Wedding Market Research

Are Wedding Magazines Dead?


A lot has happened in the world of bridal publishing over the past six months, and it’s understandably left people confused and wondering about both the state of print and what couples today are doing when it comes to making their wedding decisions. To recap, if you’re not fully up to date:

From a business standpoint, this last part is a smart move on the part of the lifestyle magazines. Weddings are feel-good content focused on celebrating values almost everyone can get behind: love, hope, commitment, joy, family, and community. Who doesn’t want to feel good, especially when the world right now so often doesn’t? Unless you’re getting married or are helping a friend who is, you’re probably not going to purchase a bridal magazine off the rack just to boost your mood. Your brain, however, is going to subconsciously associate Vogue with making you a little bit happier when you flipped through it last month, so that’s likely the mag you’ll pick up again. Mainstream magazines now including weddings in their issues is business strategy, plain and simple.

Purchasing a wedding magazine is an unspoken rite of passage for many women, an act that – much like trying on a wedding dress for the first time – gives that “oh wow, this is really happening!” feeling and one that is deeply engrained in the wedding culture of most Western societies.

I’m not going to comment on what led each of the companies to land at the decisions they did, as each company has different goals, financial targets, marketing and sales practices, as well as upper management teams who may or may not be involved in the industry (nor have any understanding of it) making choices on their behalf.

I am going to clear up some confusion as to the question of whether or not today’s couples buy print wedding magazines: THEY DO.

According to our research with Splendid Insights, 79% of brides or grooms who got married last year purchased a print version of a wedding magazine and 1 in 4 (25%) purchased it before they were even engaged! Nearly half (46%) used the bridal magazines on a daily or weekly basis while they were planning their wedding.

Not only do today’s engaged couples buy bridal magazines, they use them to hire their wedding professionals.

If you read the 2018 Global Wedding Market Report, it shows that only 13% of couples hired at least one of their wedding vendors or suppliers from a magazine feature or advertisement. This is because this is the general report and includes all budget segments and people having an intimate wedding and spending less than $1000 total (think elopements or just a few guests) are included in that number.

If you take a look at the wedding market reports for the budget segments of your target clients, you will see a more accurate picture of what the couples you are specifically marketing to are actually doing when it comes to their weddings.

For example, in the luxury wedding segment (budgets of $96,000-$500,000), 30% of couples hired one or more of their wedding pros after finding them through a wedding magazine feature or advertisement. 64% were flipping through a wedding magazine at least once a week while they were planning.

In the ultra-luxury wedding segment (budgets of $500,000+), that number is even higher: 1 in 3 couples (33%) hired at least one of their vendors because of a magazine feature or ad.

It should also be noted that several local wedding magazines and bridal magazines catering to niche or often overlooked segments of the market, such as Munaluchi Bride (focusing on multi-cultural weddings), are doing well. Considering the other closures an indictment of print in general is a mistake.

The people declaring print to be dead haven’t done their homework. Engaged couples are still buying bridal magazines, and they are using the inspirational and practical information they find in the pages to help them plan their weddings.

Create your marketing plans based more on data that shows what is really happening than on anecdotes or Chicken Little-esque “the sky is falling!” proclamations. Most importantly, don’t allow fear to overtake your business decisions.

3 Ways Couples with Million Dollar Wedding Budgets Use Social Media

royal wedding spending.jpeg

At Splendid Insights, our wedding market research firm, we present wedding budgets in six categories in order to get a better look at how brides and grooms from around the world plan their big day at the differing spending levels. The budget segments are Intimate: $1,000 or less (think elopements, city hall weddings, etc); Economical: $1,100 - 10,000Standard: $11,000 - $30,000; Premium: $31,000 - $95,000; Luxury: $96,000 - $500,000; and Ultra Luxury: $500,000 or higher

As noted above, brides and grooms in the Ultra Luxury Wedding segment spend more than $500,000 on their wedding and almost half (47%) pay for part or all of their wedding themselves. Nearly 1 in 4 Ultra Luxe couples spend more than $1 million on their wedding, not including the honeymoon, and 1 in 10 spend more than $3 million. 

Since the ultra luxe royal wedding has more people setting goals of working with high-end couples, today I want to highlight a few ways that brides and grooms in this budget segment use online media in their wedding planning:
 

  1. More than a third of couples in this budget range (35%) find at least one of the wedding pros they hire via social media. 

    It's important to note that these aren't ads they're finding them through, but organic social media posts. Whether you advertise or not, make sure that you're using social media in a way that shows off not only the type of work you do, but your personality as well, as that is another factor they consider important when hiring (no one wants to spend their wedding day around someone they don't click with).

     
  2. 3 in 4 of ultra luxe engaged couples (77%) read wedding blogs at least once a week, and about a quarter of them (27%) hire wedding pros after seeing them featured on the blog. Over a third of this group (40%) started reading wedding blogs before they were even engaged.

    These refer to professional wedding blogs (such as RuffledColher de Chá Noivas, Love My Dress, Style Me Pretty, etc), not your own blog as a wedding pro (though they look at these too, again to get an idea of both your work style and personality).  

    While ultra luxe couples do use print magazines in planning their wedding, they use them less so than the other budget groups.

     
  3. While Pinterest generally comes in first place as the most used social media platform in most of the wedding budget categories, for the ultra luxe clients, Instagram takes the spot of the most used social app for wedding planning.

    Even Meghan Markle used Pinterest and Instagram in her wedding planning, saving photos from the apps to show the wedding professionals she worked with.

    I often hear wedding pros say that they want to move up to a higher budget level so that they can finally work with clients who will stop using social media. It's a common myth that clients who spend more on their wedding will delegate all creative control to the people they hire and won’t look at social media for inspiration, but it is just that – a myth. 


Online marketing, beyond just advertising, will always be a necessity for wedding pros who want to stay relevant, no matter how much their clients spend. While it can feel tedious, boring, and sometimes instill bouts of FOMO, make sure that you continue to make it a priority. Your dream clients are paying attention, even if they don't show up in your follow list or tap the "like" button as they scroll past.
 

The wedding market research reports from Splendid Insights can be downloaded here.


Photo by Nancy Ray, the official photography partner of Splendid Insights.

Originally published May 2018

 

Three Ways Ultra Luxury Wedding Clients (budgets of $500k+) Use Social Media

royal wedding spending.jpeg

At Splendid Insights, our wedding market research firm, we present wedding budgets in six categories in order to get a better look at how brides and grooms from around the world plan their big day at the differing spending levels. The budget segments are Intimate: $1,000 or less (think elopements, city hall weddings, etc); Economical: $1,100 - 10,000Standard: $11,000 - $30,000; Premium: $31,000 - $95,000; Luxury: $96,000 - $500,000; and Ultra Luxury: $500,000 or higher

As noted above, brides and grooms in the Ultra Luxury Wedding segment spend more than $500,000 on their wedding and almost half (47%) pay for part or all of their wedding themselves. Nearly 1 in 4 Ultra Luxe couples spend more than $1 million on their wedding, not including the honeymoon, and 1 in 10 spend more than $3 million. 

Since the ultra luxe royal wedding has people setting goals of working with high-end couples, today I want to highlight a few ways that brides and grooms in this budget segment use online media in their wedding planning:
 

  1. More than a third of couples in this budget range (35%) find at least one of the wedding pros they hire via social media. 

    It's important to note that these aren't ads they're finding them through, but organic social media posts. Whether you advertise or not, make sure that you're using social media in a way that shows off not only the type of work you do, but your personality as well, as that is another factor they consider important when hiring (no one wants to spend their wedding day around someone they don't click with).

     
  2. 3 in 4 of ultra luxe engaged couples (77%) read wedding blogs at least once a week, and about a quarter of them (27%) hire wedding pros after seeing them featured on the blog. Over a third of this group (40%) started reading wedding blogs before they were even engaged.

    These refer to professional wedding blogs (such as RuffledColher de Chá Noivas, Love My Dress, Style Me Pretty, etc), not your own blog as a wedding pro (though they look at these too, again to get an idea of both your work style and personality).  

    While ultra luxe couples do use print magazines in planning their wedding, they use them less so than the other budget groups.

     
  3. While Pinterest generally comes in first place as the most used social media platform in most of the wedding budget categories, for the ultra luxe clients, Instagram takes the spot of the most used social app for wedding planning.

    Even Meghan Markle used Pinterest and Instagram in her wedding planning, saving photos from the apps to show the wedding professionals she worked with.

    I often hear wedding pros say that they want to move up to a higher budget level so that they can finally work with clients who will stop using social media. It's a common myth that clients who spend more on their wedding will delegate all creative control to the people they hire and won’t look at social media for inspiration, but it is just that – a myth. 


Online marketing, beyond just advertising, will always be a necessity for wedding pros who want to stay relevant, no matter how much their clients spend. While it can feel tedious, boring, and sometimes instill bouts of FOMO, make sure that you continue to make it a priority. Your dream clients are paying attention, even if they don't show up in your follow list or tap the "like" button as they scroll past.
 

Photo by Nancy Ray, the official photography partner of Splendid Insights.