One of the dirty little secrets of the wedding press is that the oft-repeated statistic that the average US per wedding spending is approaching $30,000 is really a lie.
Last May in a blog post titled “Lies, damned lies and statistics”, I pointed this out using recent figures from The Wedding Report. Using The Wedding Report’s own data I shared that over 80% of the weddings in their data set spent less than half the amount they reported as “average”.
Recently, Christina Fredrichsen of IntimateWeddings.com directed me to a Wall Street Journal article “Weddings Are Not The Budget Drains Some Surveys Suggest” which further exposed this problem and even interviewed some of our profession’s leaders who work to perpetuate the spending falsehood.
It is not that I am against lux weddings and upscale brides. The troublesome issue with the misleading wedding cost reports is that the reports are purposefully packaged to misrepresent and oversell wedding professionals and brides-to-be misinformation as to the cost of the typical wedding. This can cause many problems for both the brides-to-be and wedding professionals.
How many wedding professionals decide that their best business plan is to cater to the “upscale” bride? Weddings with budgets above 30K. And invest in expensive marketing to execute that business plan? And go out of business only to find that they were marketing to less than 5% of the market? And ignoring over 80% of the US weddings.
And think about the young couples feeling stressed because their budget seems so much less that what they read on The Knot or in Conde Nast. And possibly go into debt just for what they have been told is the “average” wedding?
In today’s new economic reality I feel that for most wedding professionals it would be much better to position and market to serve the majority of the marketplace. What could be called the “Wedding Populaire” or even Volks-Wedding. The idea of the average wedding trying to reach an almost unaffordable level of extravagance is no longer stylish … or possible.