David’s Bridal wants to know “What’s On Brides’ Minds?”

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The fourth annual “What’s on Brides’ Minds” survey by David’s Bridal reveals that more than two-thirds (68%) of brides say they plan to spend less on their wedding in light of the current economic climate.

While the economy is still impacting overall wedding budgets, there are some signs of improvement. In 2009, three-quarters (75%) of respondents adjusted their budgets, however this year only 68% of engaged couples say their bottom-line has decreased. In addition, more than half (54%) of today’s brides revealed they do not plan to spend more than $25,000 on their wedding day, and the key to bringing that dream day to life is keeping priorities in check.

“Now more than ever, brides are looking for ways to achieve their dream weddings, while making smart purchases and staying within a tighter budget,” said Robert Huth, President and CEO of David’s Bridal. “As the leading national retailer trusted by more than 30% of brides, David’s Bridal offers affordable and exceptional fashion, quality and value, so true love doesn’t have to wait.”

Wedding Planning on a Budget

Many couples are strapped for cash, so they are finding creative ways to eliminate unnecessary luxuries.

  • Budget Matters: Of the 68% of brides who adjusted their wedding budget:
  • More than half (55%) cut up to a quarter from their total spend.
  • 14 percent say they will slash their budget in half.
  • 5 percent will have to cut it by more than three-quarters
  • Save Me the Money: Almost one-third (30%) of respondents plan to spend less than $10,000 on their big day, while only 22% have a total wedding budget over $50,000.
  • Cutting Cost Corners: Almost half (46%) of brides-to-be said they’d cut their guest list and 39% said they will likely spend less on the venue/location. 39% also indicated the wedding planner would get the boot.
  • No Compromises: When asked what items they refuse to compromise, the top responses were wedding bands (42%) and, not surprisingly, the wedding dress (35%).
  • Saving for the Ever After: Last year’s survey revealed that other than their wedding, 77% of recently engaged couples said their top economic priority was to pay off debt. This year, barely one in five (19%) ranked this as a leading concern. Today’s brides seem to be happily looking to the future, opting instead to save for a down payment on a home (24%) and prepare for a family (21%).

Finding “The One” – The Dress, That Is!

Buying a wedding dress is a big decision, and with limited funds, brides can find their gown without sacrificing style and quality for price.

  • The “A-Ha” Moment: Almost all (90%) respondents agreed that it’s important to try dresses on in their size, so they can better envision their big day look and have that “I just know it’s THE one” moment.
  • Beautiful and Budget-Friendly: Fifty percent of brides-to-be plan to spend less than $800 on their wedding gown and 57% say they do not plan to ask their bridesmaids to pony up more than $150 for their dresses.
  • Looking Beyond The Runway: More than half (54%) of future brides say a designer’s name is of little or no importance in their search for the gown of their dreams, affirming that most opt for affordable, yet fashionable styles that won’t break the bank.
  • Celebrity Style: One-third (33%) of brides plan to emulate celebrities’ wedding gown styles with Alyssa Milano, Gisele Bunchden and Khloe Kardashian Odom standing out for their A-list fashion sense.
  • Planning Ahead: More than one-third (36%) of brides say they began shopping for their gown nine months before their wedding, but more than half (56%) did not buy their gown until the big day was less than six months away.
  • After The Party: Almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents plan to preserve their gown for their children and 16% say they plan to sell or donate their gown to a charity organization.

Planning for the Big Day

While planning a wedding in today’s economy can be challenging, a little research and smart shopping goes a long way.

  • No Surprises: The survey revealed that 78% of brides involved their fiance in the planning process.
  • Fifty-five percent of brides-to-be said their men are helping plan the honeymoon and 45% lured their significant other with food, cake or wine tastings.
  • Only one-third (33%) of grooms chose to help out with the wedding planning.
  • Surfing the ‘Net: Brides go online to do their wedding research:
  • Almost half are looking for do-it-yourself tips (47%) and searching dress and accessory galleries for ideas (44%).
  • Thirty percent are heeding advice from other brides in online forums.
  • Green is the New White: About half (48%) of brides say they will be more eco-conscious in their wedding plans.
  • More than a quarter (26%) of respondents say they will use locally sourced food or flowers during their reception; another quarter (25%) chose to use recycled materials whenever possible.

This Internet survey was conducted by Infosurv, Inc. from December 3 – 8, 2009. A total of 500 surveys were completed among a national panel of women (ages 18 – 35) who were recently engaged or married. This study has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3% at the 95% confidence level.

Source: David’s Bridal

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Christian Wright

Christian Wright is the VP of Client Services at Infosurv. With a master’s in marketing research, he’s equipped to design actionable research that yields impactful insights and drives change.
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