Bosco’s Wedding Expo latest casualty of changing wedding industry

By Paul Pannone

The wedding business isn’t changing– it’s changed, never to return to the way it was. “Normal” marketing, advertising and product sales are falling prey to budget cuts and lack of any emotional consideration. Owners of suppliers turn a deaf ear to independent accounts, favoring big budget buyers who can place huge advance orders and pay invoices in a timely manner.

eWedNewz is watching several instances where competitors are aligning to take orders and hand off fulfillment to third-party sources, wanting only to collect money and divest themselves of any liability. While the plan sounds good (on paper) and is also being hailed by some least likely “supporters of the wedding business” claiming how well certain programs are working in Europe, it is doubtful the same approach will work here in the United States.

Ken Robasco of Bosco’s Wedding Expo gave his clients his take on what’s going on.


My dear friends:

“It is with deep regret that I shutting down Bosco’s Wedding Expo and I will not be producing shows this fall or winter. The last two years have been difficult but this year was by far the worst. The industry has changed and it’s beyond my control. The media has gotten so fragmented. When I started 18 years ago you ran an ad in the newspaper and the brides were there. Then everyone stopped reading the newspaper. So I moved on to direct mail and radio. With social media and The Knot the brides have too much to say and they are changing the game. They tell other brides don’t give anyone your real address or e-mail they will just dump junk mail on you. I would mail out 2-3 thousand postcards only to get half of them back in the mail. With every new car that is sold, comes satellite radio. I spent close to $18,000 last year on Pandora only to flush that money down the toilet. Advertising on Facebook and other social media was a joke. Nobody is listening to traditional radio even the vendors. I found myself spending more and more money with every show only to see the bridal count on a steady decline.

At the end of the day I was making just enough money to pay my bills and not pay myself a salary for 2 years. It kills me to stop doing something that I loved doing for so long. I’ve always said I don’t have vendor’s, I have friends in the wedding industry. You know who your friends are when you have a flood and have 32 inches of sewer water in your office. The vendors stood by me then and I came back bigger and better than ever. I was shocked when 31 of these crazy vendors threw me a surprise birthday party at Frankie and Johnny’s in the Bronx. Yes we were all part of one big family. Everyone knew that I had an open invitation after the shows. We would go to the diner and I would pick up the tab. What show producer does that? I built this company on relationships.

I have many friends who are bridal show producers from around the country. Everyone is facing the same issues. Even the show at the County Center was down by 100 brides this year. Then you have those who think they can do what I did so well. They are happy to take your money only to have a hand full of brides show up. Most are only doing shows to promote their wedding business which is such a conflict of interest. You got to know they are contacting the bride weeks before you even have the opportunity to meet them at the show. I’ve always felt I had a responsibility to the catering halls and the vendors to do the best possible job. I can deal with competition. I can’t compete with the changes in technology, social and traditional media.

I know many of you rely on me to promote your business. It kills me to make this decision, because I know I am letting you down. I want to thank you all for 18 years of support and friendship. I will be taking down the website at the end of the month. If I can help any of you at any time I can be reached at my new e-mail address, . Please stay in touch.”



They’re now engaged; are you ready?

By Paul Pannone

According to The Knot December is the most popular month for couples to get engaged (16%). With the crush of engagements done brides will be herding towards cheesy wedding shows, it’s just a fact of life. In my career I’ve seen good but I’ve seen mostly bad vendors and displays. In the old days, pre-internet and Social media, bridal shows were the only way to efficiently vet vendors and find the one for you. Today a quick post on your Facebook Wall or even a tweet will get you the answers you seek.

Mon Cheri Bridals featured on My Fair WeddingWe’re watching the fizzling use of static websites and whiz-bang apps to plan weddings. Couples today are using common sense, aided by guidance from trusted friends on Social media to plan their wedding day. 

2013 was a transitional year for weddings from both the consumer and vendor perspective. There are no more secrets or dubious checks and results from Better business Bureaus who, in the past, overlooked bad performance and behavior from paying vendors who supported the organization. We’ve even surpassed  wedding websites that are now suspect of similar activity. We won’t bore you with the latest details– we will simply dismiss them as passe’. But you can check out what Dorinda Duclos is saying about Wedding Wire.

“Brides are smarter these days like never before. It’s rare that any of them will really get taken for a ride. Not with good resources available and many more checkpoints that will prohibit them from making a bad vendor choice,” according to Jim Duhe of Bridal Guide Magazine & the wedding Water Cooler Group.

There’s no doubt with a much more informed bride and unquestionable resources, wedding vendors must step up their game or get lost in a sea of also-ran competitors.




All Rights Reserved


Happy Holidays; You’re Fired | Martha Stewart drops 75 Employees before the holidays

By Paul Pannone

The cutbacks continue at Martha Stewart as the media company slashed another 100 workers (about 20% of it staff of 500) just before the holidays. eWedNewz has been watching the movement for several years  and spoke to sources at the company who said in 2012 they would continue their efforts to be profitable and stop the bleeding in two of three of the media company’s divisions. Of  the firm’s publishing, broadcasting, and merchandising divisions merchandising was the only one that’s managed to stay viable over the past decade, dragged down by losses at the other two.

Declines are linked to lower demand of traditional methods of advertising, including print. The greater use of the internet and digital methods used by companies continues to become popular.

Sources at the company we spoke several years ago declined to answer our questions on whether MSO was up for sale. The company remains heavily leveraged on Stewart herself and has remained as part of the integral operation of the company.

In 2004 Stewart was sent to jail for five months and served  two years for lying to investigators about her participation and  sale of ImClone Systems stock in late 2001. But Stewart has managed to survive at the company she founded and leads the turnaround attempts that seem heartless to some but not investors who keep the pressure on in order to show growth and return on their investments.

MSOSale and value of MSO stock has declined and remained low after the Media Diva’s 2004 vacation as a guest of the government. Despite attempts to return to greatness stock price and a tarnished history at MSO remains a constant.

5_Day_MSOIn this week’s trading news of the 20% cutback in staff at MSO sent stock prices a bit higher. Far from the glory days, Stewart and company leader’s work is far from over.

In all media coverage there was no specific mention of Martha Stewart Weddings.  However, like all print publications under extreme and growing scrutiny every one of them must outperform their competitors and grow in a shrinking traditional wedding environment. As if that is not hard enough magazines must outrun the instant and relentless use of digital formats or face extinction.




All Rights Reserved


The Week of September 9th in Review

By Paul Pannone

Survey Results released by The Knot give an advertiser’s slant on wedding numbers looking back but are a valuable gauge to where the business may be going. Further investigation says triskaidekaphobia, or the fear of 13, may have hurt business this year. For this reason an ongoing eWedNewz investigation and discussion with some wedding industry sources feel 2014 will be even better.

eWedNewz reader ears were perked this week, as TeenPROM and other sources find the growing popularity of the color blue next season.

This weekend Experts on Call discuss the coming trends in weddings for next season. eWedNewz will be there to cover the happenings.




All Rights Reserved




NEW YORK (August 22, 2013) – XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO;, a global media and technology leader and creator of the top two wedding websites, and, today announces Couture LA, a new wholesale marketplace for the bridal fashion industry on the West Coast. The new show will be produced to bring leading bridal designers and salon buyers together in an unprecedented setting. In expanding its B2B business and establishing a new standard in the bridal trade show industry, The Knot will connect the industry’s most influential bridal gown designers with retailers at the iconic Siren Studios on famed Sunset Boulevard, in the heart of Hollywood.


“For 18 years and 36 seasons, Couture has helped establish some of the most iconic names in the wedding business at our NYC-based Couture Show, and the time is right to expand to provide the same high-level show to serve our partners’ needs on the West Coast,” said Jennifer Davidson, Global Fashion Director of The Knot. “We’re all about applying a fresh voice and intelligent solutions across each of our platforms. Our partner’s require a quality production that will help foster industry growth and deliver the latest styles into the doors of bridal salons and in turn, directly to brides. In doing so, our brides benefit and are ensured the latest styles from the top names in the business.”


The backdrop will include hip exhibit space in an actual Hollywood Soundstage, complete with “boulevards” named after famed LA landmarks where designers, buyers, stylists, media and industry leaders will get down to business in style. Already signed on for the August 2014 show are industry powerhouses (in alphabetical order): Alfred Angelo, Allure Bridals, Casablanca Bridal, Jasmine Bridals, Jordan Fashions, Maggie Sottero, Mon Cheri Bridals, Moonlight Bridals, Paloma Blanca, Private Label by G, Sincerity Bridals/Justin Alexander, Sottero & Midgley and Watters Bride/Wtoo.


“We are thrilled to have an all-star roster of industry leaders supporting this show at such an early stage. It proves once again that when we work together, we can create smart, successful, cost-effective solutions for the bridal industry,” said Davidson. “We are truly unique in that we are the only entity that touches every facet of this vast wedding eco-system, 365 days a year. We are the most-trusted voice to our brides and the essential media and B2B solution to our partners, the designers and salon operators. We are proud to step in and answer this call from our friends in the industry.”


About The Knot

The Knot is the nation’s leading wedding resource, reaching nearly every bride in America through the number 1 wedding website,; The Knot national and local wedding magazines; The Knot book series; and syndicated columns in newspapers nationwide. The Knot is the flagship brand of XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO;, a global media and technology leader devoted to weddings, pregnancy and everything in between, providing young women with the trusted information, products and advice they need to guide them through the most transformative events of their lives. Follow The Knot on Twitter @theknot.



Stephanie Fraiman

The Knot

(212) 515-3595





All Rights Reserved


Wedding Website Update: Same Old Story, Just like the Wedding Business

By Paul Pannone

It’s the time of year when wedding websites run their Best of part of their program to hype themselves and try to convince wedding vendors how important it will be to renew their advertising for another year. Members of the Wedding Water Cooler are active this week punching holes in some of the most culpable websites saying they’re weary of listening to the same old song and dance. Many of the Coolies say they’re amazed at how many wedding vendors still support some of the tired old sites, despite repackaged pitches and revamped pages.


According to Wedding Water Cooler experts the lies are all the same but they’ve gotten better at lying.


 Wedding website whistle-blower, David Fuhrer updated his 2011 statement denouncing the practices of some websites which, in his view, remain relatively unchanged for the past five-years.

“What is remarkable is the lack of innovation upon websites such as The Knot, My Wedding, Wedding Wire. It is remarkable in the sense that a complete lack of value-incentive-propositions have been derived that increase the value of what they offer vendors. From a vendor foundation perspective all of the aforementioned haven’t evolved an iota, they remain circa 5 years ago. This is the fundamental rationale for why my perspective was, and has remained unchanged, that these sites possess a finite shelf-life. In essence their “roads” do not lead to “forks”, they lead to “brick walls”. The concentration has been wholly upon the user-experience & augmenting that experience. The means by which they have augmented is via pilfering off of each other.

The Knot was not a “review” website, it was an exposure website, they now offer user reviews. Wedding Wire was a review website, yet they now offer personalized websites. My Wedding was a personalized website offering that now has reviews. Instead of innovating, they are all supposedly enhancing, via broadening their offerings to the demographic with what can be found on the other websites. They then, pass along, these value-add’s, to prospective vendors in the form of “yes” we do that & even better & more intuitively than other competing sites,” he told the Water Cooler.

The website discussion stemmed from an ongoing story involving a 20/20 segment that got the wedding business to stand up and announce they’re not a bunch of crooks, opposing the way they were depicted in the segment. In an ongoing eWedNewz investigation about wedding marketers in the business, wedding websites and the fairy dust purported are part of the same story, giving vendors misinformation on how to treat consumers.

Chris Evans was interviewed for the 20/20 segment and mentioned his Boot Camp approach to selling. Evan’s business view of marriage is discussed in the Wedding water Cooler and singled out due to the attention it gathered in the 20/20 segment. Members of the group along with other wedding sources being interviewed for an upcoming eWedNewz story say the hard selling and lack of bedside, emotional approach is what’s giving the wedding business a bad name.

According to the Wedding water Cooler discussions wedding marketing and websites need to undergo a major overhaul to appeal to new wedding consumers who no longer turn to websites and older methods– replaced by Social media and referrals from their friends.


What do you think?


All Rights Reserved


The Wedding Business Rocked by Market Facts and Truth


By Paul Pannone

In the closing days of 2012 the wedding business is buzzing because of newZ involving major companies who are bailing out of the business, bringing investors in to shoulder the financial burden and responsibility of trying to run a profitable business in the shrinking wedding market.

Yesterday’s story, The Wedding Business in Worse Shape than First Thoughtdrew reaction in all social media formats and plenty of private response from industry veterans who would like to dispute the newZ– but can’t.


 “I’ll also bet that few if any of the existing US manufacturers close this year or next, the number will represent an insignificant percentage of the total. Is there anyone out there who will take the bet?” says Jim Duhe.


Jim Duhe gave his usual response in his own style saying;

 “Your story isn’t a cheerful launch pad for the start of the new year. Certain aspects may or may not be accurate but I’m not alone in refusing to accept that the sky isn’t falling — at least not quite yet.  The average age of couples who wed has increased each decade since the turn of the 20th century.  When I joined the bridal industry in the 1970’s, we advised advertisers that “brides are older, better educated, and more affluent than ever before in history.”  It was a documented fact in the 1970’s.  It was equally true in the 1980’s.  It was true in the 1990’s.  It was true in the first decade of the 21st century.  It’s still true today.

However, age, education, and affluence don’t necessarily mean that a death knell is replacing wedding bells or that traditional weddings no longer represent a preferable life style choice for a meaningful number of Americans. Research conducted by Bridal Guide and all other publications as well as by prominent on line bridal sites like The Knot indicates that the number of destination weddings that take place in foreign countries is substantial.

Because foreign countries are not required to report the number of US citizens who marry to the Departments of Health, Education, and Welfare, it’s difficult/virtually impossible to determine the exact number of Americans who marry annually.   Therefore, it’s difficult/virtually impossible to verify that the total number of American weddings has declined substantially in recent years.  Regardless, many people who select to have a destination wedding continue to purchase bridal apparel in this country. They still create wedding gift registries in this country.

Long range business success requires much more than keeping up with trends. It’s essential to run one step (or more) ahead of them.  Conceptually, the challenges to bridal retailers created by online bridal apparel sales in 2013 aren’t  dramatically different from those offered by direct mail purchases (JC Penney, Sears, in the 1980’s.  However, direct mail bridal apparel had an Achilles heel that online retailers don’t have: return policies.  The vast majority of online sales are generated by companies that are headquartered in foreign countries.  These companies can’t be forced to comply with US laws regarding merchandise returns.

Because the majority of China/direct sites offer positive consumer reviews (that may or may not be complete fabrications) consumers are lulled into a sense of security in their buying decision.  Unfortunately, prominent “money back guarantees” offered by China/direct companies generally are unenforceable.  There’s little if anything that a consumer can do to secure a refund for merchandise that is unacceptable or substandard.   Unlike complaints posted on Google, Wedding Wire, and others sites, there is no place for a consumer to publicize a complaint about a China/direct web site purchase.  It’s a perfect storm for China/direct sites:  on site comments are consistently positive; there’s no way for anyone to complain publicly.

Frankly, I don’t have answers to many of the questions that plague independent bridal retailers or tuxedo rental specialists.  However, that doesn’t mean that answers don’t exist.  It may well be that the number of existing independent bridal apparel stores will suffer from attrition. That’s a distinct possibility.  However,  I’ll bet you that new bridal retailers will launch in 2013, 2014, 2015, and beyond.

Seasoned bridal industry experts predicted that there were far too many bridal manufacturers — that there would be a “fall out” in the 1970’s — in the 1980’s — in the 1990’s — in 2000.  These predictions continue today. I’ll bet that there will be more bridal brand names in 2013 than there were in 2012.  There probably will be even more in 2014.   I’ll also bet that few if any of the existing US manufacturers close this year or next, the number will represent an insignificant percentage of the total. Is there anyone out there who will take the bet?”, said Duhe.

Duhe’s statement started strong but seemed to fall asleep by its end. So did that of Christine Boulton, who called to discuss the story. Boulton proposed there are clients who are doing well in the wedding business. We never suggested there weren’t. But Boulton could not argue there are fewer wedding industry professionals doing well than there are doing terrible. In fact none of the discussions could challenge any of the central points of the story. Simply put, the increasing challenges against a shrinking (traditional) market will not lead to a happy ending.

The story dates back to 2009 when companies like David’s Bridal sought positive data, wanting to know when the wedding industry would recover. No such information existed but through hocus-pocus hypotheses (guessing) there would be a spring-back in the wedding business. To date it doesn’t seem likely.

An ongoing eWedNewz investigation concludes the data failed to include variables, including the languishing economy that will continue to plague a full recovery in spending for traditional wedding goods and services. The results, exacerbated by growing competition in all areas of the wedding business, dilutes the ability to command higher prices from consumers. The decline of over four years with no end in sight resulted in decisions by major wedding companies, including owners of David’s Bridal, Leonard Green and Associates, to divest themselves from a majority stake in the wedding business.

The statement is supported by an overnight shift since the story released. An ongoing poll feels the wedding business is deteriorating (29%), stuck in neutral (15%) or is yet to reach the bottom (13%).

What do you say?




All Rights Reserved


The Wedding Business in Worse Shape than First Thought

By Paul Pannone

An ongoing eWedNewz investigation shows the wedding business is in worse shape than anyone is willing to admit. Information and interviews across all channels of the business, including the part reported to be the most important; the dress business, shows severe damage caused by the collapse of the economy in 2008 and a slow recovery through 2011 and most of 2012.

Like brides, dresses come in all colors, not just white. Tuxedos have been replaced by black suits, navy and tan colors and everything you can imagine.

eWedNewz watches trends that includes the longer wait of men and women deciding to get married. The average age for first-time marriages continues to rise.

“The median age for a man’s first marriage was 28.2 years in 2010, up from 26.1 in 1990. The median age for a woman’s first marriage was 26.1 years in 2010, up from 23.9 in 1990,” according to  sourcing  U.S. Bureau of the Census information.

According to Census information the combined average age of men and women since 1960 has increased nearly 21% and has continues to rise world-wide. World trends show an even greater increase to resisting marriage. In the UK the average age for men and women hit 30 years this year citing Pew research while exploring probable causes.

Shedding tradition and traditional values continues to affect the number of marriages but also the formality of those weddings that do take place. Stylish, non-traditional weddings express the thoughts of couples who no longer want to be told what to wear, how to feel or plan their day.

Trends and shifts from normal wedding business finds those who plan to stay in the business are forced to change their operations to adapt to the shrinking numbers. Khalilah Olokunola of A Boxed Event and member of the Wedding Water Cooler shared her thoughts in the controversial forum:

“Many vendors I know have tripled up-not fine tuning their business to meet the demands of the changed times but instead (add) a whole new business . IT seems acceptable in some circles to be the baker, designer, director,planner and videographer- and no I’m not making that up there is a business that offers that.

Gone seems the days where you have to have skill and experience before you could add a title to your name. If you truly want to be successful you have to work hard, hustle hard and accept constructive criticism from more seasoned veterans. Geez I do all the time , I’m a coolie.

With brides and other “socialistas” decreasing their average budgets we all find ourselves redeveloping our business plans and offerings but still maintaining our integrity by offering the better bang for your buck,” says Khalilah.

Khalilah and others say the wedding business is flooded with services and products, challenging the pricing ability for vendors who seem to increase faster in numbers than the market shrinks. Plainly put there is no more need or room for another DJ, gown manufacturer, limousine company or any of the products to create traditional weddings. There are even too many catering facilities who’ve been forced to service a broader spectrum of events to keep rooms, kitchens and workers busy.

While investigating the story about the wedding dress business we’ve uncovered a growing number of outside sources infiltrating the business forcing manufacturers to take action. Recent advancements in the fight against pirates who’ve crippled the wedding dress business received no credit from skeptics who say the damage is too deep, too wide-spread and can never return to normal levels.

Across all channels eWedNewz watches and reports the changes taking place at places like David’s Bridal down to the smallest bridal stores who say they’re ready to throw in the towel. Decisions to sell majority equity stakes to investors like the one involving Jim’s Formal Wear become more and more common-place. Store closures servicing the wedding business are expected to increase, as manufacturers and suppliers tell eWedNewz they can no longer manage growing debt because accounts can’t meet their obligations.

Newsstand sale of bridal magazines continues to plummet giving some ammunition to pundits who say digital is killing print. But a closer look by eWedNewz shows grandfather wedding websites like are also taking a pounding. eWedNewz exposé  stories about scandal, sexual debauchery and reported mismanagement of resources culminated in the death of morph digital/print companies like Get Married. So-far the rebirth of the company failed to come close in recapturing the glory the original launch created before the crash in 2008, now that the wedding business is older and wiser about the fairy-dust that surrounds them.

Planners of all sizes, including celebrity, say they’re looking to exit the business or expand into a broader range of services, no longer able to cut costs or charge enough fees to make it worth their while. Even “Wedding Market Gurus”, A.K.A, snake oil salespeople, are finding it difficult, if not impossible to charge speaking fees they did just a few short years ago. Most avoid our questions and keep pounding their drum of bullshit, acting as though everything is fine, while others see the changes and become alarmist, claiming to have the answer in some seminar or class.

Even hopefuls who thought the addition of Same-sex marriages to the wedding market, backed by the leader of the free world, say the events has so-far been just a small blip on the screen.

Olokunola again gave her view on how some of the troubles could be fixed:

“When the people who govern wedding magazine, trade shows and associations get real maybe– just maybe– it’ll get better. It’ll make it harder for scammers to scam and players to play and when we stick together as a whole. I believe a shift will take place towards an up direction and its there that the industry can begin again,” she said in the WWC forum.

Christine Boulton of Think Like A Bride told the Cooler how some companies are successful in the very tough business climate.

“There has been some serious restructuring in our business over the last four years. Business owners have changed their thinking; they are going after new markets and they have stepped away from an attitude of arrogance. In short, they stopped thinking of themselves as “artist” and begun to see themselves as businesses.”

Endless discussions clearly show the end of the wedding business as it once was. Is it time to stop discussing and look at what the information clearly tells us?


In an ongoing poll 32% of respondents so-far say the wedding business is rebounding but slowly.

What do you say?



All Rights Reserved


The Week of September 24th in Review



By Paul Pannone


New information involving Wedding Wire made top newZ this week as the company continues to struggle to grow in a shrinking wedding market and constant complaints about how they rate vendors. Critics of Wedding Wire including Samantha Goldberg continue to bang the drum against the website listing company that is coming under attack by a rising number of (paying) vendors who find it difficult to communicate with the company.

Despite the criticism Wedding Wire received more funding from Spectrum Equity investors in the amount of $25 million dollars for a limited stake in the company.

Wedding website weasels continue to scatter as the war waged by the American Bridal and Prom Industry Association gains speed and support by wedding industry members. A meeting with Steve Lang, founder of the association, in Chicago says he’s pleased with the results so far but admits there is a long road ahead.

70% of an ongoing eWedNewz poll so far feels Lang’s efforts pose a fair to excellent chance of winning the war, while 30% feel the chances are poor to impossible. In a separate poll 95% of eWedNewz respondents say they support a general wedding industry organization that is well run, offers benefits and is not expensive to join.

FLOW formal’s Yellow Bow Tie campaign added new products to their efforts, including top seller, SWAGGER. Major wholesalers are picking up on the campaign and are asking their key accounts to do the same.

Consumer brides shopping for their 2013 weddings are researching the cost of wedding gowns, driving up an eWedNewz  story about the Knot we ran last June.




All Rights Reserved


Businesses Staying Away from Advertising on Websites Besides Their Own

By Paul Pannone

An ongoing story investigation about the re-launch and revamp of wedding websites uncovers additional information and how businesses are investing money in their own websites and Social Media campaigns. Part of the reason given includes better control and watch over web traffic and not having to deal with complicated sales agreement with advertising websites.


An ongoing poll so-far shows little or no interest in the Get Married relaunch and advertising on third-part wedding websites.


In May The Knot admitted how growing competition hampers growth. The monthly addition to the online resources available to consumers– namely wedding couples– is having a negative impact due to information overload.

“Who do you believe? With all the information out there, how does a consumer navigate and once they find a resource how can they be sure the information they’re reading is accurate?” asks Jim Duhe of Bridal Guide Magazine.

A current poll shows over 35% of respondents say they’re no longer supporting advertising websites. The rest of the poll shows a negative response towards the Get Married relaunch and all other wedding websites.

In January eWedNewz reported an uptick in wedding business activity. Business owners we spoke with said they planned to upgrade their advertising and marketing, investing in their own, in-house, advertising and marketing programs. Recent revisit and updates are consistent with the early 2012 reports.



All Rights Reserved