What does the wedding industry look like in 2019?
The 2019 Newlywed Report, based on WeddingWire’s Newlywed Survey, explores data behind 18,000 newlyweds married in 2018. The survey takes a comprehensive look into engagements, wedding planning, traditions and cost. What’s trending, especially among millennial marriages? Millennials are going into marriage with a digital-first mindset. They’re researching, planning and looking for the best ways to be efficient — before they get engaged. 2 out of 3 millennials take at least one wedding planning action prior to engagement.
With so many millennials having their finger on the pulse before they say “I do,” entrepreneurs in the industry are responding accordingly. Wedding entrepreneurs want to ensure the big day is one to remember, and they’re thinking outside of the box to do it. From crafting DIY floral arrangements to transparency in wedding rings, here’s a look at the actions seven entrepreneurs are taking to redefine weddings.
Creating Transparency In Engagement Ring Shopping
Engagement rings play a pivotal role in the love affair with weddings. WeddingWire’s Newlywed Survey revealed that $5,000 is the average cost of an engagement ring. 20% of couples pick the ring out together. Once they are engaged, 52% of millennials send a photo of said ring to their loved ones.
Jeff Brenner is the cofounder of Couple, a luxury ring brand on a mission to eliminate the complexities of the engagement ring marketplace. Couple was born out of Brenner’s frustrating engagement ring shopping experience. In 2017, Brenner struggled to find the perfect engagement ring for his fiancée at traditional jewelry retailers. He found a United States-based lab making headway in lab-grown diamonds and realized he could buy a better quality ring with a bigger carat size for his budget.
Couple launched in late 2018, alongside Brenner’s cofounder Alan Shuster. Their mission is simple: bring a simple, transparent engagement ring shopping experience to life. Couple does this by offering one quality of lab-grown diamond. The diamond is simple and colorless, set in eight timeless ring styles and comes at an exceptional fixed price. Added transparency can be found in the diamonds themselves, which are guaranteed free of negative environmental impacts that come with mined diamonds.
The recipient of the first Couple ring? In a romantic twist, that would be Brenner’s fiancée Isabella.
Taking A DIY Approach To Floral Arrangements
According to WeddingWire’s Newlywed Survey, the average cost of flowers for a wedding ceremony and reception in 2018 totaled at $1,800. The survey also notes that couples, on average, hire 14 vendors for their wedding day. 74% of said vendors are flower vendors.
Amy McCord Jones is the owner of Flower Moxie, an online business that sells flowers to DIY brides and encourages them to “create floral magic in their sweatpants.” After seven years of being self-employed, McCord Jones launched Flower Moxie in 2014.
Flower Moxie was inspired by a series of realizations McCord Jones had in regards to the wedding industry. Brides could find flowers online, but generally they were B-grade flowers sold in bulk without any instructions for how to create an arrangement. Pinterest and wedding blogs were also exploding at the time, leading to a massive increase of floral expectations at weddings and receptions.
McCord Jones started the business at her kitchen table, using a $5k investment from her own savings. She was confident that her business idea, which taught brides how to put together florist-grade flowers into stunning arrangements using video tutorials and floral recipes, would revolutionize weddings. Today, McCord Jones says that Flower Moxie has sold millions of dollars’ worth of flowers and continues to grow.
Stitching Wedding Dresses Locally
One of the pre-engagement actions 35% of millennials take is looking at wedding dresses and attire online. In 2018, wedding dresses cost $1,700 on average.
More often than not, the downside of saying yes to the dress is that finding the perfect gown is a taxing process. Samantha Sleeper, founder of bridal studio Samantha Sleeper, is a wedding dress whisperer. A graduate of and former instructor at Parsons School of Design in New York City, Sleeper works alongside her team to design, drape, pattern, embroider, fit and sew gowns. Her studio works to make women at all stages of their lives feel comfortable and beautiful. Adjustments Samantha Sleeper is noted for making include allowing a dress seamless access for breastfeeding and working with women whose bodies do not fit into pre-described sizing.
“My approach is to always understand my client, her love story and her perception of marriage.” Sleeper says, “This allows me to create a ceremonial garb that would best support her feeling seen as she desires moving in to the ceremony of marriage.”
Sleeper also prides her studio in its ability to make wedding garments locally. Doing so, Sleeper mentions, allows her to support the teaching of techniques in garment making and construction. “We’re able to support niche small business, such as button makers, pattern graders and fabric flower makers, in a sustainable and authentic way.”
A One-Stop Shop For “Something Borrowed”
Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Make that several “something borrowed” items, actually.
Brittany Finkle knows firsthand how quickly expenses for wedding accessories can add up. She watched her three older sisters spend their entire budgets on their wedding gowns. Then, her sisters went over their budgets on accessories like wedding veils, jewelry and hair clips. This led Finkle to start Happily Ever Borrowed, a luxury e-Boutique that rents bridal accessories to brides for their weddings.
Finkle, who has a background in working for luxury fashion brands like Ralph Lauren and Saks Fifth Avenue, has a keen eye for finding the perfect finishing touch for brides at a fraction of the retail price. Happily Ever Borrowed allows brides-to-be the chance to choose the accessory of their dreams, rock it for 10 to 20% less than its retail price on their wedding day and return it afterwards. Happily Ever Borrowed has been in business for nearly eight years, with Finkle reporting that her business has rented accessories to over 1,500 brides.
The Anti-Pinterest Perfect Wedding Planner
Taryn Blake is very familiar with the look and feel of a cookie cutter wedding. She has no desire to follow the herd in producing more of them. As the owner of Taryn Blake Events and Behind the Bash Wedding Show, Blake is pioneering a movement to kick the monotony out of weddings. She wants to move the needle on what a wedding should be.
How does it work? Taryn Blake Events travels throughout the United States to bring the big day together. The company has a list of backup vendors at the ready (in the event of a no-show) and they also work alongside your venue’s coordinator, if there is one. At the Behind the Bash Wedding Show, Blake and her team offer an open-air experience free from old school pipe and drape.
“We give couples the confidence to do whatever they want to tell their authentic love story.” Blake says, “Our mission is to empower couples to ditch their Pinterest paralysis and design an event that ‘feels’ just like them.”
A Custom Vow Writing Service For Tongue-Tied Couples
Katelyn Stanis understands what it’s like to have the wedding jitters when writing your vows. As the founder of Wedding Words, a wedding vow and speech writing service, she acts as a vow writing wordsmith for stressed out couples.
WeddingWire’s Newlywed Survey states that in 2018, 47% of couples gave a speech during their wedding reception. Stanis says that couples love the idea of writing their vows, but it’s not uncommon to feel anxious about where to start in creating great vows.
With more couples choosing to write their own vows, Stanis uses her service and writing skills to turn stress into confidence. “I collaborate with couples to write impactful and personalized wedding vows they can cherish long after the cake is gone.”
Wedding Registries That Give The Gift Of Experience
Five years ago, Marilen Rose found herself watching quite a few of her friends get married. As she purchased items off their wedding registries, she realized that too many gift registries were focused on material objects. There wasn’t much by way of experiences on any of the registries. Rose was disappointed because she believed in the transformative power of giving and receiving experiences, especially for newlyweds.
Rose, who has a background in hospitality and travel, started and became the founder of My World Registry. The tech platform brings “Grateful Getters” and “Graceful Gifters” together through an experiential gifting registry. Engaged couples and newlyweds can register for experiences on the website, or shop from curated pre-existing experiences, like a Japanese hot springs honeymoon.
“My World Registry was born out of the idea that life should be filled with experiences, not things.” Rose says, “Your wedding is no exception.”