Saturday, June 30, 2007

And the hits just keep on coming!


For our clients that is!! We are pleased as punch with the feature piece that the [very fun!] Senior Editor of TheKnot, Christa Vagnozzi just published based on her recent visit to Grand Cayman as part of the bridal press group that I hosted back in April. Her opening is 'spot on perfect' in capturing the essence of what sets The Cayman Islands apart from so many other sun, sea, sand destinations:

"Discerning couples who want more than a destination wedding in a box head to the Cayman Islands for the ultimate in hospitality and tropical romance. Whether you choose to marry at a smaller resort or a five-star hotel, this destination has the resources to cater to every couple’s personal style, guest list size, and whim. Not to mention the backdrop is absolutely gorgeous. Think tranquil turquoise waters, and sugary white sandy beaches dotted with palm and pine trees." [click here for the entire article.]

Last year TheKnot also featured a gorgeous REAL wedding in Grand Cayman [see it here] in both the national issue of The Knot Weddings and still appearing on the site today!

A combination of editorial reviews and REAL wedding coverage makes for a solid integrated PR strategy - not as easy as it looks to pull off but it pays off in dividends!

We adore working with the awesome team at Mfa - the PR agency for The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. Besides being super cool and fun, they are among the very best in the biz and our collaboration has been amazing for the past 3 1/2 years!

[photo above by David Wolfe + bouquet by Celebrations Ltd.]

Friday, June 29, 2007

Preston Bailey for Royal Plantation




Wanted to share just a few of the gorgeous images of the Preston Bailey wedding designs for the glamourous Royal Plantation in Jamaica. The exclusive wedding experience is an amazing $9,999 and includes everything imaginable for an "over the top" but totally stress-free destination wedding. Bringing celebrity design and making it accessible to every bride is the concept behind the entire Preston Bailey/Royal Plantation/Sandals program.

It has been such an honor working closely with Preston and the Royal Plantation team on developing this and the entire Sandals "Dream Team" over the past 3 years...stay tuned for some additional exciting news on this front coming soon!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Get Married TV



The team over at GetMarried emailed us to share that this week is the finale to the first season of their innovative new show appearing on Lifetime. Set your TIVO's or log onto the website to view every episode.

Created by a team of former senior producers at CNN, this creative approach to wedding programming and the fun companion site is very well done.

Instead of the reality based format that vitually all wedding television has taken up until now, this is a magazine-style show. Loaded with great ideas, tips, trends and entertaining celebrity planner interviews - we think it is 'one to watch' and wish them the best of luck in future endeavors!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Green Weddings - all the rage in the media!



With the world hyper-focused on 'all things green' it comes as no surprise that the mainstream media is all over the green wedding trend!

Check out recent stories from TIME Magazine, USA Today and MSNBC/Associated Press just to name a few! The sidebar [shown above] from the AP is a good 'shades of green' quick guide. And of course as I have blogged before - we just love the work being done by portovert!

No matter your role in the wedding business, you need to be on top of this news and understand how you can offer your brides & grooms green wedding options. If nothing else, compile a list of the top trends and resources and share them with your clients to help them 'go green!' (ok - I could not help that - as a Michigan State grad 'go green...go white' is just part of who I am *wink*!!)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Taming the Runaway Wedding Planner


From yesterday's New York Times a very interesting piece on the role of wedding planners in weddings!! We were of course thrilled to see our dear friend Marcy Blum pictured and quoted!!! Kathryn and I go way back with Marcy, who has been one of our biggest supporters in this business - Kathryn worked with her in NYC for 2 years on all sorts of fabulous weddings (including Tom Clancy's at The St. Regis and also Jennifer Philbin - daughter of Regis & Joy when she married Michael Schur at The Pierre) and we both had the honor of working with her on the amazing wedding for Billy Joel when he married Katie Lee almost three years ago!!!

We love to see Marcy in the news...there is no one like her. Anywhere. A legend!

[Also check out this piece from the NY Sun a few years back - is a most perfect spotlight on who Marcy really is!!!]

Taming the Runaway Wedding Planner

By VINCENT M. MALLOZZI and JEFFREY GETTLEMAN
Published: June 24, 2007

Saying “I do” to a wedding planner can be the second most important vow a newly engaged couple makes.

With people marrying later, more women working and weddings growing ever splashier, many couples are hiring planners to help sort through the dizzying choices concerning the location, invitations, flowers, photographers, color schemes, D.J.’s, bands, lighting, place cards, centerpieces, cakes and fog machines, to name a dozen.

But as the wedding planning field expands, some couples are finding that planners, like a broken engagement, can cause heartache.

David Mandel of Los Angeles, an executive producer of the HBO program “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and his bride, Dr. Rebecca Whitney, hired and dismissed two consultants because they were “planzillas.”

“It was like we had this mutual enemy — our wedding planner,” Mr. Mandel recalled. “We were not sleeping well. It was beyond miserable.”

The first, who Mr. Mandel said was “very well known in Los Angeles,” dropped out of sight for a month after the first meeting with the couple. The second tried to steer them to a hotel in Palm Springs with which she frequently did business.

The proposed wedding approached $1 million, “hundreds of thousands of dollars more than we originally thought,” Mr. Mandel said. “She was getting 20 percent of whatever our wedding was going to cost, so she was negotiating in her best interest, not ours.”

Finally, Mr. Mandel and his bride, a pediatrician, found a third planner they liked. They were happily wed last New Year’s Eve in New York, at Cipriani 42nd Street.

The couple’s experience was not all that rare, as even some wedding planners acknowledge.

“I’ve been doing this my whole life, long enough to know that some of us in this business are a little full of ourselves,” said
Marcy Blum, a New York planner who got in on the ground floor of the field in 1986, when the number of planners nationwide was fewer than a thousand.

“In fact,” she said, “a lot of wedding planners are entering the field with no training, so buyer beware.”

Read entire article
here.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Isn't It Grand?

We are thrilled that our client, The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, is featured in the latest issue of BFF Bridal! This weekly email newsletter is sent to thousands of high end, New York City area brides-to-be and is quickly becoming the go to source for chic, high-end brides with style. Co-founder and editor Tara Mandy is the Travel Editor of New York Magazine and former editor of New York Magazine Weddings issue.

It was my pleasure to host co-founder and editor Meredith Levy (a former trend spotter for Abercrombie & Fitch) for a long weekend at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman and were excited to see what she thought!

She recognized what we have long maintained, that "Grand Cayman is rapidly becoming the best island for a chic destination wedding," and that the new Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman "might just be the best darned wedding venue. Anywhere."

Thanks to both Tara & Meredith for their great piece. You can see the entire recap by visiting BFF Bridal and clicking on Editorial Archive.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Destination: Martha Stewart Weddings



Congratulations to Jaime Stewart & Mark McConnell whose spectacular Jamaican destination wedding is featured in a (6) page spread in the summer 2007 issue of Martha Stewart Weddings!

Jaime is the managing director of the fabulous Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios and the daughter of Sandals founder & Chairman Butch Stewart. I have been honored to work with Mr. Stewart, Jaime and her brother Adam (CEO of Sandals Resorts International) over the past 3 1/2 years as we have developed a series of innovative strategies for their highly successful destination weddings program. One key element being creating the ground-breaking partnership between Sandals and celebrity wedding planner Preston Bailey.

These images are just a sneak peek of the gorgeous wedding that Preston designed for Jaime and Mark at the Stewart family's private estate, Rio Chico last November. Stunning!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cash in on I Do

From Entreprenuer Magazine and MSNBC.com comes an article entitled:

"Cash in on 'I Do': These 43 emerging and well-established businesses help couples tie the knot--and could help you turn a profit."

These days, weddings aren't just about the bride and groom; they're big business.

According to a founder of the Association of Bridal Consultants, 43 different businesses are involved in creating the average wedding. And with destination weddings on the rise, wedding festivities are becoming more like family reunions.

All of that means bigger budgets. According to The Knot, the average wedding costs approximately $25,000. As a whole, the U.S. wedding industry brings in about $72 billion each year, with more than 2 million couples taking the plunge annually.

Carley Roney, editor-in-chief of The Knot, says brides and grooms are contributing more to the wedding event when it comes to both paying and planning.

One thing hasn't changed: Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising for wedding businesses. "Brides speak to each other," says Roney. "They're waiting to hear confirmation on a potential vendor from someone they trust." As a result, many wedding vendors working in the same region develop a network. For instance, a wedding photographer could recommend a florist, d├ęcor company and DJ.

Want to cash in on this growing industry? Click here for a list of 43 ways you could get involved and to read the entire piece.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Simple Seating


Well it's about time! What a brilliant idea. Check out Simple Seating a super easy and inexpensive (free for 50 guests or less and $19.95 for 50+) way to take the headache out of one of the most challenging aspects of wedding planning (trust me - almost 10 years of marriage later and I can still remember the tension over this!!).

"SimpleSeating.com makes seating charts easier than ever.With a mouse, your favorite web browser and the simplicity of drag-n-drop, the process is painless; with the exception of deciding who to seat next to crazy Aunt Edna."

If you are a wedding planner, caterer or hotel/resort special events manager this is perfect for you! Otherwise - recommend this to your brides today and they will thank you for it tomorrow!

Monday, June 18, 2007

NIRALI Weddings Magazine



Check out this GORGEOUS new magazine called NIRALI Weddings - for South Asian brides planing weddings in North America. Editor-in-chief Ismat Sarah Mangla has done a fantastic job weaving modern day style with the rich customs and traditions that make South Asian weddings so spectacular. Featuring amazing Real Weddings and practical tips - this is one publication that we suspect will do very well!

Anyone in the wedding industry who works with couples of these backgrounds will find this an invaluable resource!

UPDATE: Love this small blogging world! I just received an email from Ismat, the founder and editor of NIRALI:

Hi Rebecca, We saw your blog link to Nirali Magazine, and we're so excited!

Thank you so much. I just wanted to give you some information about Nirali in case you want to update the post. Nirali Magazine ( http://niralimagazine.com) is actually a bi-weekly online magazine for South Asians.

June was our first-annual weddings issue. So you can link to http://niralimagazine.com/weddings for all our weddings coverage (which we will add to periodically) but, the magazine is actually called Nirali Magazine and is a general publication.

We're going to do another full-fledged weddings issue next year. I hope you had a chance to look at the 7 real weddings we featured, in addition to the 14 or so other stories we did on weddings! Again, you can find all the wedding stories at http://niralimagazine.com/weddings

Thanks again for spreading the word about Nirali!

Warmly,

Ismat -- Ismat Sarah Mangla

Editor-in-Chief
Nirali Magazine
e: ismat@niralimagazine.com
w: www.niralimagazine.com

USA Today:: Wedding redux: The thrill is gone

From the front page of today's USA Today Life Section: Wedding Redux: The thrill is gone for resentful guests. Interesting spin on 'encore weddings.' Read the article in it's entirety here.

A quick look at Encore Weddings by the Numbers:

SECOND WEDDINGS BY THE NUMBERS

$15,000: Average cost of a second wedding
$60,500: Average income of bride if she works full time
39: Average age of bride in second weddings
68: Percentage of couples who register for gifts

Source: Bride Again magazine reader surveys

Not altogether true according to many of my clients experiences with "encore weddings" but interesting statistics nonetheless.

Platinum Weddings



Compared to the nightmare that is "Bridezillas" - the show "Platinum Weddings" goes down much easier - on the brain and the eyes! Some of the weddings featured border on over-the-top tackiness but most that I have seen are well done and do a great job featuring hard working, innovative and talented wedding professionals. No drama here (manufactured for TV or otherwise) - just a glimpse into weddings that exceed $100K and the couples who have them.

Tonight's second episode featured a very likeable couple hosting an elaborate destination wedding in Miami at the National Hotel. I stayed there a few years ago for a photo shoot and must say it showed amazingly well on TV! They also feature a comprehensive list of vendors and contacts on the website - what a wonderful marketing/PR opportunity! If only more wedding-related programming took this tactic!

Set the TIVO's for Sunday nights at 10pm and 10:30pm est.

Whack a Wedding Worry & Wedding Planner Games



From the fun-loving folks over at WE comes two interactive games on the We Go Bridal site: "Whack a Worry!" & "Wedding Planner Bridezilla"

Mindless fun for your brides or any wedding industry professional!

Happy gaming & be sure to check out the bridal 'train wrecks' on "Bridezillas" airing Sunday nights at 9pm est.

Still shaking my head at the two episodes I just watched...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wall Street Journal: The Bargain Bride


From Saturday's Wall Street Journal Fashion section - read about how mass retailers continue to 'shake up' the traditional wedding gown business. Very interesting read and important shift in trends to note - especially how destination weddings are being given credit for so many of these cultural changes. Important insights to be aware of, no matter your role in today's wedding market!

The Bargain Bride

Cheap-chic gowns priced under $500are shaking up the wedding business

By RACHEL DODES

June 16, 2007

One of the last frontiers of designer fashion is being invaded by the cheap-chic brigade.
Retailers like Ann Taylor and Target are rolling out bridal gowns priced in the $160 to $600 range. J.C. Penney has a new "triple bustle" dress for $180.
Convincing brides to walk down the aisle in a cut-rate wedding gown is a tough sell. But in recent years, mass-market retailers have proved they can imbue everything from handbags to tailored suits with a sense of cool. They're also latching on to broader shifts in the culture of weddings. The rise of destination weddings and far-flung bridal parties means fewer brides are shopping for dresses at local mom-and-pop stores with an entourage of girlfriends in tow.

Read the article in its entirety here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Recommend Magazine: Romance, Wedding & Honeymoon Issue

The annual RECOMMEND Magazine Romance, Wedding & Honeymoon issue is out (June 2007) with some interesting features.

Check out the piece about the booming destination wedding business in the U.S. Virgin Islands here.

Of particular interest is the overwhelming trend cited by the resorts in the USVI of the growing size of their weddings - many in the 150 guest range.

All are reporting record number of weddings. This travel trend is making significant impacts around the globe. Everyone is 'stepping it up' to keep up with the demand.

Great opportunities abound in this segment of the wedding market!

Casting for Style Network: "Married Away!"

Another great PR opportunity for wedding professionals, hotels & resorts, etc.! See below:

MARRIED AWAY SEASON 2 CASTING:

True Entertainment is currently casting for the Style Network’s prime time series Married Away. The hit television show is in its second season, going global and planning destination weddings in unique and exotic locations around the world. We’re looking for couples who are presently planning a destination wedding for this summer.

The following locations have already been featured on Married Away:Hawaii, Curacao, Cabo San Lucas, Anguilla, Jamaica, Bali, Tuscany, Aruba, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Quebec, Austria, New Orleans, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, Ireland, Cancun and New Hope. Again, they’re looking for domestic and international, provincial and exotic locales…anything from Iceland to India, Sweden to Spain, Montana to Madagascar, Key West to Kenya, Savannah to San Francisco. The sky is the limit.

The series can be seen domestically on the Style Network in over 60 million homes, and internationally in Australia, Philippines, South Korea, Finland, Iceland, and Indonesia. Each episode will re-air periodically over the course of the year and could continue airing on the Style network for up to five years.

Again, if you know of anyone planning a destination wedding or anyone who is interested in having one of our world-class wedding coordinators assist in the planning, please contact Katie as soon as possible . Thanks again!

Contact:

Katie Griffin
Casting Producer
True Entertainment
direct (212) 763-3673
fax (212) 763-3700
Visit Website Here.
Good Luck and please let us know if you are selected!!!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

License to Wed!

Summer movie we are most looking forward to - "License to Wed" with Robin Williams, Mandy Moore and the adorable John Krasinski.

We have been 'in the loop' on this movie for awhile now as part of it was filmed at Sandals Resorts (one of our long time clients)! Of course we cannot reveal more than that but it is indeed exciting and we have loved being a part of the inside scoop.

The *buzz* is really great on this film which opens July 3rd.

Create a fun team building, put the phones on voicemail and take your staff to see a matinee or get a few industry colleagues together for a night out for some laughs!

We will share more as we can but look for some great promotional tie-ins from Sandals to leverage this priceless exposure!!

p.s. Did you know that every movie that has ever had the word "wedding" in it's title has grossed over $100 million at the box office?! Talk about the power of weddings!!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Destination Wedding Spending on the Rise

According to the recent Mintel study, Destination Wedding spending is on the rise. In their exclusive research conducted among couples who have had or are planning to have a destination wedding the results support this fact.

Over 31% of couples who are planning say they will be spending between $25,000-$50,000 on their destination wedding up 10% from couples who recently had a destination wedding.

16% say that they will spend in excess of $50,000 on their destination wedding (a 6% increase).

37% say that they will spend less than $25,000 on their destination wedding (a 25% decrease from couples who recently had a destination wedding!).

Everywhere we are seeing evidence of this fact. This trending has major impact to everyone who serves the destination wedding market - from resorts to wedding planners, from photojournalists to floral designers. The expectations are being raised right along with the the spending. Brides are no longer okay with comprimising and the 'take it easy and trust us mon' attitude in many destinations. They expect and demand a high level of quality, design & service. Where once the destination bride was okay with sacrificing a bit on many style aspects of her wedding because she was having it in a long distance locale - today she will think nothing of flying in everything and everyone needed to have every detail be just perfect.

As destination weddings are our true passion and at the core of the business of Engaging Concepts, look for lots more about this segment of the market that just continues to go from strength to strength!

[Destination Wedding Photo by the fabulous Stacey Kane (who took my new headshot by the way!)]

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wholly Matrimony: Slate's Wedding Issue




Lots of controversial pieces in the Slate Wedding issue : Wholly Matrimony out this week.


Including "Run Away Groom: How to Tame the Bride from Hell"


"Say Cheese: A defense of Traditional Wedding Photography"

and

"Diamonds Are a Girl's Worst Friend: The Trouble with Engagement Rings" to name just a few!

Think this was limited to a sub-section of regular Slate Readers? Guess again - these features were promoted all day today on the msn.com homepage!

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Bridezillas Cake Eating Contest in Times Square


NEW YORK — Spring is the traditional wedding-planning season, but a group of budding brides on Tuesday looked to have their cake and eat it too, descending on Times Square in a TV stunt to stuff their faces in hopes of winning $25,000 and being declared a "Bridezilla."

The Associated Press reported that Stephanie Florio, of Sayville, N.Y., was declared the winner, though it wasn't clear just how much cake she consumed.

The cakefest promoted the upcoming season premiere of the WE Network reality show "Bridezillas," which follows the lives and wedding preparations of brides-to-be who are determined to have the ideal wedding regardless of how many tantrums they must throw to achieve that dream.

According to Wikipedia, "Bridezilla" is a generic term used to describe "a difficult, unpleasant, perfectionist bride who leaves aggravated family, friends and bridal vendors in her wake."


[source: Fox News]

The Best Wedding Reception Ever


Peter Merry just emailed me about his new book "The Best Wedding Reception Ever". An idea whose time has come.

In a recent poll of brides on theknot:

Which one word best describes your wedding?

Fun 38%
Elegant 38%
Chic 6%
Unique 17%

A separate poll from Brides Magazine tells us that 39% of brides & grooms worry about not having a fun enough reception.

Clearly there is a need for this. Congrats to Peter for going where no one has gone before. At just $24.95 this is a great resource for the wedding professional and their brides & grooms! Learn more here.

6 Years and Still Growing!

Wow. It was 6 years ago today - June 12, 2001 - that I mailed out these announcements to family, friends and industry colleagues about my new business. Seems like forever ago and also like yesterday. So much has changed since then. I am so grateful for this opportunity to do what I love every day (& night!) of my life! So blessed by the support of so many (far too many to mention!) who have cheered me on to heights I never dared to dream!

As I reflect back on these amazing 6 years in business I thank everyone who has believed in me along the way. Incredible clients, innovative industry colleagues, understanding & encouraging friends, patient and dedicated family (it really does take a village!), my husband Patrick and two girls Annie & Gracie who love unconditionally and a partner in Kathryn Arce who is "my right hand, my left hand and my beating heart" and with whom I cannot imagine working without.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who have been there and all who will be there in the future. This Engaging Concepts adventure is just getting started with so many exciting initiatives planned for the near future - a brand new and long overdue website and branding, new business ventures and continued successes for our many clients in the wedding & honeymoon market! I look forward to the many new friends made along the way.

Monday, June 11, 2007

MyWedding.com "Green" Wedding Poll

"She Got Her Dress Where?"

She Got Her Dress Where?

SANDRA M. JONES; Chicago Tribune

In a marriage of discount and dreams, a major retailer wants to prove that a once-in-a-lifetime experience doesn’t require a once-in-a-lifetime investment. So here comes the bride … in a budget wedding gown from Target.The gowns, sold through Target.com for less than $200, have appeared in recent weeks on “Oprah” and on the pages of Lucky and Glamour magazines. And they’ve caused a stir on fashion blogs, where their arrival has ignited a debate about whether there are any boundaries left when it comes to saving money.Perhaps it was only a matter of time before a store like Target decided to get in on one of life’s most sacred, ceremonial and expensive undertakings. The nation’s second-largest discount retailer pioneered the idea of bringing design and style to the masses in everything from teapots and baby clothes to ottomans and chocolates.

PUSHING ‘CHEAP CHIC’ TO THE LIMIT

Marketing to brides is nothing new for the Minneapolis-based retailer, which has operated its Club Wedd registry for more than a decade. Only time will tell if adding wedding gowns to the list is a logical extension or an overreach of the “cheap chic” phenomenon the chain gets credit for popularizing.“It certainly is quite bold,” said Wendy Liebmann, president of WSL Strategic Retail, a New York-based consulting firm that has studied the bridal industry. “It’s taking them into an area where you say: ‘Wait a minute. Is it cheesy to buy your wedding dress at Target for $100?’ It’s a very delicate balance. If anybody has the brand equity to do it, Target is the one.”Cheap chic – sometimes also referred to as the democratization of fashion – has led Americans to expect both thoughtful design and a low price. You can pin the idea on the convergence of warehouse-style stores, an increasingly sophisticated public and a faster-paced economy that now brings the freshest ideas from Paris and Milan to the mall in a matter of weeks.

Read Article in it's Entirety Here.

The Wedding Salon Bridal Events

I have been a fan of the first class, high quality bridal events that Tatiana Byron and the team at 4PM Events produce called The Wedding Salon for the past 3 years. I have had clients participate in the shows from New York to LA to Miami with great success.

Bridal shows are a tricky thing to pull off and they do it with style, flair and real results. Over the years I have 'been there-done that' with just about every bridal show there is - and for the most part I feel they are perfect for certain types of vendors (local photographers, florists, cake designers, wedding planners, caterers, videographers, hair/makeup, venues) and a real stretch for others (registry, honeymoons, destination weddings, etc.) unless it is the just the right fit.

The thing to remember is, that for the most part, these brides have not been to a million of these shows so it is new and exciting and fresh to them. The cost to participate is often high (booth fees, lighting, booth design & decor, staffing, travel, collateral, giveaways/sampling, AV, etc.) so the decision to take part needs to be very strategic, the exhibit needs to be well designed and planned and the ROI must be there.

These shows 'get it' on every level and create an inviting environment that has lots of *buzz* and interactivity and deliver the high end brides.

They have a few more coming up this year:

New Jersey: June 27th - The Palace at Somerset Park

Los Angeles: September 26th - The Four Seasons Los Angeles

Miami: November 12th - The Biltmore Hotel

Visit 4PMWeddingSalon for all the details!

Weddings + Brand Affinity: Take 1



Weddings bring out some of the best examples of Brand Affinity there are! Take for example this fun couple (for those who read WeddingBee - this is Mr. & Mrs. Plumeria - she is a recent bride/blogger on the site) who love Target (don't we ALL!?!?!) that when their photographers (the talented gbphotographers) suggested they take a few shots there they jumped right in!


In my 17+ years in the wedding-industry I have seen scores of examples of couples who use their wedding to proclaim the ultimate love for a particular brand. That is what is the heart of what we built the Disney Wedding phenomenon on, why when one of my very first clients Orlando Harley-Davidson wanted to create some *buzz* around their state of the art dealership we were able to line up enough couples willing to renew their wedding vows with their Harley's that we managed to set the Guiness World Record and why just about every company out there targets this market in one way, shape or form.


I plan to blog about this often (and invite you to share your stories/photos) as it is a major cornerstone of my business as a wedding industry marketing consultant. Making an emotional connection so strong that couples want to incorporate it into one of the most important events of their life - that is the ultimate brand affinity. Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Gown, Times Two!

Lots of news this Sunday (we know that while weddings are actually pretty evenly spread throughout the year that the media still considers June "Wedding Month" and therefore create stories galore!).

One being the *new* hot trend of brides wearing 2 gowns - one for the ceremony and a totally different one for the reception.


And we all thought that there was not much new in wedding revenue opportunities. In one day - major news outlets cover trends (Trash the Dress & Two Gowns for One Wedding) that reveal sources of 'enhancements' that can result in additional business for both the photography and bridal gown markets!

Click here for the NY Newsday story - here, here and here for 3 other related new stories (including the Associated Press) on the same topic.


Actually - I fancy myself a bit ahead of the curve on this one. You see, when I was married 9 1/2 years ago I had two gowns. At the time (1998) it was unheard of and considered by many to be completely over the top! And it was, of course. I also was lucky enough to have a best friend, Randy Fenoli, as my own personal wedding designer (more on Randy soon - he has some *big* plans I can't wait to share!). After much collaboration and endless muslin fittings, the end result was two totally different and amazing wedding gowns that exceeded my every dream! In fact, the wedding was featured in Brides, Modern Bride & Elegant Bride (at the time they were all separately owned - how times have changed!) and the fact that I wore two custom-designed gowns was a big part of the story.


I think this is a trend that is here to stay for many different reasons. Let me know if you are seeing more of this in your weddings and be sure to let your brides know that this is a new trend - they look to you no matter what part of the business you are in to be an expert in all things weddings - not just your part of the event.


Knowing what is *hot* and what is *not* is a big part of your value to your bride and ultimately to your success!


[gown pic: brides.com]

Is This Any Way to Treat Vera Wang?

Trash the Dress phenomenon makes the NY Times Sunday Style section! (see my earlier post about it here).

[photo: The amazing Susan Stripling]

Great Reader Tip!

Thanks to reader emilie who posted about an alternative customized website for creative wedding professionals called liveBooks. I spent some time on it and am very impressed.

Prices are higher ($1,900-$3,300) but offer a very customized, high end result and according to emilie, an incredible level of customer support.

Check out her gorgeous site for a great example!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Down the aisle and over the top - LA Times


From today's LA Times opinion page:

Down the aisle and over the top

Annoyed by outrageously expensive ceremonies? Then don't have one.

Meghan Daum

June 9, 2007

I JUST TYPED "bride" into the search engine on Amazon.com and got 132,398 results. Some referred to fiction titles like "Brideshead Revisited," but the vast majority were nonfiction field guides to femininity. There was "The Conscious Bride," "The Buff Bride," "Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul" and something called "And the Bride Wore White: 7 Secrets to Sexual Purity." And that was just from the first few pages of the list. I conducted the search because it's June and weddings — along with a whole new crop of books about them — are creeping up on us like newly hatched sea turtles ambling to the ocean.


One of these books, Rebecca Mead's "One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding," is a sobering and sorely needed examination of how and why contemporary nuptials have turned into bank-breaking three-ring circuses. Another is "Altared: Bridezillas, Bewilderment, Big Love, Breakups, and What Women Really Think About Contemporary Weddings," in which 27 female writers (I'm one of them) do pretty much what the subtitle suggests and bemoan the uneasy coexistence between free will and what has now become one of the most expensive social conventions in human history. >>> Read the entire piece here.

I would love to hear your thoughts - add a comment!

Impressive Wedding (Professional) Websites

If you are a wedding-industry professional in need of website-makeover (and many are!) then I highly recommend you take a look at the flash website template designs from BluDomain and Simplyblu.

Primarily designed for wedding photographers but with application for many other wedding-industry creative professionals (floral designers, wedding cake designers, wedding salon owners or designers, travel agents, wedding planners, the list goes on).
They are beyond cost-effective (ranging from $400 to $800 one time fees!!!) and are customizable, flash enabled and include music. Note: you will have to supply your own high quality photos as all are rather image heavy templates.

I am super impressed with the quality, selection, designs, flexibility and ease of process. Please share a link in comments of your bludomain or simplyblu site or if you end up going this route!