Recession Proof? NOT!

March 9, 2009 Weddings Unlimited, Inc.

I keep reading over and over “the wedding industry is recession proof”. Well, I don’t deny that weddings are still taking place, but my observation is that those involved in providing services are indeed affected. As a Cincinnati wedding planner, I have witnessed first hand that brides and families financially responsible are seeking ways to stretch the dollar as far as they can and still have the wedding of their dreams. Bridal parties are narrowed down, guests lists are dwindle and “do it yourself ” seems to be in vogue.    

Let’s start with the ceremony: Getting married at the court house or in a public park. Who loses? The place of worship and those involved in the ceremony. Celebrant, custodian, church coordinator, musicians who all get a portion of the fee paid to the house of worship.

Flowers: Why use a florist or floral designer, when a bride can go to a wholesale dealer and make their own bouquets and centerpieces? Going silk or finding ways to not use flowers for centerpieces.  The local florist may be seeing less weddings and/or downsizing of their orders.    

Music:  Brides are opting out on professional musicians. Recording their own music and having a friend play an I-pod at the ceremony and/or reception.  Many professional musicians, including deejays, have day jobs, but look forward to that weekend wedding “gig” for  supplementing their incomes. Or maybe, it’s just something they love to do.

Food: Finding venues that allow for your own catering where friends and family can do the cooking. Some brides are being more selective on scheduling the time of day for the reception, so that  it requires less food. Not to say that there is anything wrong with that choice, but what happens to the “real” catering businesses if they depend on weddings as a major portion of their business?

Transportation: The bride and groom may be the only one using a smaller limousine or classic car, leaving the transportation service with a contract for less hours or service and difficulty filling the gap time from one client to another.

Photographer/videographer: Smaller packages with options of giving the raw footage  to the client. Booking an event where only one camera is used, or coverage of the  ceremony only. Some service providers have difficulty with multi-events on same day due to number of employees.  

Wedding Planners: There are a unique few that state they are doing really well, but there are many well  established consultants that comment that there are fewer full service clients and more pull out services or day of coordination than in the past.  Many brides are opting to rely on friends and family to help with the planning and coordination, so that they can use what would be our service fee on other areas of the wedding.   

I could keep this up for awhile, but am hoping that the researchers that are spreading this idea that “weddings are recession proof”, will stop and examine this more closely. Don’t just report the stats on how many are applying for marriage licences.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Juliet  |  March 10, 2009 at 3:43 am

    I definitely wouldn’t say weddings are entirely recession proof either. I had a bride cancel after looking at her finances. Her parents had lost over $70,000 in 401K so she felt guilty having a wedding (she was already married in a courthouse).

    Great post!

  • 2. Gayle O'Donnell  |  March 29, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Weddings are DEFINITELY NOT RECESSION PROOF!!! Just last weekend we had a couple in our invitation store cancelling their order. Invitation orders, because of their personalized nature, have a no cancellation policy, but that didn’t stop them from showing up at the store with a posse including 3 bridesmaids demanding a full refund. They said they are going to be losing their jobs. Unfortunately, we will be losing our business if this keeps up! There is a very sad misperception that those who own the businesses serving weddings are independently wealthy opportunists trying to take advantage of those getting married. How wrong that is! The vast majority of us are caring souls who love helping people plan weddings, and these current times hurt us just as much as the next person.


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