By Paul Pannone
A growing number of reports say the wedding business is negatively affected by the sluggish economy and a host of other changes in the wedding business dating back to the economic collapse in 2008. The job market recovery shows a topical rebound but deeper digging shows job creation and return to where we started is hardly a triumph, as population numbers increase and the creation or jobs that pay less are not real cause for celebration.
“Getting back to square one isn’t much to celebrate, however. There are more than 6 million more working-age Americans today than when the recession began. Adjusting for population growth, we’re still millions of jobs short of where we were 6½ years ago — and have seen hardly any jobs recovery” according to Ben Casselman, chief economics writer at Five Thirty.
Discussions by senior members of the Wedding Water Cooler Group agree there is a major slowdown in deals and decisions within the wedding business. Deals that used to close in thirty days now take months, revisiting the same topics and details endlessly, with no guarantee they’ll ever be completed.
Studies, discussions and information shows the uncertainty of today’s economic landscape is at the heart of why a once robust wedding business is suffering.
Discussion comments include, “General business is difficult to close even under normal circumstances. I’ve been sitting on a deal for six months. They’ve agreed to buy but haven’t yet signed a contract. I’ve learned the hard way that it means nothing without a signed contract from these big guys. A $250,000 deal isn’t big for them but it’s huge for us,” said one member.
Others in travel say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get a commitment without several meetings and endless follow-up. Retailers point fingers at manufacturers who are not coming up with innovating styles or products that connect with consumers.
In some pockets of the market improvements are shown in more educated segments. A census study by PEW earlier this year showed an increase in marriages among more educated couples leading members of the Wedding Water Cooler group to conclude better education leads to better jobs and more stability, creating an environment where traditional values become attainable.
But when asked what they feel the true underlying reasons are for the majority of troubles most say it’s the current lack of trust and confidence in the current administration’s ability to gather enough support to lift the country out of the malaise and restore confidence growth in the necessary way for a meaningful, long-term recovery for the entire wedding industry
Members of the Water Cooler say the real issue that matters is how confident couples are in getting married. Reports that say the rest of 2014 is not good add little hope to business decisions that would improve confidence, as a rule, not pocket exceptions.
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