Final bit on the wedding industry. For now at least. It must be my job hiatus speaking, repressed desires to say words like infrastructure, strategy and content. Actually High WASPs aren’t supposed to talk this much unless handed the microphone by someone in a tuxedo and told to address the waiting audience, who should also be in tuxedos. Which my mother insists should be called dinner jackets, that the word tuxedo is declasse. But I digress.
I believe that the changes in the wedding industry – both those past and those future – are recognizable and not unique to weddings. (Although probably not too similar to the liquid nitrogen industry, my first job out of business school). I believe that as our communications infrastructure, i.e. Adobe software, digital cameras, the Internet and cable TV, grew robust enough (robust is another word we love to say in corporations) to sustain enormous amounts of content, the “Knot-ization” of weddings flourished. Image inventory generated by the magazine machines ruled. Volume ruled. Broad appeal ruled. Essentially, it was like the days when we had three broadcast TV channels and nothing to watch but Leave it to Beaver. (Yes, I do remember that, since you ask). “Trends”, and “keeping up with with the Jones’s”, prevailed.
The business theory that applies here is that large systems have to standardize to optimize. The hope is that once the infrastructure is built, once the industry absorbs the new techologies, once processes are established, the supply chain can once again fragment, specialize, and customize. The industry disintermediates (means the middlemen get the axe). The little guys now have access to the technology and infrastructure and buying patterns that the big guys built. For brides, that means if you want to do it your way, you should now or soon be able to find talent and resources that can make it possible, without having to go to the equivalent of Walmart.
I see some signs of this. Net a Porter and Bluefly now have wedding sections. Used to be you needed the salon-style purchasing economies of scale (meaning you need to buy a lot to get good prices and make it worth your while) to deal with bridesmaids dresses, for example. No longer. I’ve already mentioned the smaller wedding planners like In the Now, and Weddings Fresh putting themself out there with pictures and commentary that really convey who they are. The florists like Saipua and Artfool and Camilla in Santa Barbara that make beautiful design using flowers visible to all rather than the property of the elite. Clearly the indie wedding sites like A Practical Wedding are about disintermediation in part. Although I don’t recommend you get up every morning and think, “Gee, I’ll have a little disintermediation with my crown of purple anenomes.”
So I look forward to continuing to read wedding blogs. You are, if you ask me, participating in an industry shift. Having been in high tech ever since I quit selling liquid nitrogen and having babies, I know that shifting industries take their direction from visionary customers. Have at it. Have visions. Me, I’m going to make some more inspiration boards for my daughter’s imaginary wedding. Until she finds out about this and kills me.