Following the flurry of engagements from Thanksgiving to New Year's, the fifth annual "What's on Brides' Minds" survey by David's Bridal reveals that there are some new twists changing up the tried-and-true wedding rituals.
For instance, smaller budgets continue to be the norm, but brides-to-be are feeling more financially secure despite the economic climate. Today, more than half of brides (54%) decreased their bottom-line wedding expenditure due to the economy, which is an improvement from the 68% who tightened their budgets last year. In fact, 45% of respondents plan to spend less than $10,000 on their nuptials.
"Today's bride may still be budget-conscious, but that's not stopping her from revamping past traditions to create the one-of-a-kind wedding she's always dreamt about," says Brian Beitler, chief marketing officer. "As the nation's leading retailer dressing one out of every three brides, David's Bridal continues to help her look her absolute best with new and affordable designs that are always high-quality and fashion-forward for that unforgettable day."
Vows go viral
A paperless wedding invitation isn't the only way weddings are saturating the digital world, as couples look to showcase their weddings online.
Nearly half (48%) of brides-to-be update their Facebook with new name or relationship status within a day of taking their vows, while two in five (44%) brides are interested in doing whatever it takes to get their 15 minutes of YouTube fame, such as a choreographed dance down the aisle or a funny first dance.
The new bridal elopement
Over-the-top weddings are becoming a thing of the past, and brides are now opting for more intimate affairs that allow them to save for the ever after.
Case in point, nearly nine in 10 (89%) brides considered having a small wedding with 80% saying their reason for considering the smaller ceremony is to save money. Eight percent of brides-to-be believe a small wedding is 50 guests or less and almost half (44%) define it as a wedding with 30 or fewer guests.
Of those who reduced their budgets, 61% said the wedding planner was the first to go, followed by decor (59%) and venue (57%). Brides identified alcohol as the least likely to be affected by budget cuts.
Likewise, 32% of couples agree that their top economic priority, aside from the wedding, is saving money to go toward a down payment on a house, compared with 24% of couples in 2010.
Some customs of previous generations are losing their luster and brides are looking for updated ways to say "I do."
Nearly four in five (79%) brides reveal they have a wedding tradition they wish they could do away with, whereas two in five (40%) respondents would marry outside a church or synagogue in a non-religious setting, and two-thirds (66%) even considered having a family member or friend deliver their vows.
Additional traditions that didn’t make the cut are wedding speeches (37%), wearing white (25%) and choosing something old, new, borrowed and blue (22%).
While watching wedding reality shows may be a guilty pleasure of brides, 69% said they'd never let their wedding be featured on a controversial reality show to save money, make money and get five minutes of fame.
Green still looks gorgeous
Environmentally-friendly continues to stay fashionable, as brides find ways to make green the new white.
Seventy-eight percent of respondents would take steps to make their weddings more environmentally-conscious, while 37% of brides donate leftover food from the reception and 35% plan to serve locally-sourced dishes and/or decorate with locally-sourced flowers.
The David's Bridal Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research Nov. 15-Nov. 29, 2010. For this research, 501 interviews were fielded via an email invitation and an online survey among women ages 18 and older, who are either engaged to be married or were married within the past two months.
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