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Whether you are big into events and the romance of weddings or not, you cannot argue the scale of the wedding industry and the way it expands across such a vast selection of retail sectors, industries and ideologies. One of the most infamous factors to note about weddings is their cost – with couples across the globe constantly looking for new ways of bringing their visions to life while saving on the expense of a grand wedding event – using family homes, skills and talents, researching the cost of getting married during different times of the year in an effort to ascertain the most cost effective wedding seasons, and seeking out various package deals and vouchers which allow certain aspects of the day to be tied together for a seamless finish which costs a little less.
The fact is, while many couples focus on the big things when the concept of the wedding first comes to fruition, they soon realise that it is in fact the small details which pull the event together – and that a successful wedding is one where all of those smaller details and bookings all work together in complimentary harmony.
The wedding industry is massive – something which is reflected in the basic fact that most couples state the most challenging part of getting married being their limited understanding and knowledge around where to start with planning the wedding. While around 85% start discussing their wedding preferences around guest list and venue prior to even getting engaged, the fact is that once the ring is on the finger, the couples face a decision – do they organise their own wedding and commit their own time to pulling together the perfect day, or do they bring in the expertise of a wedding planner to handle logistics, suppliers and to achieve wedding day perfection?
Of course, before the couple even get this far, the most important aspect of the wedding to decide – and one which will have a big influence on which areas of the wedding industry they spend time exploring and researching – is the style of wedding they want. That is, should it be religious, non-religious, local, destination, or even a simple elopement. All of these are popular choices which make up much of the industry, but which each translate to very different details and wedding options.
Another part of the wedding industry which plays a big part in the overall success of the day is the variety of suppliers that are brought in to bring the vision to life – and most crucially, how well those suppliers work together and compliment each other to create a seamless experience for the couple and for their guests. These kinds of suppliers include the venue itself, caterers, dressmakers, florists and decorating companies, bands and DJ’s, cake makers, and more – the list goes on, and depends heavily on the type of wedding that is being planned.
While there are dedicated wedding industry retailers on the high street and online, namely dress shops, venue and event planners and wedding caterers, the wedding industry often only plays just a part in the overall business of a retailer or a brand, meaning that as a sector the wedding industry relies on the union of all these different retailers and their ability to band together.
Have you ever noticed how when the word ‘wedding’ is added to the front of a product or service, the price seems to rise infinitely higher? A great example of this is hair styling and make-up, with wedding day hair and make-up services often costing a great deal more than everyday styling – primarily because the retail or service provider not only factors in the day itself but also time for consultations and even trial runs. And this is where the wedding industry really comes into its own and separates itself from the general retail industry – the fact that everything about a wedding is so fine-tuned and intricately planned, right down to the last detail and every last sequin on an outfit.
While there are retailers and suppliers in the industry that present solutions to more than one of the wedding details, we often find that the top retailers are those which focus on one area of the event and deliver high quality products to serve a very specific purpose – and are then required to work alongside other retailers to deliver a finish which is complimentary of other aspects of the event delivered by those other retailers. In short, it’s no mean feat – and is why so many couples opt for wedding planners who take full responsibility of these logistics and bring it all together to deliver the end result. A great example of this is florists and wedding decorating firms, each bringing their own expertise to any given wedding, in a way which compliments the other but is still grand in its own unique way.
Finding the top retailers in the sector requires complex research spanning both local retailers and brands, and ecommerce and more nationally recognised brands. The wedding florist for example is likely to be a local brand or retailer, allowing the couple to go into the store and select and create their ideal bouquet and decorative flower displays from the selection in the store. Likewise, we often see couples sourcing their rings from local suppliers and stores and heading further afield - but still firmly sticking with in-store experiences - in order to find the perfect wedding dress.
Meanwhile, wedding stationary, catering and other decoration can all easily be sourced online through ecommerce stores and specialist independent sellers – all while ensuring that everything visual which is ordered for the wedding is designed and created in line with the overriding decorative theme. In fact, did you know that nearly 90% of wedding planning is done online now – using online resources to source and contact suppliers, to keep all the plans in one place using wedding apps and planning websites, and using social media as a main source of inspiration.
Some of the most popular retailers in the wedding industry sector, spanning across all areas of the wedding, include:
In the list above are two references to online wedding hubs – each offering their own specialist industry but identifying a very important sector within the wedding industry. That is the important of trends and the concept of centralised marketplace sites where retailers and brands can have their services and products listed by the site to help introduce their brand to potential customers who may see their services. These sites tend to operate through location and service, allowing users to channel in their wedding destination and what they are looking for, then be presented with a series of results based on their search. Think of it like an online wedding planner which lets the user compare different products in terms of quality, price, any available vouchers and deals, and reviews and testimonials from previous customers.
The events sector as a whole is responsible for sales of both products and services on a year-round basis, with weddings operating as one of the largest drivers of event sales. However, for retailers and brands which operate within the wedding industry, trend and fashion plays a major part in the success or failure of particular ranges, collections and service provision – spanning across everything from dress styles to cake aesthetics, decorative styling and musical choices.
One of the major trends to have hit the wedding industry in recent years has been the rise in wedding table presents, with couples all over the world looking for new and unique ways of presenting their guests with small tokens of appreciation on the table. Some popular modern choices include small bottles of gin and whisky, personalised biscuits and edible treats, small games to be played at the table, and even little bags of confetti to be sprinkled at will during the course of the night. The rise in table gifts has meant that online marketplaces in particular have seen an increase in the number of independent sellers and brands specialising in these kinds of purchases, often tailoring prices according to guest and unit numbers.
Another trend in the wedding industry and other retail industries across events and beyond, is the rise in natural and neutral decoration – with wedding bouquets and floral arrangements in particular moving away from bright, vibrant and exotic flowers, and leaning more on native flowers and plants which bring natural colours to the space. This ties in with the rise in decorative house plants and the increase in buyers looking for native plants to adorn their homes, leading to success for those florists and plant retailers which are willing to expand their collections outside of the generic flower bouquets.
One trend which applies within the wedding industry and other food and drink retail sectors, as well as fashion and home accessories, is the prominence of dietary decisions – namely veganism which, as a concept, has overtaken many mass market sectors and led to a change in the way buyers approach skincare and make-up brands, fashion and footwear, food and drink. Where once upon a time you would have found wedding menus delivering the same meal to every guest, now guests are typically given dietary preferences and choices – often leaning on catering services to provide vegan and vegetarian options, as well as tailored dishes for other dietary requirements such as gluten. One of the ways that couples and wedding planners are keeping track of this information is through wedding websites – a concept which has grown exponentially in the last few years (with 79% of couples using and creating a wedding website) and has opened up a whole new sector of wedding services which are being served by the ecommerce companies who operate these websites. What they provide is a template for the couple to use, populating the site with the details of their own wedding and sending it out to their guest list to collect responses and individual messages – making the entire process easier on an operational level for the couple.
And then we come to the trend which is led by tradition more than anything else – the inclusion of the little elements of a wedding which are personal, and which mean the most when you look back. These details which create and are influenced by overriding trends include the wedding photographer and the creation of wedding albums to celebrate the day as a whole, the wedding cake which is generally designed and selected in order to compliment the rest of the entertainment and which often reflects aspects of the couples relationship as well as elements of their individual personalities, and the selection of the first dance and the importance of this one moment on the event as a whole. All of these elements seem like small decisions but they create the backbone of the event, and become the memories which are looked back on fondly – giving each wedding its own unique personality and culminating in picture perfect moments for guests and the couple to look back on.
When it comes to organising a wedding, the first and most important thing to note is that the cost will be high, but that the more you shop around and combine local suppliers with ecommerce trends and independent crafters, the more individualism your event will showcase and the better the value will be for you as a couple. Finding vouchers and deals for the wedding industry means researching and knowing the ideal time to book certain suppliers, leaning on the quieter periods of the year rather than approaching them during the busy summer wedding season. And most of all, shop around and find ways of achieving those Pinterest-inspired aesthetics without paying top dollar for the original designer. Buyers often find that they are capable of making much more for themselves!
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