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The End Of The Wedding Industry: Real Or Spiel

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Forge Your Wealth is meant for education and entertainment and should not be considered financial advice.

I read an article from The Atlantic about how much the Coronavirus has impacted weddings. In fact, I have even heard that this may be the end of the wedding industry. This is a new article I will write in the Real Or Spiel series, a series that looks at articles making large claims in which at least right now, I would say is not a very radical claim anymore. My first one was about the stock market. In this one I want to write about the wedding industry and whether this will be the end of a multi-billion dollar industry.

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My Story

One of my colleagues just said “I do.” In the missus’ and my wedding we rented out a chapel, contacted florists, a priest, a venue, caterer, DJ. Altogether the cost was around $12,000 including a black opal ring. I am sure that my colleague had similar plans in mind, but not anymore due to pandemic reasons. So he had the wedding over Zoom, very considerably different from the traditional wedding.

How Marriage Works

Marriage will not really change. It is an agreement ranging from strictly legal to having some holy rite aspect. If me and the missus really wanted to, we could have gone to the court house and signed a piece of paper saying we were married. Heck, if we wanted to we could’ve been married by Elvis or Batman (not an ad, just wanted to show you this is real). So why did I go the traditional route even though it still costs over $10,000? If you have a religiously devout mother you would understand.

The wedding is not just an event for you and your love, but for the families and friends too. It is a time for people to get together and celebrate. There was drama, but the wife and I would not have wanted it any other way. I know many who say the same thing. The wedding shows you what the marriage will be like, many happy moments mixed with drama.

The Coronavirus Severely Affected Wedding Plans

Almost 100% Real

Chances are if you were planning a wedding, or planning to go to a wedding there was at least one change.

The number of marriages have declined recently, and so has the revenue of the wedding industry. It is uncertain times for the wedding industry in which they were afraid of how 2020 would affect the wedding industry, especially during summer. “Hey did you hear about this Coronavirus?” In a matter of weeks the world had to change plans. And with that many wedding plans were changed including my colleague’s. And who could blame them? Not only are gatherings limited, but I would hate to exclude my grandparents or anyone who was at risk from the virus from one of the largest (if not the largest) event of my life. I’m sure others would hate to exclude the people who meant so much to them too.

More Lawsuits

Most Likely Real

According to the article from the Atlantic, not only have many venues cancelled 2020 plans, but they are booked to the end of 2021. That is one year with little revenue and potential lawsuits for these service providers. Keep in mind, those venues already have lawsuits on their hands including one about a lack of air conditioning in an outdoor venue (think about that). Those are the types of clients many of these venues have to deal with on a regular basis. Imagine how they will fare against people who were stuck at home for months and probably need money.

More Cancellation Insurance Policies

Temporarily Real

Wedding insurance can be divided in two: liability, and cancellation policies. Liability is almost always a must. However, cancellation insurance is a different matter entirely. Cancellation insurance covers if the wedding is cancelled for reasons beyond the wedding party’s control. This includes fires, bomb threats, storms, and yes even pandemics. These policies cost only $100 for small ceremonies (mine and the missus fell within that region) to $1,000. They are worth it for the peace of mind alone. They may also mediate risk.

With many stories spreading about cancelled wedding events everyone is also hearing about the money wasted on those events. The world could not give us a better example of how a sudden event would change your plans. When people make wedding plans in the future I promise you, everyone will have either a cancellation insurance policy or at least a contingency plan. Insurance companies may have provided credits due to some policies, but they will make it up with these policies. Like every other crisis though, people will forget about Covid-19. How many of you have even heard about the Spanish Flu until now? Give it a few years and this will just be a forgotten nightmare until our next pandemic. After that people will be saying things like, “come on, what are the chances of Covid-19 happening again?”

People Will See The Value Of Smaller Weddings

Mostly Real

But can a Zoom wedding really capture the magic of a wedding? Actually, many people say that the Zoom weddings are quite magical. Although that may be more because it is a major life event that happens during a pandemic and people are happy to be together when the world is figuratively on fire.

If I may be honest, many people were seeing the value of smaller weddings before the pandemic. Since 2016, the average costs of weddings were decreasing. I have heard of other trends called micro-weddings where you can have a nice short ceremony and some form of a reception in which could only cost a few thousand dollars. There are reports of an increase in micro-weddings in response to Covid-19.

In fact, people find smaller weddings more intimate. I had about 90 people at the missus’ and my wedding, that was not large, but for many people it would hardly be called intimate. However, everyone at the wedding were close friends and good family. The only person at the missus’ and my wedding whose name I did not know was my unborn nephew. Many people say smaller weddings help people become closer, try to be more creative and make the wedding an overnight event, and to save costs.

The End Of The Wedding Industry

Somewhat Spiel

The wedding industry is not at an end, it just needs to evolve like any other industry during a crisis. Sure many things may go away. For instance, demand of florists, caterers, and bakers will likely decrease. You will not need as much of these for a smaller wedding.

Truth is much of the industry just adds costs to typical items. For instance, the missus’ and my wedding cake cost around $300, and that was after finding economical alternatives for some decorations. Do not get me wrong, I love the bakery we got our cake from and everything else they bake, but they could increase the price of the wedding cake by calling it a wedding cake. One of the best economic options is to buy a dessert sheet cake, that could halve the price instantly. Are we really that broken up about an industry that can tack on high prices frequently with little cause that most people cannot afford?

The main reason millennials avoid marriage is because they are not economically prepared. Maybe customers should not consider the traditional wedding if they are economically pinched. However, Zoom weddings and micro-weddings may make weddings more popular, especially among people who otherwise would elope.

If wedding planners, bakeries, and venues can change to allow for such changes they will be fine. If not, they will fail. Unfortunately, some very large and expensive venues may not survive because if people are leaning towards smaller weddings, they will not book them. Many will have to change their business model, or shut down.

Final Thoughts

The wedding industry is in trouble, but the Coronavirus will not be the end of the wedding industry. Many people are angry about all of the changes in plans due to the pandemic including wedding plans. Businesses in the wedding industry will all but surely suffer for at least a while. However, as usually the insurance companies will be able to thrive in a time of crisis some businesses involved in the wedding industry will thrive. Any part of the wedding industry that wishes to survive will have to change in a world where people either want or need smaller and less traditional weddings.

Truth is the wedding industry is not at an end. Many people are only a bride or groom for a day. And the bride will throw the wedding boutique to the next lucky bride to be. Like these brides, many businesses had their time to shine by providing people with their best days. Now it is time to pass the metaphorical boutique to a new set of businesses that can have their moment in the light.

Author: Papa Foxtrot

Most of my life I was careful with money and learned where I should invest it. I was very lucky to have parents who taught me financial literacy when I was young. Unfortunately, I am very lucky because many people lack the financial literacy I know. The purpose of Forge Your Wealth is to teach people who are just starting out in life how to obtain their wealth or anyone who just realized they may need to learn more to handle their finances. I currently have a PhD in biochemistry, just started a job in industry (will not disclose where exactly for personal and professional reasons) and am currently married to the love of my life. I am one of the lucky few people in America who graduated with no student debts, my wife was not. Over the series of a little over 3 years we paid for our wedding with no debt and paid off her federal student loans.

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