After thirty years in the wedding industry as a wedding professional, I was thinking about what were the happenings that made a major impact in the wedding industry. I am going to list my own and am going to email my mailing list for contributions that I will continue to add to this list with a credit and a website link to the contributor.
The Answering Machine and Voice Mail – For many years in the sixties through eighties, many businesses relied on soliciting brides on the phone as a primary way to generated appointments and sales. At one time in the mid to late eighties, I had 3 stores that provided one stop shopping with 2 telephone solicitors calling bridal leads from every place I can get them including bridal shows, catering halls, magazine lists, and other exclusive sources we made it our business to develop. For years our stores took a full-page ad in Modern Bride and Bride’s magazine with a coupon for interested brides to check off the services they needed. We were able to have a constant flow of customers and had six salespeople who went on an average of 4-5 home visits a week. Once brides were able to screen calls, my business was never the same.
Disc Jockeys – Until the mid eighties, live music dominated the wedding scene but the personality of emcees, hearing the music of the original artists with sound systems that made it seem live and affordability quickly shifted the trend and took over the market share from live entertainment. Thus there are less rehearsed wedding bands that play regularly.
The Internet – I need not write about that. Everyone knows…
The Knot – When the Knot first started in the nineties, I met with them during my early years at Encore Studios to advertise on their site. I declined because as a wholesale company, I was afraid I would spend all day fielding consumer inquiries. They were amazed that I declined advertising with them because I feared too large a response. The Knot paved the way for online advertising to pose a serious challenge to bridal advertising in print and made media companies realize that they had to have online presence.
Martha Stewart Weddings – When Martha Stewart Weddings came on the scene, it was the first publication that raised the awareness of targeting the bride with upscale offerings and thus attracted a bridal audience that had higher income levels than the rest of the pack at the time. It inspired other launches like Town and Country Weddings and In Style Weddings and the whole bar of style and creativity in all wedding magazines raised in response.
David’s Bridal – When David’s Bridal first came to prominence, bridal magazines were colluded by manufacturers to not permit them to advertise. Now they have a tremendous market share and national magazines depend on David’s Bridal as a mainstay for their advertising spreads. The bridal retail environment has never been the same. I had an opportunity to work with them on a marketing project after one of the original owner’s Steven Erlbaum contacted me after reading my book “The Wedding Expert’s Guide To Sales and Marketing”. Who knows where I would be now if I got involved with David’s.
The 21st Century
The Green Movement – Wedding websites and magazines have given this movement of consciousness a lot of exposure and the change has impacted the way environmentally conscious brides purchase invitations, catering, photography, favors and other services.
Do It Yourself Movement – From photography, video, entertainment, flowers, invitations and favors, while there are many tasteful options offered, this trend has lowered the bar of quality that the foundation of the wedding industry was built on.
Digital Photography – The photographers maintaining possession of the negatives and the up sell that photographers enjoyed in upgrading packages was a very important part of the profitability of a wedding photography studio. Digital photography is a wonderful addition to our society but not to the wedding photography industry as the sophistication of cameras have been made the art of wedding photography a more challenging business to be profitable at, especially on the mid-range and low-range price levels.
So I covered some bases, let’s hear what some other wedding professionals have to say.