Is how we’re organizing the most important day of our lives changing? Once, the soon-to-be-married couple spent the run up to their wedding going to suit fittings, dress shops and tasting sessions. But with new technology and social media apps, it seems that the wedding industry is moving online.
So, what does this mean for wedding planners and suppliers? To separate fact from fiction, Angelic Diamonds, retailer of unique tension set engagement rings and bespoke wedding rings, looks at whether the industry needs to plunge into the digital world to survive — and what it means for us if it does.
Of course, we all love online shopping and that doesn’t end just because there’s a wedding to plan. Over the past year, about 87% of UK customers have bought at least one product online – with sales increasing 21% in 2016. Reportedly, this figure is set to increase another 30% by the end of 2017, which signals a huge shift to online weeding shopping that we, and the industry, have never seen before.
How has the Internet changed our wedding preparation?
We can pretty much live our lives online now and few businesses survive without at least some digital presence. So, should the wedding industry just accept it as standard that they should do the same?
According to The Huffington Post, 60% of brides surveyed are planning their weddings through handheld devices. What are they looking at? Well, it seems to be mainly dresses followed by retailers. Research shows that today, 61% of brides use their devices to find the perfect gown (up from 27% in 2011) and 57% of brides use them for finding wedding vendors (up from 22% in 2011).
Social media and wedding planning
We can already see a huge number of wedding stores and services online, but what about social media? Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook offer brides (and sometimes grooms) so much inspiration for their big day, showing them other weddings and letting them mix and match ideas and concepts to suit them. It’s clear that modern couples are using new technology when wedding planning. In fact, 42% of people use social media to plan their wedding – with 41% of brides following photographers, 37% of brides following venues and 14% following florists.
Social media is a near-faultless source of inspiration and it can benefit both customers and businesses. Apps provide a platform for wedding planners, venues, florists and other wedding suppliers to showcase what they have to offer. Instagram and Pinterest, which is used by 64% of brides, have now become a couple’s digital alternative to a wedding fair. So, if you’re a supplier who hasn’t invested time into creating a social media profile, you could be missing out on free exposure!
As we already know, social media is greedy and likes to take part in almost all aspects of our social life — including our weddings. Social media’s involvement doesn’t stop at the planning stage. When asked, 27% of today’s couples said they would create a hashtag for their special day and share it with guests to use when uploading snaps.
Will the wedding industry survive offline?
So, where does the wedding industry see its future? While it’s often easier to shop online, there’s probably always going to be a place for wedding preparations offline. Shopping for a wedding is such a physical process, it’s almost impossible to imagine not living in a world where brides try on 20 dresses. Whilst the grooms stand awkwardly to be measured, and the two make the most of wine and cake tasting sessions.
Surviving completely online would be hard. Wedding fairs have been around for centuries and are still a great way to engage face-to-face. While modern couples use social media for visual inspiration, the wedding fair is the place they talk over their options and make their final decisions.
Couples will, of course, use digital platforms to plan, prep and prepare. But, the wedding industry should hold back from eliminating traditional methods of wedding planning. It’s time for suppliers and other professionals to embrace the digital world to extend their business and gain more exposure?
Have we cast doubt on the survival of the offline wedding industry with the ever-increasing dominance of the Internet? Probably. But it’s coped extremely well so far and this looks certain to continue!