The Myth of the Recession-Proof Wedding Industry

woman looking at bars

When Jeff and I started our wedding business back in 2000 everyone claimed weddings were “recession-proof.”  It was easy to understand why.

In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, wedding budgets soared.  The average cost of a wedding increased every year, from $26,450 in 2005 to $27,710 in 2006 to $28,704 in 2007.

Those of us in the wedding industry thought we were UNTOUCHABLE.  People get married in any economy, right? That’s what we told ourselves.

Then came 2008…and all heck broke lose for the wedding industry.  For the first time in decades, the average wedding budget in the US DROPPED 24%…down to only $21,814.

In 2009 bridal budgets shrunk another 10.2% down to only $19,581.

In 2 Years, the Average Wedding Budget in the United States Dropped by 31.5%.

What did that mean for wedding professionals?

  • More price shoppers and tire kickers.
  • Price slashing competition and “weekend warriors” stealing the business.
  • Fewer weddings booked at lower prices.

2010 Brings Good News and Bad News

The good news first…

Brides are finally beginning to spend more money on their weddings!

According to The Wedding Report, the average wedding budget increased 21.9% in the first half of 2010…moving from an average wedding cost of $19,581 to $23,867.

The initial fear about the down economy has lessened.  Couples are slowly releasing their tight grasp on the cash in their fists.  Budgets are beginning to creep up.

Now the bad news…

The struggle is NOT over.  Even as the cost of wedding budgets increases, the mindset and the buying behavior of today’s bride have changed.

Remember what happened after the Great Depression?  Our parents and grandparents changed their buying behavior, quit spending on “extras,” stopped throwing out leftovers and started stock piling canned goods in the pantry.

Brides have developed a “budget-minded” focus because of the Great Recession…and it may be here for generations.

  • Elaborate and over the top weddings are OUT.  Simple and understated is IN.
  • Thrifty and frugal is the new vogue.  Brides are looking for ways to save.
  • The recession has trained the modern bride to spend less and haggle for the best price.

The effects of the Recession Economy on today’s bride are NOT going away any time soon.

Continued Impact of the Down Economy on the Wedding Industry

The Wedding Report’s 2010 survey of wedding professionals shows:

  • Engaged couples continue to focus on BUDGET and price.
  • Bargaining and negotiating for wedding services continues to increase.
  • Brides are still cutting “luxuries” out of their budgets and guest lists are staying small.
  • Competition increases as part-time and amateur wedding vendors offer discount prices to bargain hungry brides on websites like Craigslist.

Proving Your Value to Brides and Becoming Irresistible to Your Ideal Client Is More Important Than Ever.

Hey, we felt the impact of the recession, too.  But we can’t afford to sit on our butts and wait for the economy to change.

Jeff and I developed a system to communicate our value and book those price shoppers without arguing about our price.  As a result, we kept our prices at a premium and were able to cut our advertising expenses down to a bare minimum…while increasing our number of leads!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to increase your profits during the recession (like we did), download my free report, The Price Shopper to Profit Email: How to Convince a Bride of Your Value Immediately So She’s Primed and Ready to Book.

How to Keep a Watchful Eye on Wedding Industry Trends

It’s essential for the survival of your wedding business that you keep up on these trends in the wedding industry.  You need to know what brides want…and what they don’t want…so that you can build a 6 figure wedding business.

The Wedding Report offers FREE statistics and reports for the national wedding market.  You can upgrade to a paid account if you’d like to get the stats for your State and Zip Code.  Sign up for an account here to get the latest news.

What impact have you noticed from the recession and what have you done to deal with it? Leave me a comment and share your best tip with other wedding professionals.

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Posted By

Stephanie Padovani

Stephanie is a Hudson Valley wedding insider, blogger, writer, and wedding business coach. Want to book more weddings at higher prices? Quit dealing with price shoppers? Transform your wedding business so that it supports the life you really want? Look her up! They don't call her the Wedding Business Cheerleader for nothing. :)

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