Saturday, October 25, 2008

NY Times: "How to Take a Cake Knife to Wedding Costs"

This morning the New York Times has an insightful article that I am sure is just the tip of the iceberg of what we are about to start seeing in the media.  Over the past few weeks I have have the privilege of spending quite a bit of time with top wedding professionals from many different regions and representing all aspects of the wedding industry and of course the topic of how the economy is going to affect weddings is high on the list of conversations.  Some quotes from this article hit on a few key points that have been echoed by many so far and that we all need to be highly aware of:

Streamlining + Re prioritizing

"Even among families to whom a $50,000 to $100,000 wedding might not have seemed a reach earlier this year, some are now reprioritizing,” said JoAnn Gregoli, owner of Elegant Occasions in Manhattan. “People are rethinking, downsizing, inviting fewer people and rethinking the dĂ©cor,” she said, something she said she hasn’t seen before in her 20-year career. “In the last few weeks, calls are coming in saying, ‘Let’s streamline.’ ”

Appearing too "frivolous" or "over-the-top"

Even those who are not financially constrained may worry about appearances and think twice about mounting an extravagant wedding in hard times.

“Most successful men with daughters in their 20s set aside funds for the big day,” said Mr. Gruber, [a top NYC  celebrity photographer]. “The money for her wedding is still there. Today it is a matter of perception: ‘Can I have the wedding I have always envisioned for my daughter, or is it insensitive to spend that kind of money right now?’ ”

Expectations of exceptional service

“We eliminated anyone who [we] called but didn’t say congratulations...” 

Some quick takeaways are consistent with what we know about the wedding industry - weddings are 'recession-resistant' in that people will not CANCEL their weddings however, they will change their spending behaviors and make different decisions than they made even 6 months ago. Wedding industry professionals that are proactive in approaching this rapidly changing environment need to shift strategy immediately to be aware of the mindset of the consumer.  Focus on providing value at every price point, make unsolicited recommendations to couples on how they can get the most return on their wedding investment, offer alternative pricing and flexible choices to help cut costs, and never assume that your part in the wedding will not be comprimised.  It will increasingly be about re-prioritization  and you do not want to be on the short end of that stick!

We will continue to monitor this very fluid situation and share insight and tips on how you can come out on top.  We invite you to share your thoughts, ideas and observations on how the economy is affecting your wedding business in comments!


Jennifer Ramirez-Jasiczek said...

This is so true. Just this week I had two couple, both from NYC, call to say they were no longer doing their extravagant destination wedding. So we are now focusing on a land-locked, less expensive option. I advised them to "Come to Texas - it's a lot cheaper here."

luke walker said...

I definitely agree whole-heartedly with the comment about expectations of service being higher than ever. We've seen that over and over in the past 6 months here in our studio as well. I haven't found anyone spending less, but I have found people expecting more for their dollar... understandably so. Businesses that think they don't need to respond to our current economic situation by being more sensitive and stepping up their experience EVEN MORE (no matter how good it was previously) are going to be hurting.

your WEDDING DIVA said...

I am having clients rethinking their business model. Some are offering new services to tap this changing market.

ericwa said...

Try going to