shower and onto the Screen...

Well - long overdue this is the first official blog post for me! Don't get me wrong - I have been writing a Blog for at least a year now - just doing it in my head (mostly in the shower or driving down the highway!) and never actually quite finding the time to get to making it official.

It is my hope to share random tips, trends, ideas, inspiration, favorite things/places/people/sites etc. mostly related to the wedding & honeymoon industry with whoever might be interested!!

Stay tuned along the way - who knows what will happen!

Smiles -

WEDDEX (my made up abbreviation for "Wedding Expert!" *wink*)