The Knot (XOXO Group) Takes Bridal Expos Virtual

By Paul Pannone

The Knot (XOXO Group) announced they were launching the first online wedding expo last week directing attention to brides that may not have time to attend traditional bridal shows.

According to the release, “This innovative concept brings together all the offerings of a traditional wedding expo including the latest trends, tips and deals from suppliers across key categories such as bridal fashion, photography, videography, ceremony & reception venues, beauty, invitations, planning, registry & gifts, and honeymoon.”

So far there is no reason to believe any significant number of brides will make major decisions without physically visiting with banquet facility, her hair stylist, clergy, etc. 

But is the bridal world ready to go virtual?  A year ago message board discussion at Wedding Bee showed little interest in virtual anything, including a bridal shower. Today this is old news according to members of The wedding Water Cooler. One member said, ” This is nothing new. Performance Media does this (all the time) in the US market,” shutting down discussions rather quickly.

Discussions with wedding experts say brides and grooms will use the new format as just another “legwork” tool but doubt whether they’ll book vendors on the strength of a virtual experience. When asked why the Knot decided to launch such a tool WWC members agree: to gain attention of investors and raise the value of stock price. 

But the news concerns regional bridal show producers feeling the effects of the Internet’s impact on exhibitors over the past decade. A look at other wedding industry forums shows a split between critics and supporters of bridal shows.

Nationally, Bill Heaton, CEO of The Great Bridal Expo, told eWedNewz,”It is quite clear to me that the virtual event will evolve, if at all, to supplement the real event. I do not see it as a replacement or a stand alone event.  Additionally, we Bridal Show Producers may see a virtual show as a means to reach those who would not otherwise attend a physical one. With 900,000 Prospective Brides projected to attend LIVE Bridal Shows over the next year, no one has yet perfected technology to allow a person the wonderful experience of tasting that wedding cake, sipping the vintage or smelling the seasonal flowers being considered for the Brides bouquet or arrangements. Virtual Bridal Shows, perhaps, but only as a way that will expand the functionality, the value and appeal of the live face-to-face bridal show.”

eWedNewz watches this story and will report findings as they become available.



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