bride getting ready for a wedding

After a COVID-19 slump, an unprecedented 2.5 million weddings are set to take place in 2022 — a surge not seen since 1984. Americans are also planning to spend $68.7 billion in 2022, up from $25.7 billion in 2020, on venues, dinner, music, flowers, photography, attire, and of course, all of the decorations and accessories that go along with weddings. 

Couples Want to Work With Small Businesses

As consumers continue to tie the knot, this is a prime opportunity for indie retailers to capitalize on the wedding industry. According to a survey conducted by Intuit QuickBooks of 500 U.S. adults that were married within the last year, 95 percent of couples worked with at least one small business. The company notes that the finding demonstrates a clear appetite from the shoppers to choose to work with small businesses for their big day. 

Couples who were surveyed shared that they had worked with these small businesses for a range of products and services including photographers, makeup artists, event planners, florists, bakers, caterers, hair stylists, DJs, and more. Nearly all (98%) said it was important for them to work with a small business as a vendor. 

Challenges Facing Small Businesses

While this bodes well for entrepreneurs and smaller companies looking to aid consumers on their big day, across all categories, small businesses continue to go head-to-head with large vendors in the wedding space. Data in Intuit QuickBooks’ survey found that the number one reason couples chose to hire a bigger company was due to the small business not offering the same service (41%), or because the small business was not available when they needed them. 

This presents a major challenge for indie retailers, but there are still some ways to get around it. No matter what part you play in the wedding industry, here are some ways to compete against larger vendors:

1. Offer More Payment Options

To take advantage of the opportunities that the wedding industry provides, the Intuit Quickbooks report highlights the need for small businesses to modernize methods of accepting payment as their business grows. While the most popular form of payment is cash, with 56 percent of consumers saying they had paid vendors in cash, credit cards are another big form of payment, as well as cryptocurrency. 

2. Post Your Availability on Your Website

To help prevent customers who come through your doors from getting upset at your unavailability for their big day, you can post a calendar to your website and mark the days that you are and are not available. This way, couples can check your website beforehand and easily decide if they want to move forward with your business. 

3. Put Extra Emphasis on Personalization

Especially if you sell merchandise, a great way to capture the attention of shoppers is through highly customizable and affordable wedding accessories and decorations. The wedding industry offers millions of products to couples, but in order to stand out, your items must be unique and personalized. 

4. Market Directly to the Brides

In most scenarios, the brides are the ones who do most of the wedding planning. By directly marketing to them, you gain access to bridesmaids, grooms, and even mothers and fathers of the bride. Tell the bride everything you can do to make her feel special on her big day, and how you can make her job easier through your services and/or products. 

Continued Opportunities in 2023

Even though there is just one more month left in 2022, 2023 is looking to be another big year for the wedding industry. Vendors report being fully booked and have even had to turn away more business than usual because there is such high demand. Small businesses should gear up for another successful year with the continued wedding boom and, hopefully, inflation’s demise. 

As indie retailers start making preparations for 2023, a new study discovered the best states for the wedding industry. New York ranks number one, while Washington, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Hawaii round out the top five. The best areas tend to be coastal states with stronger economies and higher incomes in general — but not exclusively, with Utah, North Dakota, and Montana all scoring above average. 

Here are the 10 best states for the wedding industry:

  1. New York
  2. Washington
  3. Rhode Island
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Hawaii
  6. Connecticut
  7. California
  8. Colorado 
  9. Vermont
  10. New Jersey

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