By Paul Pannone
If you think back to a time when life was simpler and you made a lot of money in the wedding business as you read this piece, let’s face it; you’re old. It’s alright being old, it happens to all of us. But what’s not alright is to think old or, according to some, to think at all. Times have changed and they’re never going back to what once was.
If you ask progressive thinkers like Sheryl Davies, a pioneer in the wedding business and the Canadian market, she’ll tell you,”Who would want to go back to those days? It was the dark ages compared to today. So things have changed– dramatically. That’s the exciting part that keeps me invigorated,” says Davies, well past the age of her current constituents.
Besides all he other obligations of running a marketing company, Davies, by choice, is responsible for organizing Blues Fest in Windsor, Ontario, giving back to the community that’s enabled her to enjoy success in the wedding business. An active Wedding Water Cooler member, Davies weighed in on the current discussion about how the market has changed.
Can you guess which one is Sheryl? It’s the one with the smile. Still can’t guess? Good, because nothing more than a birth certificate separates her from a new generation of wedding vendor-advertiser legion she’s able to connect with.
”The wedding business has been static for 20 years but it moved along and people married and were by and large happy with their suppliers and the products that were available to them for their wedding day.
When wedding TV shows begun, the middle class bride saw a world that she had never been privy to and flipped at the opportunity to be like “them” until she realized that weddings of that nature cost much more money than she could ever fathom. These shows became a feeding-frenzy for every woman with a bridal dream since childhood.
When the economy tanked and borrowing was halted and people lost their jobs, they also lost the opportunity of hosting a lavish, celeb-style affair. No more 2nd mortgages to pay off for years to come. The velocity of money just stopped!
The complaints began when the unemployed decided to turn their hobbies into wedding services while quickly diluting the marketplace. Comparing apples to apples has become almost impossible because all they want to do is earn a dollar. Established good wedding professionals have been snookered by amateurs who are professing to be knowledgeable to that bride who knows nothing about this industry.
Weddings have always been a milestone. one which parents saved for until their daughter was of marrying age. Today, they aren’t contributing the total amount because their daughter is 30 years old and an adult.
People have lived beyond their means for 2 decades and it’s now coming back to bite them in the tush. This generation’s values have changed and they want it all but don’t have the means to pay for it.
Turning things around will take an attitude change in the brides and a cleansing of the wanna-be providers. It’s not major but it is certainly an adjustment. Most of my clients are happy with their business today but some may falter because of bad decisions, bad management and bad business practices. There is a regular culling of the herd, but it is more evident today,” according to Davies.
“Now I think I’m going down to the well tonight and I’m going to drink till I get my fill. And I hope when I get old I don’t sit around thinking about it but I probably will. Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture a little of the glory of; well time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days.”
Celebrity planner, Samantha Goldberg, told eWedNewz, “The wedding business is, without a doubt, in a state of change. I don’t mean this in the negative sense . Those who have worn many shoes and have never needed new soles received a nice slap in the face. Those who have worked along with the various changes in the event industry/economy are the ones that will ALWAYS survive. Change sucks when you are doing well and have to change your entire program to meet the needs of a new customer. It’s all relative; the customer that used to pay for your yacht still does. The difference now is you must now work harder for it.”
Samantha Goldberg’s career spans two decades but that doesn’t make her old. In fact, Samantha will never grow old. The earth and universe will decay and crumble around her before that ever happens. The same holds true for others in the Wedding Water Cooler including, Jim Duhe, Bill Heaton, Andy Ebon, Jacqueline Johnson and Christine Boulton.
Experience intersects with upcoming talent that understand change must be embraced, not shunned. eWedNewz watches the interaction between the new and established and we’re happy to report the process works.
“This industry needs some serious education for new professionals a reality check for those in the business that feel they magically ‘made it’ in ’5 easy steps’. It takes a lot of continuing education, networking and really understanding business evolution and the wedding industry to stay in business much less continuously have a ’6 figure salary’,” according to Dee Dee Newell.
The weeks and months ahead look promising, now that a forum of experts span the political gamut. Experts not restricted by the political corrective stigma found in every corner of the wedding business– and the planet.
Since May, discussions are no longer exclusively driven by crummy data studies cutting off the creative blood flow. Divides that separated a new generation of consumers from having what they want– and what they’re willing to pay for– may finally be bridged, now that common-sense and mutual respect discussions allow experts to agree and disagree freely. Governed by only one rule; NO RULES, is working and working well.
Thoughts? Post them here or contact Paul@ewednewz.com or 516-312-0090
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