Spending Habits of the Newly Engaged & How Couples Choose Their Wedding Suppliers: Market Research from Splendid Communications & Brides Magazine

June 19, 2012

A couple of wedding media outlets have conducted some pretty awesome market research over the past few months. These included the amazing Liene of Splendid Communications and Brides Magazine (US). Both interviewed thousands engaged and newly married couples and with their permission I’m sharing some of their findings today.

From Liene’s results, I found the factors couples consider when booking their wedding suppliers particularly interesting (click to enlarge each image).

So what do these answers tell us?

Primarily it appears that while couples see added value in a supplier who gets press and features (on blogs or in magazines) recommendations from friends and family (in real life or via facebook) is still the number one way couples find their suppliers. They want to book people they can trust.

They also cited that a supplier’s personality plays a huge role (70% said it was ‘very important’ with a further 27% saying ‘it matters’). So being yourself, connecting with clients who are like you and being a nice person (as well as a good at what you do) is paramount. Sounds obvious but believe me there are some suppliers I’ve met who seem to forget that last part!

Maybe one of the most surprising results to me was that 94% of couples said that speediness of reply to emails ‘is very important’ or ‘matters’ when booking a supplier. My advice after seeing that would be to make your inbox a number one priority!

These three factors were way more important to couples than fancy awards or celebrity clients. If you ignore external factors (and what everyone else appears to be doing) and instead focus on your brand, on being attentive to a potential client’s needs and on being yourself, the right kind of people will be booking you!

Thank you to Liene for allowing me to share these snippets in the Green Room today! If you want to read more of Liene’s findings, the 41 page PDF with her complete results can be purchased here.

The Brides Magazine research is particularly interesting for those in the wedding fashion, styling or design arenas as their research shows that couples are not only mainly funding their weddings themselves these days, but that fashion forward choices were playing a huge part in their weddings – i.e picking non-traditional elements that make their wedding stand out from all their friends’. I also think some of their basic findings on how much couples are spending, and how that relates to years gone by are also particularly helpful.

Their key findings included:

♥ The percentage of couples paying for the wedding reception exclusively themselves (36%) is up significantly vs. 2009 (29%) with 62% of couples contributing or paying entirely.

♥ There is an emphasis on style with wedding dress costs continuing to increase. The average cost of a wedding gown is now $1,355, up from $1,289 in 2011. Average costs of bridesmaid dresses ($145 vs. $143 in 2011), groomsmen attire ($137 vs. $121 in 2011) and honeymoon attire ($902 vs. $845 in 2011) has also increased. We’re also seeing an increase in grooms buying tuxes rather than rent.

♥ Couples remain committed to personalisation with 31% planning weddings personal themes, 31% creating custom cocktails and 20% incorporating cultural traditions.

♥ 59% of couples are using Pinterest to find and collect wedding inspiration.

♥ The cost of weddings continues to remain steady with an average price-tag of $26,989. This is a slight increase from $26,501 in 2011. Wedding spending peaked in 2008, with the 2009 Brides AWS reporting an average of $28,082.

♥ An average price tag for a reception is $11,599.

♥ Outside of the reception, the largest chunks of money are going to photography ($2,186), wedding rings ($1,594) and flowers ($1,334).

♥ An average wedding dress costs $1,355 up from $1,289 in 2011.

♥ Spending has increased slightly for photography ($2,186 vs. $2,097 in 2011).

Take from these results what you will, but I hope sharing them may help some of you with your plans for your wedding business moving forward.