The reverberations of social media are felt in almost every sector of the American economy, but few have experienced more of a boom than the wedding industry. Studying this relationship a little deeper shows some interesting relationships and connections – takeaways that help us understand the significant role social media plays in business and larger society.
The Pinterest and Instagram Effect
For the last seven years, the average cost of a wedding in the United States has steadily increased. According to The Knot’s 2017 Real Weddings Survey, the national average is now $33,391 – though the cost varies dramatically based on where you live. (Couples in New York City spend an average of $76,944, while couples in New Mexico spend just $17,584.)
What’s most interesting is that the rise in cost of weddings almost directly parallels the emergence of social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram – and this isn’t coincidental. These social networks – among others – have produced an effect. They’ve made weddings seem even more significant, aspirational, and important than ever before.
Many couples getting married today have been exposed to the onslaught of wedding exposure on social media for more than a decade. Not only has this built up a feeling of pressure to produce a noteworthy wedding, but it’s also given them time to dream big.
“Social media has definitely influenced weddings in a way that couples are seeking larger-than-life ideas,” says Kristen Maxwell Cooper, executive editor of The Knot. “I think they are having greater expectations for how their day should look and feel.”
The problem is that many of the pictures couples see on Pinterest and Instagram aren’t indicative of the average wedding. People see a five-course dinner from George Clooney’s reception and want to mimic it. Or they see floral arrangements from Kim Kardashian’s wedding, for example, and think that it’s the norm. (Hint: It’s not.)
In other words, social media has glorified weddings – something that has had a direct impact on the overall cost and extravagance of these special events. And as more and more “social media babies” come of age, this trend will only be amplified.
Wedding Vendors: Direct to Bride
According to Cooper, 89 percent of couples now use smartphones to plan their weddings, meaning social media has overtaken the role of wedding planner.
The ability for wedding vendors to directly engage brides and grooms is another example of a major impact social media has had on the wedding industry. Wedding planners certainly still play a role, but there’s less of a need for them (at least in terms of leveraging connections). Couples can find vendors online and book them directly.
Wedding bands like San Antonio favorite The Grooves are a perfect example of this. They can use social media and digital marketing to push out promo videos, share them online, and reach couples who want to find live entertainment without having to sit through actual concerts and performances.
Wedding venues are another example. Couples can do all of their research online – and many even book venues without visiting them in person.
“Not only is it easier to find venues, but with other couples leaving reviews, couples can read about others’ experiences and determine whether or not that venue will be the right choice for them,” digital marketing expert David Wither writes. “Perhaps they think they’ve found the perfect one, but upon reading reviews, they find out that the guest limit is smaller than their invitation list, so they’ll know they need to continue their search.”
Whether it’s wedding bands, venues, florists, caterers, or anything in between, social media bridges the gap between couples and vendors. The result is greater accessibility and transparency.
Understanding Social Media’s Impact
It’s nearly impossible to separate the wedding industry from social media. The former has become so influenced by the latter that it’s difficult to see a future without this relationship. Some of the influence is good and some is arguably bad, but there’s no denying that a mark has been made.