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.

 

 

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2013

The Week of April 29th in Review

By Paul Pannone

The top story for the last week of April involved a new charity partner for FLOW Formal Wear called Heroes in Transition. “HIT” joins the growing number of military causes benefiting from the sale of new, selected merchandise supported by the tuxedo rental business.

A trending story about wedding planners made its way up the chart last week, as concerns about hiring unscrupulous wedding professionals grows among unsuspecting couples planning the most important day of their lives. Couples looking for new trends and ideas are associating with planners who will help make their day memorable and unique, avoiding planners who want to make the day about themselves instead of the client they’re supposed to be representing.

For the first quarter of 2013 brides were on the internet doing their homework finding out how much wedding goods and services are before talking to any providers.

 

 

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2013

The Biggest Wedding Trend in 2013 is to Buck the Trend

By Paul Pannone

 

Expression and individualism are reported to be the growing trend in wedding planning over the past several years reaching new heights in 2013. The changes that began decades ago brings us to the new normal of wedding planning and marriage in general. For the past few years this newZ source has fought to find credible sources who consistently stay on track with the changes but who can also be real about those changes and not sprinkle fairy dust to tell the world what they think it wants to hear.

 Couples who decide to marry  no longer want the drudgery of planning and adhering to traditional protocol.

 

Among the leaders is Sheryl Davies, a long-time wedding industry veteran who has seen the changes but also knows why they came about. In her latest post  she tells of what’s coming and where we are.

Every bride envisions her wedding day as being the stuff that dreams are made of.  And this season is no different, as we find weddings steeped in beautiful details, wrapped in fabulous fabrics, sparkling gem accents and featuring stunning bouquets and centerpieces. There will be delectable and creative cakes and unique locations to round out the day.

Today, it is more important to couples than ever, to be true to who they are; rather than follow the traditions of the past. No longer do you have to be pushed into a scenario that isn’t totally you!

The biggest trend in 2013 is to buck the trend; each couple can do what makes them happy and what reflects their personalities.  Most nuptials today are a reflection of the bride and groom, their lifestyle and what makes them comfortable.

It is evident in such practices as “First Look”, when the couple and their wedding party meet for a photo session, prior to the ceremony.

Alternate bridal registries and dessert bars, pizzazz lighting and cart service add to this list. Today’s gorgeous bridal fashion, over – the- top decorated  theme receptions, delicious food, stunning photography and musical and lighting wows are all part and parcel of what makes wedding receptions the event of a lifetime for marrying couples and their guests.

Bridal fashions have come a long way and are bedazzling with gowns in many colour palettes from red to black, blush pink, vibrant blue to mint green. This year, sleeves are in, lace, chiffon, satin and silk are favourite fabrics.  A huge trend in gowns has them encrusted with beautiful trim that catches the light with a high shine and a lot of bling.

For the first time, the details in the back neckline of the gown are stunning. The biggest trend this year is the bridal gown. As predicted last season, Bridesmaid gowns continue to be different colours, and styles, which make them flattering to wear again, after the wedding is over. The new Pantone colours for 2013 highlight the dusk and inky blues, poppy red, shades of greens in jade, emerald and lime tones and a carry forward from last season, palettes in the orange and purple family with Nectarine and African violet.  Neutrals like white and cream continue to be strong with gray as a contender, too.

Headwear continues to look big for next season’s brides; lace caps, birdcage fascinators, veils (short and long), and flowers in the hair. Hats and gloves are also on the horizon and set to make a big comeback.

One of the most important accessories to come on the scene in the past few years has been the bridal shoe.  They are adorned with jewels, bows, lace as they peek out from under her bridal gown. Bridal bouquets are real or silk and full of jeweled accents and, they can be rhinestone bling or ribbon handled as they create a classic and timeless feeling. Backdrops are becoming huge and will continue to grow in popularity.

Backgrounds behind the head table can be comprised of ribbon in multi-colors, yards of lace or garlands of flowers to add a sense of style and glamour to the reception. Always a compromise, wedding planning for this upcoming season offers so much choice that it will be easier to find exactly what the bride is looking for. Nostalgia continues with vintage, rustic and retro themes that are beautiful and full of elegance.

After hours and hours of planning, a couple needs to remember to enjoy their day with their eyes fixed on their future life. Their individual wedding style will be the foundation of the life they build together.

Davies also agrees  rental tuxedos are on the rebound and sees an increase in activity due to upgrading of products via fit, fabric choices and recognized branded products over no-name, unknown items.

50% of an ongoing poll so-far says wedding plans are guided by tradition. What do you think?

 

 

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2013

David’s Bridal Banks on Digital as Print Continues to Suffer

By Paul Pannone

In an ongoing story a Press release by David’s Bridal gives strong indication they’re shifting more focus and resources to online, digital formats; going where today’s brides are. The move is consistent with eWedNewz reporting citing the outgoing CEO’s lack of prowess in the digital age and greater desire to make the necessary changes to keep David’s Bridal in their leadership role.

 

A Press Release from David’s Bridal includes findings from their 7th annual What’s On Brides’ Minds Survey. David’s Bridal found that the 2013 bride will plan, chronicle and culminate all of her wedding details with the help of social media, ranging from Pinterest to Facebook to Skype, banging the steady beat of declining use of print for wedding planning even louder.

According to David’s Press release;

“The big news is that everything has gone digital, and the new tools of the trade are a smart phone or a computer instead of a wedding binder.”

eWedNewz reported David’s Bridal was on the auction block last June, under mounting pressure as a giant leader in a declining market. After shedding losing parts of their business while adding designer brand Vera Wang, sources near the story tell eWedNewz the shift to digital is a natural progression and plan execution to stay in the leadership role in a changing market.

Current poll results show 62% of replies feels Leonard Green was smart in dumping their majority stake in David’s Bridal, 12% say they weren’t. Undecided, 23% say it remains to be seen. With the current Press release we will be watching the poll results very carefully.

 

 

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2013

BRIDES Newsstand Sales Continue to Slide

By Paul Pannone

BRIDES magazine newsstand sales continue to decline, according to Alliance for Audited Media. Sources familiar with the story claim the only true read to the health of any magazine is their newsstand sales figures.

 

 Newsstand sales figures are what’s most important to sources watching the story.

 

In an unprecedented move the competition, Bridal Guide Magazine,  called out Conde’ Nast property, BRIDES, last month citing what they called flawed information and questionable demographic facts about the magazine’s reach. Further allegations are still being investigated, including how  subscriptions rise at exactly the same rate as newsstand sales drop  at BRIDES.

39% of ongoing poll results so-far say BRIDES has fallen too far to survive.  27% feels BRIDES is sinking quickly, like all printed products. 21% says BRIDES is adjusting to the market and will survive. 10% says BRIDES is as healthy and relevant than ever.

What do you say?

 

 

 

 

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2013

The Week of January 14th in Review

 

By Paul Pannone

The Battle of the Bridal Books, namely Bridal Guide versus BRIDES, made top newZ last week, leading to some strong accusations and finger-pointing on both sides. Bridal Guide accuses BRIDES of fuzzy numbers we’ve been watching since the summer along with other sources in the wedding business.

Among the sources there is none more adamant than Jim Duhe of Bridal Guide. Duhe denounced his competitors for various reasons forcing BRIDES to respond. Duhe’s verbal assault spilled over to Facebook while BRIDES took to privately contacting advertisers accusing Bridal Guide of misleading information.

The fact that BRIDES responded at all is amazing to those who worked at the Conde’ Nast publication, citing how any Conde’ Nast property feels they’re above the market and normally shrugs off any negative publicity.

 

eWedNewz continues our investigation into this story and emerging information.

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2013

New Editor of Get Married Departs from the Usual Assholes of Taylor and old Format

 

By Paul Pannone

In a fresh start and what could really be a new approach for the re-launched Get Married website continued this week, as Heather Dempsey replied to an email thanking her for being open about the new endeavor.

 

The girl next door look of Heather Dempsey replaces the false smiles, underhanded treachery and maliciousness of her predecessors. The assholes at the Taylor Group get the credit for finding and implementing Heather and her style.

 

Invited to make a statement to eWedNewz readers, Heather had the following to say:

“….thank you for the inquiry. We are very excited about how well the new site has been received since it’s relaunch only a couple weeks ago.

We are in a world with inspiration at our fingertips with the internet, Pinterest, tumblr, stylecaster, etc…and GetMarried wants to help brides, planners and wedding geeks find the “good stuff. I have a passion for finding and sharing so that all things are accessible…especially when planning the most celebrated day of your life. The site inspires you to go and do the things you want for your big day – or any other occasion. GetMarried is a place where inspiration meets celebration and becomes you!

I want it to be a favorite place for readers to stop by and see what’s trending, fresh and from a different point of view for weddings and lifestyle. I am also looking to receive submissions for real wedding, engagements, products and inspiration – and so far, the interest has been better anticipated out of the gates,” according to Dempsey.

 

But wedding planners and disgruntled advertisers say they’re not soon taken in by a pretty face and charm so-far exuded by the revamp. Some following the story notice third-rate advertisers on the website and no big names on board so-far.

 

What do you say? Are you buying the “new” Get Married launch?

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2012

The Knot Goes Global trying to get Asian Women to spend like Americans

By Paul Pannone

East meets West on the Knot’s new international website where the marriage maker is trying to get the wedding bug to bite asian women planning wedding. And why not? The American wedding market is at a near standstill.

 

 The Knot’s move to China and capitalizing on the growing market is one of the smartest moves we’ve seen in the wedding business. Total dependency on the American market is what’s killing most wedding companies, as the number of formal weddings and spending decline. 

 

According to International Business Wiki 

  • There are roughly 10 million weddings yearly.
  • China’s bridal industry produces more than 250 billion Yuan ($34.5 billion) yearly.
  • Total monetary expending resulting from marriage every year has risen to CNY250 billion

At a glance the rising interest and spending in China is a far cry from the sputtering American market. Companies like the Knot, now dubbed the XO Group, have taken flight to other parts of the world looking for growth potential from countries that look to the western culture and lavish ways of spending their money.

In a recent New York Times story China chastises the United States overspending and going into debt saying it must cure its addiction.

China, the largest foreign holder of United States debt, said Saturday that Washington needed to “cure its addiction to debts” and “live within its means,” just hours after the rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded America’s long-term debt.

eWNz is confirming how the Chinese culture and booming economy views America as yesterday’s news. Significant apparel manufacturing sources say emerging chinese cities and the way people live makes us look like we’re standing still.

“They’re driving up prices on raw materials and they’re taking care of the manufacturing needs of their own people before they’re considering our orders over here. It’s getting more and more difficult to get production time in their factories and that will lead to higher prices,” say sources.

Current statements by eWNz sources resonate reports from trips taken earlier this year by others. Steve Lang of Mon Cheri gave his account of what will happen with China, openly telling his customer’s lead times will increase, service and quality will decrease and prices will rise.

 

 

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2011

Wedding Plans are Still Inspirational

 

By Paul Pannone

Since 2010, one of the biggest stories facing the wedding industry involves  wedding web sites and the over-saturated supply of wedding related goods and redundant information available to brides. Replies to a recent eWedNewz story that asked where we stand on technology spawned discussion in both the Wedding Water Cooler and from readers that agrees things have changed.

Wedding Water Cooler member and local Philadelphia Planner, Wendy Hartigan, told eWedNewz, ” My experience with brides is this- they “shop” on line, get ideas on line and buy things on line like hair adornments and favors. But, the vast majority want to SEE the product, touch the fabric, see the centerpiece before they buy it and meet the vendors face to face. So, while they may use their Iphone to get started or play during a boring meeting, they are still hands on when it comes to the details. As for email blasts and wedding web sites- BAH! No good has ever come my way from either of these sources.

eWNz readers say they’re watching the changes taking place at many wedding websites that are adjusting to the market. The most obvious and most often mentioned is the Knot, now part of the XO Group. But most feel the moves made by wedding websites are for business reasons and do nothing for the consumer. It is further said the role of wedding web sites are to alert brides about current trends, provide information and give them styling ideas. Some industry sources say we may have hit a wall and could have a difficult time improving what already exists.

Helen Driscoll has a background in DIY and Eco wedding stationery, letterpress printing and calls herself a pioneer in eco papers, letterpress and DIY since starting her company in 1995. Commodity products like invitations that can easily be ordered and shipped via the internet are most-thought to be a challenged segment of the market. Yet, Driscoll commented:

 ”(I) Still think that the dreaming phase of wedding planning happens via print mags, blogs and websites and some brick and mortar. Imagination needs to expand, and just don’t think small mobile devices work with the human imagination. Wedding blogs do such a good job at the dreaming state (called inspiration!!!) — but really not sure how much of that happens even on an iPhone. iPad is quite good, large enough screen to dream, and great interactivity,” according to Driscoll.

With all the latest technology and advancements made in the past decade, many wedding sources say they’re finding a return to good-old, basic common-sense and even some legwork that is contrary to what owners of wedding web sites proposed. Many wedding web sites struggle to keep advertisers that say they can no longer justify the cost of participation. Many are creating their own local marketing and even hiring in-house personal to interact with brides instead of paying for listings and advertisement on national web sites, phone apps, etc.

“Mediums and formats evolve all the time but the real planning of the wedding stays the same,” according to Sheryl Davies. 

 

Wedding Water Cooler member, Sheryl Davies, told eWedNewz, “The mediums and formats evolve all the time but the real planning of the wedding stays the same. It’s always been an emotional process and the bride still wants to take her time, see what’s available and may not always be wowed by the latest trends– but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to know about them,” she told eWNz.

 

 

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2011

The Week of June 6th in Review

 

By Paul Pannone

In our top story for the week of June 6th, wedding experts remain optimistic, as clouds hovering over the economy threaten to put a damper on weddings and wedding related businesses. For years “wedding professionals” with an ax to grind; either selling advertising space, products, or just plain fairy dust data/marketing, claimed the wedding business is recession-proof. Those sources have now fallen silent.

In happier news, Mon Cheri, dubbed a marketing powerhouse by eWedNewz, garnered attention from readers, stepping up marketing plans for the 2012 season. A visit to Mon Cheri headquarters this week gave a rare insight to the number two wedding dress manufacturer behind David’s Bridal. An in-depth interview with the owner, Steve Lang, said Mon Cheri plans to expand exposure of the company properties using Star power, Social networking and new methods of reaching consumers.

 

Mon Cheri expanded marketing plans include male models wearing formal wear. Images from a photo shoot done this week are already hitting the Internet, with traditional advertising to follow. 

 

Growing reports say the groom is getting more involved in wedding planning, taking his role seriously. Bridal publication, show and expert  sources agree the groom is no longer just showing up on the biggest day of his life.

  

The Vera Wang bout with New York’s Carpenter’s Union is the most searched eWedNewz story

 

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2011