The recession is triggering a downturn in spending across almost all sectors, including wedding plans. But couples are still planning to spend, but their strategies are different these days. A recent article reports a shift to online retailers, more affordable vendors, and less wedding-package buying. The "2008 Registry Study" from The Knot shows that brides are more concerned with cost than in recent years. Weddings are scrutinized as a sum of their parts, with more negotiating and attention to detail than with the previous "wedding planner" trend.
This cost emphasis by study respondents has encouraged an attention shift to the Internet and friends and family. The internet had the highest level of "very influential" responses at forty percent, and friends or family came just behind at 38 percent.
As with the change in registry influences, so are "Top Places to Register" at Brides.com. From June through September, affordable vendors Macy's, Bed Bath & Beyond and Target all experienced an increase in registry users from seven, eight and nine percent up to eight, nine and ten percent, respectively. The purportedly more expensive Crate & Barrel site stayed level at fourteen percent.
Increased online registry activity has also led to increased online retail for these items. With such wedding ecosystems popping up on the Web, other planning tools are becoming available, such as flowers, dresses and food resources and more interactive features between users. One of these comes from The Knot's Web site, called "Real Couples, Real Registries," where specified couples publicize their registry list as a guide.
Real Couples and standard topic forums are a small part of these wedding sites, but they show how much added value user-created content could bring to sites like Theknot.com, Brides.com.