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Wedding Planning, and Trends in Wedding Events Management

Wedding planning and wedding events management is an important social -cultural affair. Unfortunately, while weddings are immensely important social events, there is very little research on wedding planning, event planning, and emerging wedding trends.

Emerging wedding trends and changes in wedding events management and planning e.g. themed weddings, place additional demands on couples, who are forced to incur huge costs in order to meet societal expectations of perceived perfect weddings. This also applies to wedding planners who have to meet the increasing and insatiable demand for uniqueness in wedding events management.

This wedding events management research paper outlines the findings of a study that was made to determine the emerging wedding trends and their impact on wedding planning. The paper used both qualitative and qualitative research methods where questionnaires and oral interviews were conducted to obtain primary data, while secondary data was collected from existing literature.

The findings, as outlined in Chapter IV, show that wedding trends are driven by social demands- the desire to organize unique events and highlight social status and aspects of globalization that promote cultural exchange. The results also revealed that these trends raise wedding demands and expectations, hence complicating wedding planning.

wedding planning ideas

 

Wedding Events Management and Wedding Planning

Weddings are by far one of the greatest moments in the lives of most individuals Goldblatt (2005). It is widely accepted in most spheres of life that a wedding should be made so special such that it is remembered for a long time (Krishnan, 2008). The media has often popularized this idea, often putting pressure on couples to make their weddings as unique as possible.

Wedding events must be glamorous, extraordinary in order to attract as much attention as possible as well as remain in people’s memories for as long periods as possible. Otnes & Pleck (2003) noted that wedding ceremonies need to have elements of magic, perfection, memorability, and romance.

Usually, wedding events management brings mixed reactions. To some people, weddings are simply a time to enjoy the fun and excitement that they bring. Unfortunately, to others, it translates to fatigue and wastage of time as well as resources.  Despite these mixed feelings, wedding events management remains a challenging undertaking that requires careful planning.

The challenges manifest in wedding planning are getting more complex as more demands that are brought about by rapidly changing and increasing social expectations on wedding planning arise (Winikka & Ma, 2013). This study will examine the emerging wedding trends and their impact on wedding planning.

The Social -Cultural Importance of Weddings and Trends in Wedding Planning

The nature and concept of weddings has evolved over the years, reaching a completely unexpected level. The major, observable, modern day trends in wedding planning include concepts like destination weddings, the use of wedding planners for professional wedding events management, themed weddings, and the advent of online wedding planning (Winikka & Ma, 2013).

Social- economic, cultural, and technological factors have been playing a significant role in influencing wedding planning. Examples of these factors include the availability of huge sums of disposable income, the need for greater social status, technologies that promote cross-cultural interaction and information sharing, etc.

The need to highlight social status, for example, is a major contributor to the current lavish spending on wedding events management (Krishnan, 2008: Otnes & Pleck, 2003; Howard, 2006). The ease of sharing ideas and information too has popularized trends like themed weddings online wedding planning.

Long gone are the times when weddings were solely meant to uniting friends and families (Adrian 2003, p.51). Wedding planning has changed significantly to the point that negative dynamics in the area of marriage have led to condemnation by many sociologists (Currie, 1993). For example, nowadays, weddings are seen as an opportunity to show off financial might amongst families.

According to Eric (2006), the primary role of modern wedding events management is to showcase and enhance the social status of couples and their respective families. This is made possible through the use of extra-ordinary settings and décor, e.g. the use of expensive jewels, attire, etc (Porter, 2007). Family experts argue that commercial wedding planning demands have set in that influence wedding events management.

In that regard, wedding planners are forced to concentrate on the financial show at the expense of sacramental role of the traditional wedding. For instance, the entrances to weddings, lethargic photography, and salons, among others, are a new set of concepts aimed at raising the financial rating of a family.

Emerging wedding trends have led to unexpected complexities to wedding planning and the overall wedding events management. For example, the demand for destination weddings poses the challenge of having to travel and work in foreign territories, which may present logistical problems.

Additionally, these wedding events management trends are raising expectations on what an ideal wedding should look like, making it difficult for couples with modest budgets to fit in. Nowadays, weddings can be a highly humiliating experience for couples that have limited budgets. Unfortunately, while weddings were intended to be occasions when couples look back and enjoy, they have turned up to be among the major stressful events in people’s lives (Cramer & Lafreniere, p.1).

Small budgets exert stress and pressure on couples making them hopeless consumers who have to juggle between alternatives. In most cases, the wedding planning stress related to limited budgets is felt by wedding planners who have to balance huge expectations and limited clients’ financial abilities (Daniels & Loveless, 2007).

Challenges of Wedding Planning With Emerging Wedding Events Management Trends

While weddings are immensely important social events, there is very little research on wedding planning, let alone the wedding events management trends (Daniels & Loveless, 2007). Current trends in wedding planning and wedding events management, e.g. destination and themed weddings continue to exert pressure on couples, who have to incur huge costs to ensure that their events meet heightened societal expectations.

Wedding trends also pose challenges to wedding planners who have to balance between the clients’ budgets and expectations, as well as stretch their creative abilities in order to meet the, seemingly, insatiable client expectations. This paper will look at the emerging trends in wedding planning and the wedding events management challenges faced by wedding planners.

Objectives of the Wedding Planning Trends Research Paper

The aim of this research was to study the emerging trends in wedding planning and the challenges they present.

Research question: What is the impact of emerging wedding trends on wedding events planning?

This research study aimed to meet the following objectives:

  • To determine and examine current trends in wedding planning
  • To find out the factors that drive trends in wedding planning
  • To find out how wedding trends affect wedding planning
  • To analyze the impacts of wedding trends and their impacts on the wedding planning industry

Wedding Events Research Study Rationale

Daniels & Loveless, (2007) noted that despite the significance of weddings in society, there has been little research study on the topic going by the few scholarly research paper publications on trends in wedding events and wedding events management. Besides, most of the existing research papers and scholarly literature on wedding events management focuses on wedding planning- mostly serving as a guideline to the practice.

A few research studies have focused on trends in wedding planning and events management (Krishnan, 2008). However, these focus on specific trends e.g. trends within/ across specific cultures. An example of such research papers are Sharma & Sharma (2015), which studied new trends in North Indian weddings and Burkley (2006), which analyzed practises in Indian and North American weddings.

While some wedding trends may apply to numerous cultures, there is need to focus to wedding planning trends on a global level by focusing on concepts like destination weddings, the use and role of wedding planners, themed weddings, green wedding events, and the advent of online wedding planning (Winikka & Ma, 2013).

This is because wedding planners need to familiarize with changes in wedding planning and align their skills to these changes in order to effectively meet these demands. Additionally, by familiarizing with global wedding trends, wedding planners will be able to offer their services to a wider clientele considering that globalization has made the hiring of human resources from across the world much easier.

Moreover, this study researched the challenges faced by wedding planners due to these emerging wedding trends. Therefore, the findings of this research paper are of great benefit to wedding planners since they serve as an important resource for such event management professionals and even prepare inexperienced wedding planners for challenges that they may face in their future wedding events management practice.

Structure of the Research Paper

This research paper is divided into five sections, namely; introduction, literature review, methodology, results and discussion, and the conclusion and recommendations sections. The introductory chapter introduces the topic of study (wedding trends) and states the research question. The chapter also contains background information to the research topic, the problem statement, objectives of the research study, and a justification of the importance of carrying out the study.

Chapter two consists of the literature review in which a review of existing literature on wedding planning and wedding planning trends is made. Focus is given to changes in wedding planning, trends, and the impact of these on modern wedding events management. A key observation from this literature review is that weddings are becoming increasingly extravagant as couples spend lavishly to ensure uniqueness, entertain guests, and underline their social status.

Chapter three of the research paper outlines the research methodology used in this study. Notably, both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. The fourth chapter contains the study’s results and a discussion of the same in detail. A comparison of the results from primary research to those from secondary sources is made.

The final chapter of the research paper outlines the conclusions made from the study and gives recommendations for future research. A reflection of the lessons learnt over the course of the study, challenges, opportunities, threats, and strengths is also given.

Literature Review on Weddings, Wedding Planning, and Event Management Trends

Weddings are special events and a period of leisure, socialization, and cultural experience that goes beyond the everyday experiences (Harzewski, 2004). In the book Dating, Mating and Marriage from 1990, Martin King outlines the major trends that are observable in large scale weddings (Whyte, 1990).

One of the critical points in his book is the increase in wedding attendance; from an average of 50 guests in 1940s to over 150 in 1990s. Further, he posits that modern day couples tend to hold several parties before the initial wedding. This is one of the many observable changes in wedding planning that continue to characterize modern weddings and wedding planning.

Emerging Wedding Trends

Winikka & Ma (2013) identifies the major trends in wedding events management observable in modern day wedding planning that include concepts like destination weddings, the use of wedding planners, themed weddings, Friday evening weddings, and online wedding planning. Bridal families have been focusing on the finer yet popular details that are equally very important while planning events.

The location of the wedding, for example, greatly influences the success of a modern wedding (Daniels & Loveless, 2007). Current wedding themes incorporate naturally occurring outdoor concepts with elegant, complicated components thus creating a unique theme of all the emerging wedding trends.

However, the themes are united by a single color palette consisting of romantic and lush garden roses (Griffiths, 2013). Often times, the bridal party is set to rhyme with the floral theme. It is a common occurrence to see brides dressed in 1920s silk ware refined with rustic hairstyle that outlines a combination of ‘dinner party chic’ and ‘homestead elegance’ (Winikka & Ma, 2013).

In most cases, creating these unique themed weddings and meeting the logistical demands of modern wedding plans requires excessive spending and has led to the birth of the current day lavish spending. In the book Cinderella Dreams, Otnes and Pleck discuss the evolution of the wedding into a lavish event characterized by sophistication and excessive spending as couples chase the perceived dream/ ideal white wedding.

Initially, lavish weddings were a reservation for the rich and royal families. However, in the absence of financial limitations, the desire to have an elaborate wedding is hardly questioned across the social strata. Several researchers have identified the increased emphasis on weddings being an opportunity to showcase wealth.  For example, Egan (2003) noted that the modern lavish weddings are more of an opportunity to communicate social prestige.

Burkley (2006), in her comparison of American and Indian weddings noted that a number of wedding events management practices are influenced by the couple’s wealth. For example, in Indian and American weddings, the use of expensive jewellery in wedding decors is common among the upper class weddings.

According to Burkley, the middle class strives to meet the high standards set by lavish weddings and to close the gap between them and the wealthy. In the process, they end up incurring huge costs and getting into debt. This underlines the fact that weddings are becoming much more about appearance and meeting certain expectations on what an ideal/ dream wedding should be (p. 16).

Changes in Wedding Events Management Trends

Often times, the time for planning weddings may present couples with a loophole of excitement that may lead them to engage in a spending spree. It is assumed that couples forget their worries by deciding to buy any offers available for the wedding (Daniels, Lee &Cohen, 2012).

The great recession of 2007 brought a paradigm shift on the course of event planning. Many couples were forced to deeply think about what to buy or not because of the highly diminishing wedding budgets (Daniels et al., 2012, p.245). The Wedding Report demonstrated that wedding budgets declined by 23% in the period running from 2007 to 2008 (McMurray, 2010).

The Role of Wedding Planners in Modern Wedding Events Management

Oriedo (2012) noted that in the past, wedding planning used to be a communal responsibility. However, the advent of colonization, industrialization, and urbanization led to the erosion of strong communal ties, leaving the wedding planning responsibility to immediate families.

In recent times, however, work-related responsibilities and globalization have further strained family ties, making the coordinated participation of family members difficult. For this reason, couples are increasingly looking up to professional wedding planners for wedding events management (p. 3).

Importance of a Wedding Venue

Currently, the choice of a venue is the most critical aspect that determines the success of a wedding. In actual sense, location brings out the lasting memory of the wedding in the minds of the participants (Daniels et al., 2012). Daniels et al., postulates that the location of the wedding party is one of the first decisions that are made by wedding planners (p.247).

Wedding event planners can choose to be creative or conservative with the venue of the wedding. In the same spirit, the wedding theme has a greater influence in predicting the location of the wedding party (Daniels &Loveless, 2007). For instance, a wedding bearing the theme of Great Gatsby could be organized at a Martha’s Vineyard or in Rhode Island at the famous Rosecliff Mansion (Daniels & Loveless).

Destination Weddings

Destination weddings are characterized by parties held places afar from the couple’s home and have become popular in recent times. Such places include tourism hubs and nature conservation points. Such types of destination weddings allow the couple to realize their childhood dream weddings (Daniels & Loveless).

Many couples have ended up choosing the destination for the weddings early enough so that there is a lot of fluidity while planning the mainstream event (Daniels &Loveless).

While destination weddings and themed weddings may have come out as highly emergent trends, Daniels et al. demonstrated that the most used destination wedding locations by couples in 2012 were country clubs, banquet halls, hotels, garden, historic buildings, restaurants, personal residences, plantation sites and museums.

Surprisingly, traditional wedding venues that comprise several elements of the wedding process have remained more appealing to most couples due to their relatively low cost.

Social, Cultural, and Technological Factors that Influence Wedding Trends

Several social, cultural, and technological factors have played critical roles in influencing modern wedding trends. These social factors are largely influenced by globalization, which has encouraged the exportation of wedding practices and wedding themes (Krishnan, 2008), making recent trends to be very different from those of earlier times.

Specifically speaking, the center stage for most modern weddings is built around elegant beauty styles, dynamic wedding colors, floral arrangements and themes. In the words of Winikka and Ma (p.5, 2013), modern wedding plans feature exorbitant parties and elegant homesteads. Harzewski (2004) noted that couples, in planning their weddings, aim at attaining flawless beauty in all aspects and a well organized performance with a sole objective of achieving uniqueness and entertaining their guests.

Social- economic, cultural, and technological factors have been playing a significant role in influencing these trends. Examples of these factors include the availability of huge sums of disposable income, the need for greater social status, technologies that promote cross-cultural interaction and information sharing, etc. The need to highlight social status, for example, is a major contributor to the current lavish spending on weddings (Krishnan, 2008: Otnes & Pleck, 2003; Howard, 2006).

The ease of sharing ideas and information due to advancement in technology has also popularized trends like themed weddings online wedding planning. Similarly, the increased cross-cultural interaction due to globalization has fuelled a rapid exchange of wedding ideas, subsequently creating trends.

For example, Abkowitz (2015) noted a new trend in Chinese weddings where young Chinese couples prefer a mix of Western and traditional Chinese themes in their weddings: white wedding gowns, wedding planners, and bridesmaids, for example, feature in today’s Chinese weddings as opposed to traditional Chinese weddings. These ideas are borrowed from Western wedding practices where the internet plays a key role in spreading this influence.

Impacts of Modern Wedding Trends

Weddings have the potential to be a highly humiliating experience for several couples, especially those that have limited budgets. Couples are, nowadays, forced to take time to weigh between the need for a lavish wedding and the ability to raise funds for the event. However, emergent wedding trends and wedding events management developments have resulted in cost-efficient methods that still produce special weddings.

It is very clear that couples have taken a greater control of their wedding budget due to the pressure brought about by recession (Daniels et al., 2012). True to it, the modern wedding budgets might be higher than the traditional wedding budgets. However, couples have inclined themselves towards stricter and highly efficient wedding budgets.

Brides have equally embraced concentration on the wedding planning process to ensure that they discover and avoid any unnecessary spending (Dosh, 2008). In recent times, wedding committees have utilized a more receptive model of wedding events management that enables them to use a very affordable budget with maximum returns (Dosh, 2008, p.44).

Wedding Consumption and Consumer Behaviour Theories

Generally, traditions posit that a wedding is intended to showcase a celebration of two people’s dedication their love to one another in a lifetime union. Contrastingly, the emerging trends in wedding have developed a high consumer behavior in which the traditional concepts have been replaced by extravagant modern day wedding (Winch & Webster, 2012).

Consumer behaviour theories explore ways in which consumers make meaning of and respond to symbolic cues encoded in brands, advertisements, products, etc to reveal their personal and social situations, as well as identity and lifestyle goals (Grayson and Martinec 2004; Holt 2002).

In that case, markets provide consumers with a wide array of products from which to make choices and subsequently claim their individual and collective identities (Murray 2002; Schau and Gilly 2003). Consumers are, therefore, identity seekers who acquire products that enable them achieve their lifestyle goals.

According to Wiedmann and Hennigs (2007), individual and social related values affect consumer choice, more so where consumers buy to impress and maintain their social image. The need for uniqueness is a major determiner of wedding consumption since the acquisition of unique venues, wedding planning services, and themes satisfies the desire to enhance one’s identity (Tepper and Bearden, 2010).

Wedding Consumer Spending

Currently, almost every bride family thinks about having a lavish wedding (Engstrom, 2008, p.62).  As such weddings gain fame, the 21st century’s bride must discover new ways of evading the traditional wedding planning environment (Engstrom). The exposure of many women to fairytales and fantasy wedding plays in their childhood times have led to their demand of very expensive weddings (Otnes & Pleck, 2003).

Cinderella wedding storybooks have been inculcated into the minds of several ladies the concept of romantic relationships that lead to expensive weddings before marriage (Otnes & Pleck). As such, ladies who clinging to the views in the fairytales end up classified as ‘romantic consumers’ (Otnes and Pleck, p.19). The romantic consumers spend a better part of their single life fantasizing about dream weddings and cannot wait to have them before marriage.

In extreme cases, the women think that Cinderella weddings can only be organized after purchasing nearly everything available for a wedding and in the process they become materialistic wedding consumers (Otnes & Pleck). According to Tovikkai (2010), also such consumption is attributable to personal values such as vanity.

Ideally, the Cinderella concept is not the only major cause for the ‘white weddings’ that have becoming famous in recent times. Otnes and Pleck (2003) have shown that four other factors are at the center stage of the dramatic rise in the extravagant nature of the current day weddings.

First, it is natural that several people would want to get married at one point in their lives. In the United States, for example, “almost 90% percent of adults…will marry at least once in their lifetimes…” (Otnes & Pleck, p.5). Secondly, expensive weddings are one of the easiest ways that a couple can demonstrate to the world its connections to other wealthy families. Very few people can afford to put up a momentous wedding thus it helps them demonstrate their higher social status.

Thirdly, most women idealize Cinderella weddings which outline that a change in status like marriage must be characterized by a very lavish wedding.  Finally, the decision by the couple to dedicate a huge sum of their resources towards a wedding is the surest way to confirm to their families that the wedding will last (Otnes & Pleck).

Generally, there is a very strong relationship between the amount of resources dedicated by the couple towards the wedding and the level of commitment towards the marriage (Otnes &Pleck). Many people have made valid assumptions that marriages that put up lesser resources into their weddings may not last longer because of the lesser time dedicated by the family towards their engagement (Otnes & Pleck).

Overall, the four justifications above have led to the increasing popularity of extravagant weddings in the recent times. Additionally, the choice of every detail undertaken for the Cinderella wedding must be one that is delicately planned otherwise the whole event may skyrocket (Cramer & Lafreniere, 2003).

While weddings were intended to be occasions when couples look back and enjoy, they have turned up to be among the major stressful events in people’s lives (Cramer & Lafreniere, p.1). The major cause of the stress and pressure to the couples as regards the wedding is the reality of scarce funds which often interfere with the plans of the dream wedding (Cramer & Lafreniere).

Juggling between alternatives and scarce resources exerts a lot of pressure on the bride thus making her a hopeless consumer. Besides, the demands of the highly commercial event planning market make it impossible for the bride to accept that it may difficult to satisfy her expectations of the dream wedding (Otnes, Lowrey & Shrum, 1997).

The failure by the bride to accept the reality stems from the restriction that forces her to settle on only one option from all the available details (Otnes et al.). The final result is a clash between the expectations of the bride and the available options in wedding market. At a higher level, weddings have become highly personalized and totally separated from the once traditional type thus making brides to be very vulnerable to external forces in the event organization market (Mead, 2007).

In a nutshell, the wedding planning department has been highly commercialized to the extent that most people have forgotten the ideal meaning behind it (Howard, 2006). In the words of Maed, several couples, especially brides, have failed to handle the pressure that comes with the extravagant Cinderella dreams.

The wedding industry has equally lost its role in helping facilitating the exchange of vows between men and women. Instead, some wedding planners and wedding events dealers have developed into a group of greedy business individuals who celebrate after siphoning their clients’ resources in every possible way.

Research Methodology

Research Study Questions

The research study attempted to answer the following questions:

  • What are the current trends in wedding planning?
  • Which factors drive the trends in wedding planning?
  • What challenges do these trends pose to wedding planning?
  • What is the impact of these challenges on the wedding planning industry?

Research Philosophy

According to Offredy & Vickers (2010), research philosophy refers to the process of developing knowledge or characterizing information. It serves as a guide to research progression, helping a researcher to meet set objectives and to test hypothesis (Merriam, 2009).  This study will take adopt positivist and interpretive research philosophies. This is because the study made use of both quantitative and qualitative analyses of primary and secondary data to draw conclusions on the trends in wedding planning and their impacts.

Positivist philosophy

This research philosophy is associated with the use of scientific techniques to accurately assess the influence of social phenomena (Bennet, 2007). This type of research philosophy is appropriate for quantitative research methods that make use of quantifiable data to build objective arguments and inferences.

Interpretive Philosophy

This philosophy relates to qualitative research, more so in social sciences and human behaviour. It argues that the reliance on quantitative data (numbers and figures) to represent human nature and behaviour is not practical (Namey et. al. 2007).

Therefore, it advocates for a subjective approach in interpreting data and making inferences. Considering that the study focused on a social aspect (marriage and weddings), taking an interpretive approach in the interpretation of the qualitative data collected in the study was necessary.

Research Approach

The analysis of data needs to be systematic if credible results are to be obtained (Saunders, Thornbill & Lewis, 2009). In this study, the deductive approach to scientific reasoning was used in the development of arguments and evaluation of data to make meaningful inferences.

Deductive reasoning

This is a top-down approach where a general observation is first made after which an argument that progresses towards a specific direction is developed (Offredy & Vickers, 2010). In this approach, an hypothesis is made and later proved or disapproved depending on study outcomes. This approach was chosen after an analysis literature on wedding planning which suggests rapid shifts which require wedding planners to keep updated in order to meet changing demands. Furthermore, there is minimal literature on the impact of wedding trends on wedding planning, making the deductive approach more appealing because new relationships have to be identified.

Research Design

Research design refers to the framework or guidelines through which research is carried out. It outlines the procedures for taking measurements, collecting and evaluating data, etc. Bell (2010) stated that research design is influenced by the nature of the research questions. In this case, the use of exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory research design was crucial to understanding the current trends in wedding planning and the challenges they pose.

3.4 Research Methodology

Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used in data collection. Qualitative and quantitative methods are better distinguished through the kind of data used; whether measurable or immeasurable. While qualitative research makes use of primary data, quantitative research involves the analysis of secondary data that is obtained from existing studies. In that case, the researcher has no influence over the variables used in the secondary sources.

3.4.1 Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is mainly applied in investigative studies since it enables one to get a clearer understanding of phenomena. This is because the researcher can expand the problem more in order to get a deeper understanding (Bogdan &Taylor, 1990). Additionally, the researcher gets to the rare chance of developing new ideas for potential quantitative research. An in-depth understanding of the research problem can be obtained through qualitative research. In this case, a descriptive and exploratory approach was used to find answers to the research questions.  The analysis of existing literature on wedding trends will be an important starting point for the study. The researcher will be able to identify the existing observations and at the same time take note of research gaps. This will be helpful in shaping the study’s direction as the researcher expands the research problem in order to gain better insight into the issue.

3.4.2 Quantitative Research

Quantitative research, on the other hand, is highly inclined towards the application of statistical methods in data collection and analysis. Consequently, it utilizes numerical data to solve the problem at hand. Qualitative research is often properly structured and mostly involves the use of research methods that source for primary data, e.g. paper surveys, online surveys, longitudinal studies, telephone interviews, online polls, website interceptors, and systematic observations among others (Wyse, 2011). In Chapter II, it was noted that there has been little research on wedding planning. Besides, the wedding industry is dynamic, hence trends are bound to appear rapidly. These reasons create the need to conduct primary research in order to obtain a true reflection of current trends in wedding planning. The findings can then be compared to previous research on the same in order to highlight more changes/trends.

3.5 Data Collection Methods

3.5.1 Primary Data

Primary data is collected first hand through interviews/ questionnaires and direct observations (Kelly, 2011). Questionnaires were used to collect information from married and single respondents (un-married) adults. Oral interviews were conducted in the case of professional wedding planners. Wedding planners were required to have at least a two- year experience in wedding planning before filling the forms. Married couples had to have wedded within the last three years. Oral interviews were also be used where appropriate. Unfortunately, primary data collection methods presented researchers with the challenge of limited geographical coverage. The use of these methods was extremely appropriate for this study because few studies have been done on current trends in wedding planning and the challenges they pose to wedding planners (Daniels & Loveless, 2007).

3.5.2 Secondary Data

The systematic literature survey and descriptive research methodologies were used to portray current trends in wedding planning and the challenges they pose. These were used to collect data from already published, relevant sources like journal articles, books, reports, etc., (Kelly, 2011). The use of secondary sources in this case was useful in a number of ways. To start with, reviewing existing literature will help the researcher to determine the direction of current research on wedding planning and trends in the same. Secondly, it helped the researcher to identify gaps in existing research with respect to trends in wedding planning. Finally, the researcher was able to compare the findings obtained with previous findings.

Secondary data for this study was collected from eight weddings companies/websites that were representatives of UK, US, Chinese, Australian, and Canadian wedding planners. These were picked due to their position as wedding industry market leaders in their respective countries and include Wedding Bells (Canada), Archant Bride (UK), Hitched W.I.F.E (UK), The Every Girl (US), Weddings Beautiful China, Modern Wedding (Australia), Nightingales (Australia), and The Knot (US).

3.6 Sampling Method

Convenience sampling was used to collect data for this study. In this method, respondents are picked based on their availability and ease of data collection (Kumar, 2005). The method is cheap and presents an easy avenue for the collection of vital data within a short period of time. This method was ideal for this study because the researcher had limited time and resources.  Unfortunately, the method is prone to bias and may yield skewed data.

3.7 Data Analysis

Primary data was processed using the statistical software MS Excel. The results were then presented in the form of appropriate, meaningful visual forms- pie charts, line graphs, and bar graphs, etc. Secondary data was presented in an explanatory manner as described previously. The interpretive philosophy argues that a subjective interpretation of data is necessary in social research. Weddings being a social affair, the researcher analyzed trends and relationships between data in order to make meaningful inferences.

3.8 Ethical Considerations

Study participants will have to meet the following requirements in order to ensure voluntary participation through informed consent:

  • Read the questionnaire/interview brief
  • Be aged 20 years and above and able to make independent decisions
  • Be willing to participate through informed consent
  • Be of either sex and of any race or ethnic background
  • Be mentally sound

The identity of participants will be kept anonymous and their responses will only be used for the purposes of this study only. Participants will also be discouraged from providing information that could reveal their identity in their responses.

3.9 Research Limitations

The method of sampling used (convenience sampling) is prone to bias and may yield skewed data. Additionally, the use of questionnaires limited the scope of responses that could be given by the respondent. Finally, the lack of a pre-study led to some erroneously completed questionnaires. In that regard, a total of twelve filled questionnaires were discarded due to errors.

4.0 Results and Discussion

This chapter contains the results of the study on wedding trends and discussions of the same. The data for the primary research was collected using questionnaires which were administered through Survey Monkey [Appendix II]. A total of 175 adult respondents (both single and married) filled the questionnaires. The findings from the primary research are presented in bar graphs and pie charts. A comparison of the findings from the primary research and research findings obtained from secondary sources for each category has also been made in the accompanying discussion sections.

4.1.1 Wedding Budgets and Spending

The researcher sought information from secondary sources to determine trends in wedding spending. A comparison of previous research findings revealed that the average wedding budget was $30,000 (Confetti, 2014; Hitched W.I.F.E, 2015; Sardone, 2015; The Knot, 2016; The Wedding Secret, 2014; The Wedding Report, 2013). This information is based on research done on the UK, US, Canadian, Chinese, Australian, and South African wedding markets. Information on wedding budgets proved important in revealing the changes in priorities- the factors that are losing or gaining demand.

Figure 1: Average wedding spending in 2014

The expenditure on weddings has been on the increase since 2010 due to economic recovery after the financial crisis (The Wedding Report, 2013).There was an increase in the average wedding spending between 2013 and 2014, with the most notable increases being the spending on officiants, venues, musicians, and DJ’s (The Knot, 2015). Spending on the officiant took the largest share of the budget at $15, 907, followed by spending on venue, catering, bands, photography, décor, and event planners, respectively. Significant increases were also noted on the spending on photography, videographers, event planners, and dressing. The highest percentage spending increases in relation to the actual spending were on officiants, musicians, DJ’s, and transport. The increased spending on officiants suggests a shift from having a friend or family member as wedding officiants to the hiring of professional officiants and wedding planners (Sardone, 2015; The Knot, 2015). This observations has been made by several researchers (Abkowitz, 2015; Daniels & Loveless, 2007; Sharma & Sharma, 2015; Krishnan, 2008; Oriedo, 2012) and is an important development in the events industry .

Notably, the spending on invitations dropped significantly by -0.9%. The Weddings Report, (2010) noted that the number of invited guests started declining in 2008with the average number of guests falling below 150 since then. This is attributed to attempts by couples to reduce their wedding budgets since each additional invitation increases the cost by about 150-160$ (The Weddings Report, 2010 p. 3). Marry Abroad (2012) noted that more couples were opting for small weddings that involved the couple and an average of four guests- mostly their parents and children. Apparently, couples prefer reducing the cost of their weddings or chanelling their funds towards the improvement of venues to ensure uniqueness.

Finally, it is important to note that a bigger percentage of couples preferred having photographers to videographers (Fig. 1), despite the increased significance of the video industry. Marry Abroad (2012) noted that 89% of their clients preferred having a photographer to a videographer. This is attributed to the fact that some traditions are difficult to change. Apparently, couples would rather keep a traditional wedding album. On the same note, vintage and choreographed photography are the most popular trends where photographs of staged scenes are taken in photobooths or landmarks that provide a desired background (Hitched W.I.F.E, 2015; The Knot, 2015; The Wedding Secret, 2014; The Every Girl, 2014)

4.1.2 Wedding Planning and Resources

Respondents were asked to choose their most preferred source of wedding information.

Figure 2: Sources of wedding planning ideas

Most of the survey respondents cited weddings websites as their most utilized resource for wedding planning ideas. These were followed by social sites, friends and family, T.V shows, and wedding planners, respectively (Fig. 2). A significant number of wedding ideas are copied from friends’ weddings or suggested by family members. The popularity of weddings websites and social sites can be attributed to the increased internet accessibility through mobile devices and the popular usage of the same as a source of information.

a. Online wedding planning

The internet has had a major impact on almost all aspects of world affairs, be it social-cultural, political, economic, etc. The importance of weddings websites and social media in changing the weddings industry cannot be ignored. According to Confetti (2014), 42% of use social media to plan their wedding with a higher reliance on online wedding sites being reported. The Knot (2015) noted an increase in wedding websites access through mobile devices from 33% in 2013 to 61% in 2014. The internet is largely used for research purposes with most browsers searching for information on wedding gowns and vendors.

The influence of the internet on wedding planning is clearly evident in China, for example (Abkowitz, 2015). According to Abkowitz, young chinese couples prefer a mix of Western and traditional Chinese themes in their weddings: white wedding gowns, wedding planners, and bridesmaids, for example, feature in today’s Chinese weddings as opposed to traditional Chinese weddings.

b. Wedding Planners

While friend and family have been important in wedding planners, work-related responsibilities and globalization have strained family ties, making the coordinated participation of family members in wedding planning more difficult (Oriedo, 2012). For this reason, couples are increasingly looking up to professional wedding planners to plan and manage their events. Evidence for this can be seen in Fig. 1, just as similar observations have been made by (Abkowitz, 2015; Daniels & Loveless, 2007; Sharma & Sharma, 2015; Krishnan, 2008; Oriedo, 2012).

4.1.3 Wedding Planning Decisions

Respondents were asked to name three of the most important factors that were likely to affect their wedding plans.

Figure 3:Factors that influence wedding planning decisions

Respondents were also asked whether they would allow family, friends, or wedding planners to choose their weddings venue, wedding cake design, theme, and number of guests for them.

Figure 4: Event planning decisions

The desire to meet social expectations was found to have the highest influence on wedding planning decisions (Fig. 3). Notably, couples aspire to conform to trends and to surpass social expectations. Personal interests are also important in influencing decisions. Venues, wedding cake designs, décor, number of guests, etc were largely determined by a couple’s preferences (Fig. 4). The role of gender in wedding planning is evident with brides taking a greater responsibility in making wedding design choices, mostly in terms of décor, wardrobe, sitting arrangements, etc. (The Every Girl, 2014). However, these preferences could be overridden by the desire to please guests, forcing couples to make compromises.

Time/ season are an important consideration in wedding planning. According to the Wedding Secret (2014) most weddings are held during the months of May to September in the UK, with most (15%) taking place in August. Additionally, over 50% of weddings take place on Saturdays.  In the US, the most popular months are June and September (The Weddings Report, 2010). In China, the availability of a wedding venue has no influence on the choice for wedding dates (Abkowitz, 2015). However, the time of weddings differs significantly between the Northern and Southern China where weddings normally take place in the mornings and afternoons, respectively, since the Chinese see a relationship between time and good luck. Venues are designed to meet needs that could be brought up by weather conditions. For example, indoor venues are more likely to be chosen in rainy/ cold weather. Interestingly, financial limitations are often overlooked by couples.

4.1.3.1 Choice of Venue

Figure 5: Factors influencing the choice of wedding venues

The first and most significant factor that influenced the choice of venue was the type of venue; that is, whether outdoor or indoor (Fig. 5). Outdoor venues are getting more popular and are the most preferred type of venues currently. Couples prefer to have an outdoor event with the option of an indoor reception later. For those that chose church weddings, an outdoor reception is preferred. Once more, the need for uniqueness is a major consideration when choosing venues and can be related to the desire for coastal, popular landmarks, and themed venues as shown in Fig. 2.

4.1.4 Wedding Decor, Cakes, Catering, Colours, and Themes

In recent years, the grandeur and size of wedding receptions has become an important indicator of social status. Couples are continually increasing their budget allocations to wedding venues in an attempt to make them unique. This has led to the development of themed weddings and Friday evening weddings where venues are tailor-made to meet a couple’s preferences. The quality of food, drinks, and decor is emphasized in order to impress guests. This trend can is responsible for the increased spending on musicians, DJs, and live bands to entertain guests as well as the hiring of professional event planners, officiants, and florists (Fig. 2). In addition, the expenditure on transportation has been on an increase with couples being more likely to hire expensive limousines and private jets for their weddings (Hitched W.I.F.E, 2015).

a. Colours, Themes, and Decor

Blue and purple colours, as well as their variations, are the most popular primary colours while white and silver are the most popular accent colours (Fig. 6). However, couples are becoming more adventurous with colour schemes as shown by choices that feature varying colour tones and combinations. The most popular colour combinations include blue/white or blue/blush, blue/ ivory, pink/silver, purple/silver, and purple/ white (Confetti, 2014; Fig. 7).

Figure 6: Trends in wedding colour themes. Adapted from The Knot (2016)

Figure 7: Popular colour tones. Adapted from The Wedding Report (2013)

b. Cakes and Catering

Majority of couples (over 50%) prefer to stick to traditional wedding cake designs (Hitched W.I.F.E, 2015; Fig. 8). However, more couples have, over time, opened up to new wedding cake ideas, with a significant number choosing cup cakes and naked (without icing sugar crust) over traditional cake designs. Additionally, catering trends like the use of food trucks and other types of outsourced catering services are becoming more popular because they are cheaper and more convenient (Nguyen, n.d).

Figure 8: Trends in wedding cake design. Adapted from Hitched W.I.F.E (2015)

4.1.5 Wedding Venues and Preferences

To determine the trending wedding venues, respondents were asked to choose their dream wedding venue and the actual venue for their weddings. This question was specifically answered by married respondents.

Figure 9: Preferred Wedding Venues

Most of the interviewed, married couples picked popular landmarks as their dream venues for their weddings (Fig. 9). In other words, they would have liked their weddings to be held in theme parks. Other common dream venues included country clubs, registry offices, home backyards, theme parks, and hotels. However, most couples did not conduct their weddings at their dream venues. This means that, given another chance, a significant number of couples would pick a different venue for their wedding.

Notably, a significant number of couples are more likely to exchange vows at registry offices despite the fact that these may not be their dream wedding venues. This can be attributed to the fact that most weddings in the UK are secular and are officiated by local authorities’ registrars. In 2014, for example, 67% of weddings in the UK were civil ceremonies. However, from Fig.2 above, it is clear that while civil marriages are popular, couples favoured alternative venues to registry offices, giving the indication that most of them prefer having a reception after the ceremony. However, Sardone (2015) noted that civil ceremonies were much more common in second and third marriages as opposed to first-time marriages. The same applied to destination weddings where couples getting into second and third marriages were more interested in adventure (Sardone, 2015).

Most of the religious weddings are held in Scotland and Ireland. Fig. 2 shows a close relationship between actual church/religious weddings and dream church/ religious weddings. This suggests a strong influence of tradition on weddings, especially in Scotland and Ireland. In first-time marriages, couples were more likely to choose traditional wedding venues and themes despite having the desire for more casual venues.

4.1.5.1 Destination Weddings

Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular with more people preferring to hold wedding ceremonies away from their homes (The Knot, 2016). This was more common to weddings where couples are getting into second and third marriages because such couples more interested in adventure (Sardone, 2015). The increase in same-sex marriages has also led to an increase in destination marriages. This happens where couples opt to overcome legal restrictions to same-sex marriages by having their marriages registered in foreign jurisdictions. For example, in the UK, the law stipulates that only heterosexual couples can enter into a civil partnership. However, such couples have the option of forming such a “partnership in Wales, Scotland, England, or Northern Ireland, get married in Scotland, Wales, or England, and then convert the civil partnership into a marriage in Scotland, England, or Wales (Gov. UK, 2016).” Coastal/ beach and cruise weddings are becoming popular venues with couples opting for destination weddings. For example, Abkowitz (2015) noted that Bali and Malaysia were fast becoming popular wedding destinations for Chinese couples.

Marry Abroad (2012) identified five destination weddings trends, namely;

  1. Weekend weddings

Such weddings last a whole weekend where a welcome dinner/ lunch is served a day before the wedding with a brunch being served on the actual wedding day. This kind of arrangement is common where the couples’ families have not met, with the welcome dinner/lunch providing a good opportunity “to introduce the in-laws (p. 1).”

  1. Very intimate weddings

Marry Abroad noted that couples are increasingly opting to marry abroad whereby a maximum of three guests. In some cases, couples opt not to invite guests, with the photographer/videographer or wedding planner serving as a witness.

  1. Wedding processions

This is an emerging trend where weddings take place close to landmark features like the Coliseum or in historical cities e.g Siena. Wedding parties take walks through these cities/areas in the company of a musician, with the landmark features providing a unique ambient backdrop.

  1. Wine and Food Tastings

Marry Abroad observed an increasing desire by couples to highlight local delicacies by incooporating standalone informal activities like wineand food tasting into their wedding day  schedule. This is mostly done to keep the guests entertained, especially where they have to wait for the the couples arrival. Wine tastings are particularly common in France and Italy.

Figure 10: Adapted from The Wedding Report (2013)

4.2 Summary

Weddings have become an important social event. This increased importance has created an increased need by couples to perfect their weddings. Normally, couples end up spending extravagantly in order to meet the demand for uniqueness. While doing so, couples turn to popular wedding trends in order to match or out-do existing standards and, in so doing, they contribute to the wedding industry’s dynamism by creating newer trends. The study on wedding trends revealed the following:

  • Spending on officiants and event planners was an increase. The increased spending on officiants suggests a shift from having a friend or family member as wedding officiants to the hiring of professional officiants and wedding planners. This can be attributed to the increase in work-related responsibilities and globalization that have strained family ties, making the coordinated participation of family members in wedding planning difficult.
  • Couples are reducing the the number of invitations. More couples were opting for small weddings that involved the couple and an average of four guests- mostly their parents and children.
  • A bigger percentage of couples prefer having photographers to videographers. This is attributed to the fact that some traditions are difficult to change. Apparently, couples would rather keep a traditional wedding album.
  • Weddings websites and social media in are becoming an important weddings planning resource.
  • The desire to meet social expectations has the highest influence on wedding planning decisions. Notably, couples aspire to conform to trends and to surpass social expectations.
  • Time/ season are an important consideration in wedding planning with popular wedding dates differing across geographical locations.
  • Outdoor venues are getting more popular and are the most preferred type of venues currently.
  • Expenditure on transportation has been on an increase with couples being more likely to hire expensive limousines, vintage cars, and private jets for their weddings.
  • Blue and purple colours, as well as their variations, are the most popular primary wedding colours while white and silver are the most popular accent colours. The most popular colour combinations include blue/white or blue/blush, blue/ ivory, pink/silver, purple/silver, and purple/ white
  • Majority of couples prefer to stick to traditional wedding cake designs. However, more couples are opting for new wedding cake designs with a significant number choosing cup cakes and naked cakes.
  • Civil ceremonies are much more common in second and third marriages as opposed to first-time marriages.
  • Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular with more people preferring to hold wedding ceremonies away from their homes. This is common to second and third marriages where couples are interested in adventure.
  • The center stage for most modern weddings is built around elegant beauty styles, dynamic wedding colors, floral arrangements and themes. Social- economic, cultural, and technological factors have been playing a significant role in influencing these trends. Examples of these factors include the availability of huge sums of disposable income, the need for greater social status, technologies that promote cross-cultural interaction and information sharing, etc. The need to highlight social status, for example, is a major contributor to the current lavish spending on weddings. The ease of sharing ideas and information due to advancement in technology has also popularized trends like themed weddings online wedding planning. Similarly, the increased cross-cultural interaction due to globalization has fuelled a rapid exchange of wedding ideas, subsequently creating trends.

4.3 Current concerns/ challenges in wedding planning

A total of seventeen wedding planners were interviewed orally for the greatest concerns/ challenges in current wedding planning.

4.3.1 Strained budgets

Majority of them identified strained budgets as the greatest challenge to planning weddings because clients usually expect more than their budgets can secure. Often times, couples run into debts while planning their weddings and rely heavily on help from parents and friends (Hitched W.I.F.E, 2015). Despite having unreasonably low budgets, couples still demand quality and unique wedding venues, décor, etc. Berg (2016) described these as skewed and unrealistic expectations that have been popularized by reality shows. In most cases, wedding planners shoulder the burden of having to create balances between budget constraints and quality while ensuring client satisfaction.

Figure 11: Impact of wedding trends on wedding planning

4.3.2 Risk management

A risk management plan is usually prepared to foresee risks that might happen in the course of the event and possible solutions to such (Rojek, 2004). According to Goss (2009), risks are uncertain events that happen and affect the objectives and goals of an event. Risk management is also a major concern and its significance is rising with the increase in demand for unique wedding themes and locations. For example, weddings held inside caves, on glaciers, etc., pose more dangers than those held on traditional venues like churches and hotels. This increased risk calls for additional risk management measures. For example, losses caused by factors like extreme weather, vendor bankruptcy, cancellations, etc., can be mitigated through the use of wedding insurance.

4.3.3 Culture sensitivity and Management

Wedding trends, as fuelled by social media, websites, etc., have raised issues of cultural competency among wedding planners. This is because there is an increase in cultural exchange and intermarriages between persons from different cultural backgrounds. Otnes and Pleck noted that there is an increase in cross-cultural marriages. This makes it necessary for couples and their kin to reconcile cultural differences pertaining to the wedding ritual. Additionally, trends like same-sex marriages create the need for wedding planners who have the requisite skills to manage such weddings while ensuring appropriate etiquette (Calhoun, 2014).

4.3.4 Logistics

Moreover, the increased demand for wedding sophistication has contributed to logistical challenges. For example, destination weddings complicate planning because distance creates the need for online wedding planning to ensure coordination between wedding planners, vendors, and clients. This could lead to failure and costly delays if poorly managed. Notably, such weddings have created the need for collaboration between various teams to ensure success, hence making the role of professional wedding planners more significant.  For example, Abkowitz (2015) observed that the organization of a cruise wedding for a certain Chinese couple in 2015 demanded collaboration between the wedding planner and the ship’s crew. Wedding planning at such levels is, therefore, more complex than the traditional wedding planning.

4.3.5 Competition

Finally, the increased demand for wedding planning services amid the lack of regulation on the wedding planning profession has encouraged the increase in the number of professional wedding planners. Bowdin & McPherson (2006) noted the attractiveness of these events has increased competition in the events profession. Unfortunately, there has been a rise in the number of unprofessional and incompetent wedding planners who are also keen on benefiting from the increased demand for wedding planning services. These charge little for their services only to end up offering poor quality services (Berg, 2016). Additionally, the lack of regulatory standards to ensure that rougue vendors are held accountable for the quality of supplies is a major challenge that gets magnified by current trends which pose higher demands. This adversely affects the reputation of wedding planners across the industry. Similarly, there are no standards by which to quantify the quality of services and theme designs. Therefore, in most cases, wedding planners end up carrying huge burdens and facing increased pressure to perform.

5.0 Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

Wedding traditions posit that a wedding is intended to showcase a celebration of two people’s dedication their love to one another in a lifetime union. Contrastingly, the emerging trends in wedding have developed a high consumer behavior in which the traditional concepts have been replaced by extravagant modern day weddings. This study concludes that modern wedding trends are based on the need for uniqueness and personalized services. Couples are focusing more on making their weddings glamorous by picking unusual venues, themes, and wedding decor.

More couples are, over time, opening up to new wedding ideas like choosing cup cakes over traditional cake designs. Additionally, catering trends like the use of food trucks and other types of outsourced catering services are becoming more popular because they are cheaper and more convenient. However, couples are only cutting costs on particular aspects only to increase their spending on others. In real sense, the financial burden of weddings has little significance when compared to client satisfaction.

Social- economic, cultural, and technological factors have been playing a significant role in influencing wedding planning. Examples of these factors include the availability of huge sums of disposable income, the need for greater social status, technologies that promote cross-cultural interaction and information sharing, etc. The need to highlight social status, for example, is a major contributor to the current lavish spending on weddings. Wedding trends are mostly driven by internet based technologies through which most of the modern social interaction and the exchange of ideas takes place. In addition to that, other social interactions with families and friends are important in shaping wedding decisions.

The desire to meet the increasing demands presented by new trends has led to challenges that are largely related to event management with demands and standards becoming almost impossible to meet. On most occasions, these challenges are felt by wedding planners, with their reputation being put at risk.

5.2 Recommendations

Despite the fact that weddings were intended to be occasions when couples look back and enjoy, they have turned up to be among the major stressful events in people’s lives. Small budgets exert stress and pressure on couples making them hopeless consumers who have to juggle between alternatives. In most cases, the stress related to limited budgets is felt by wedding planners who have to balance huge expectations and limited clients’ financial abilities. In the wake of the fast rising demands and expectations, event managers have to re-examine their role and position in the wedding planning industry. They also need to expand their skills, competence, and capacity to handle such demands. In addition, events companies should strive to meet the increased need for information on wedding planning as shown by the heavy reliance on internet sources, and now wedding planners, for wedding planning ideas (Fig. 2). They can do this by increasing the number and functionality of their online wedding planning resources. Increasing the number of their staff, and their skills base through further training to help them familiarize with emerging trends and the demands they present could also be a viable option. Finally, social scientists and researchers should consider focusing on weddings which, despite their immense significance in society, have been given little attention by researchers.

5.3 Reflective Log

The events industry is dynamic; changes in event planning occur rapidly due to rapidly changing clients’ demands: the weddings sub-sector is not different. Weddings are special events and a period of leisure, socialization, and cultural experience that goes beyond the everyday experiences. The organization and management of a wedding event remains a challenging undertaking that requires careful planning in order to meet clients’ demands. The challenges manifest in wedding planning are getting more complex as more demands that are brought about by rapidly changing and increasing social expectations on wedding planning arise. However, having been adequately trained in event management, I believe that I posses the skills requisite to succeeding in wedding planning.

Besides acquiring vital skills from my coursework, carrying out this study has expanded my wedding planning skills and helped me get an idea of the prevailing market environment; the opportunities, challenges, and threats. Considering that I posses good time management, planning, negotiation, and communication skills in addition to resourcefulness, ability to multi-task, creativity, and a good ability to make sound and timely decisions, I believe that I will be able to meet market demands.

The advent of colonization, industrialization, and urbanization led to the erosion of strong communal ties, leaving the wedding planning responsibility to immediate families. In recent times, however, work-related responsibilities and globalization have further strained family ties, making the coordinated participation of family members difficult. For this reason, couples are increasingly looking up to professional wedding planners to plan and manage their events. For this reason, there has been a surge in the demand for professional wedding planners. Additionally, the wedding industry is rapidly growing and is currently a multi-billion sector that employs millions of people. Current trends suggest that the industry will continue to grow. This will create more employment opportunities going forward, with those who can meet market demands likely to benefit immensely. Unfortunately, the wedding industry has a significant number of un-professional event planners, with most offering sub-standard services. The skills I have learnt will, therefore, give me an edge in the market since I will be able to rise above competition.

Current trends pose a number of challenges to wedding planning. Notably, in future,  I am likely to face challenges like an increased demand for wedding sophistication that has contributed to logistical challenges in coordinating between wedding planners, vendors, and clients; an increased need for cultural competency with the increase in cultural exchange and intermarriages between persons from different cultural backgrounds, necessitating the reconciliation  of cultural differences pertaining to wedding rituals; increased risk management demands posed by some in unique wedding themes and locations; and the demand for better budget planning and management  because clients expect more than their budgets can secure. I, however, feel adequately prepared to overcome such.

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Appendices

Appendix I

Table 1: 2014 Average Wedding Budget Breakdown (Changes in average spending between 2013 and 2014). Adapted from PR News Wire (2015). Available at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-knot-the-1-wedding-site-releases-2014-real-weddings-study-statistics-300049675.html

Category 2014 National
Average Spend
2013 National
Average Spend
Overall Wedding (excluding honeymoon) $31,213 $29,858 ↑
Venue (reception hall) $14,006 $13,385 ↑
Photographer $2,556 $2,440 ↑
Wedding/Event Planner $1,973 $1,874 ↑
Reception Band $3,587 $3,469 ↑
Reception DJ $1,124 $1,038 ↑
Florist/Decor $2,141 $2,069 ↑
Videographer $1,794 $1,700 ↑
Wedding Dress $1,357 $1,281 ↑
Groom’s Attire and Accessories $254 $248 ↑
Wedding Cake $555 $546 ↑
Ceremony Site $1,901 $1,793 ↑
Ceremony Musicians $637 $588 ↑
Invitations $439 $443 ↓
Transportation/Limousine $767 $732 ↑
Favors $275 $281 ↓
Rehearsal Dinner $1,206 $1,184 ↑
Engagement Ring $5,855 $5,598 ↑
Catering (price per person) $68 $66 ↑
Officiant $266 $260 ↑

Appendix II: Questionnaire

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR WEDDING TRENDS

This questionnaire is part of a study on the emerging wedding trends and their impact on wedding planning. I would be grateful if you take your time to answer the questions below as this will help me in completing my study. The information provided in this questionnaire will be confidential and under no circumstances will your individual responses be released to third parties. Participation in this project is voluntary and you are free to discontinue at any time. However, your participation will be greatly appreciated.

SECTION A

  1. Current place of residence (Country) ———-
  2. Gender:

Male___

Female___

  1. Which of the following categories best describes your current position?

Student ___
Unemployed___
Employed____

SECTION B

  1. Are you married?

Yes___

No____

  1. If married, how many years have you been married? ______
  2. Where did you get married? Describe the venue________________________

_______________________________________________________________

  1. How did you plan your wedding?
  2. Which of the following resources did you consult during your wedding planning process?
Weddings websites [ ]
T.V wedding shows [ ]
Magazines [ ]
Wedding Planners [ ]
Social sites [ ]
Wedding fairs [ ]
Friend’s wedding and family [ ]
  1. What factors did you consider in your wedding plan (Choose 3)?
Finances  [ ]
Tradition  [ ]
Time/Season  [ ]
Personal interests and Gender [ ]
Social pressure [ ]
Family [ ]
Others [ ]
  1. What factors influenced your choice of venue?
No. of guests  [ ]
Uniqueness  [ ]
Budget  [ ]
Type of Venue [ ]
Logistics [ ]
Availability [ ]
  1. What is your dream wedding venue? __________________________
  2. Would you let a wedding planner/ family/ friend choose a wedding venue, wedding cake design, theme, or number of guests for you?
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