Today's Bride Pros

5 Crucial Rules of Marketing

The Wedding Industry is an approximate $80 Billion Dollar a year industry. Brides will spend more money on that one day than they will any other day of their lives yet 9.5 out of 10 wedding businesses will not see their 5th birthday.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • The average wedding business owner is a good/excellent technician and understands very well what it takes to fulfill his product/service but does not know how to run the business
  • Not enough customers – Their phone simply isn’t ringing and if they could get their phone to ring more, things would fall into place
  • Little or no skill set with regards to selling to the Bride. Let’s face it – many are not trained in how to sell and those who are trained are trained with outdated methods which DO NOT WORK
  • Little or no actions to other than occasional advertisements to get Brides through their doors. They have no written Marketing Strategy which is implemented and working.

Being good at what you do is a good start, but I would rather a wedding business owner have knowledge and strengths in Sales and Marketing. Simply put, you need to turn suspects (people who can buy) into prospects first, then you need to turn those prospects into customers and then turn those customers into raving fans who will drive more business through your doors.

Quick Quiz:

  • What is the average wedding worth to you (“depends” is not an answer – average is what you are looking for)
  • How many weddings did you have last year?
  • How many Weddings a year in your serviceable area?
  • How many Average weddings does it take to keep the lights on (this includes paying yourself a salary)
  • How many weddings are you projected for this year?
  • What is the average wedding in your industry in your town worth?
  • Where do you fall in the “pecking” order of when a Bride buys?

If you cannot answer all of these questions, you need a tune up for your business. If you cannot measure your business, you will not manage it. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you form better target instead of having a “management by mystification” approach.

Weddings happen even in a bad economy- I have met and worked with vendors in every city I speak in and find that even in a bad economy, many are growing their businesses and having record years.

2012- 2012 poses some interesting challenges for wedding businesses. In the past 4 years we have seen a nationwide trend where Brides are booking necessary services much close to the date of their wedding than they ever have before. This trend is changing as indicated by the amount of Brides showing up to Bridal shows who have not yet set their date or booked their venues. Signs are pointing to Brides booking for spring 2012 and even into 2013, in most cases they are booking far out to be able to pay over time or save money. Brides are also tuning down their budgets and tuning into their priorities. Without the necessary sales and marketing skills, your business can really be in for a rough ride. This being said, if you are one of the 16 primary industries that 80% of all Brides book, you may see a dip in what the Bride is spending.

As mentioned, there are many businesses in the wedding industry who are thriving during this Chaotic time. These Wedding Professionals have well oiled marketing machines in place and a systematic approach to sales to Brides.

The wedding businesses who will be most affected will be those who back off of their marketing. This is a simple concept; with 85% of brides being first time brides who have never purchased $1800-3000 worth of photography, $1000-1500 of flowers, $2-3000 on a Dress they will wear once, etc… how will they buy from a business that they do not know about.

Unique Customers

Brides and their weddings are unique as customers. They have never bought the things they need to buy and because of that, they get “sticker shock” with the prices. That is why they play the game “what’s my price” with wedding vendors. You have probably played that game this week-you know, when the Bride calls up and only wants to know your “prices” not any of the services or differences with you and other vendors. She hangs the success of her wedding on the hook of “price” alone.

We as wedding vendors know that price is about the only measurement which has nothing to do with the results. There have been many mediocre wedding vendors who charged a low price only to give a horrible product or service in return.

The typical Bride is experiencing more stress than she ever has for several reasons:

  • She has never spent this kind of money before
  • She is trying to please too many differing personalities
  • The Groom is typically not interested in being involved
  • She has too much to do with working a full time job, meeting obligations at home and getting together at family events (2 families not typically) and planning her wedding which is like a full time job.

Typically the Bride does not know how to buy these products and services for her wedding because there is too much information out there, many times information which conflicts with itself. This is another reason why the Bride will go back into “price” only mode.

By taking a different approach to this Bride with your Marketing, you will be able to better communicate your offering to her and she can then better determine if your business and her needs are a good match.

5 Crucial rules of Marketing

  • Rule #1 of Marketing If they do not know about you – You cannot be an option in their purchase. Simple – They need to know about you before they can go any further.
  • Rule #2 of Marketing You are not their only option so you need to stand out. Just because you offer what they want, does not suppose you are the only one that offers what they want.
  • Rule #3 of Marketing You need to speak to them on their level about what matters to them- This Owner vs. Consumer mentality is one of the Biggest mistakes in Marketing to Brides
  • Rule #4 of Marketing You can only take one step at a time in their process – If you try to go too far, too fast, you will most times lose them.
  • Rule #5 of Marketing To keep your customer, you need to exceed with your customer. Simply meeting their expectations is not enough in this economy, you need to go further and better.


Rick Brewer is no stranger to the wedding industry. Since 1992, He has been a wedding vendor (with over 300 weddings to count), Published 2 wedding magazines, produced bridal shows, and has worked with hundreds and hundreds of wedding businesses across the nation. For the past six years, Rick has spoken to over 250 wedding groups and regularly publishes articles on wedding marketing and selling to brides at his website, Rick is the proud Daddy of Emma, Ally and Rj. They live in Charlotte, NC.

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