Economics and ethics drive today's wedding cost

A realistic wedding budget can't be based on guesswork. So before paying the first wedding cost, it's essential for the professional wedding planner and couples doing their own wedding planning to understand the origins, economics, and ethics of the multibillion-dollar wedding industry. How did the industry become so large? Which sectors most influence consumer spending? What are the most expensive items in the typical wedding budget, where are they made, and how high are they marked up? Who's responsible for keeping a couple's wedding budget on track, and what's the proper role of the professional wedding planner in controlling wedding cost? What's a fair wedding planner fee? And whose interests should an ethical wedding planner serve?

Photo courtesy Kiet Do

Online Wedding Planning Helps Control Today's Wedding Cost

An astonishing array of wedding ideas, wedding planning checklists, and wedding cost comparisons is available on the Internet. To promote their brand identity and increase their percentage of wedding-cost revenues, the wedding industry's biggest media companies have exploited the Internet information matrix to integrate product advertising, online sales, and direct marketing to couples getting married. This trend has dramatically reduced the earnings of independent bridal magazines and negatively affected the professional wedding planner fee. How can couples on a wedding budget penetrate the brand-name hype, navigate the fluff, and make intelligent decisions about high-ticket items like wedding rings and wedding dresses? How can a professional wedding planner compete in the new online universe, find new markets, and attract new business? How should today's professional wedding planner fee be calculated: as a percentage of total wedding cost, or as a flat fee within the total wedding budget?

Photo courtesy Kiet Do

Course Video Tutorial: 'An Economist-Ethicist Teaches the Wedding Business' (30:17)

The Rev. Allen Newman, PhD, is uniquely qualified to help the professional wedding planner and budget-minded couples comprehend the complexities of the wedding industry and control wedding cost. An economist with a doctoral degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he taught economics at Loyola and Tulane universities in New Orleans while serving as a Gulf Coast small-business management consultant for the Small Business Administration. An Episcopal priest with a divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York, he has collaborated with South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu, studied marriage customs around the world, and led multicultural parishes throughout New York State. Currently he's the rector of a predominantly Caribbean congregation in the Bronx and a business partner in Alan Brasington, Inc., an international enterprise providing staging accessories for upscale retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch, period props for major motion pictures such as 'Revolutionary Road,' and set elements for TV shows such as HBO's 'Boardwalk Express.' In this course video tutorial, Allen draws on his knowledge of economics and business ethics, his experience as a management consultant, and his entrepreneurial skills to teach Members how the wedding industry really works, how to make ethically informed buying decisions, and how to establish, promote, and diversify a wedding planner or wedding vendor business using an easy-to-understand, step-by-step approach.

The Rev. Allen Newman, PhD, Economist and Ethicist

Learn 12 essential elements of budgeting a wedding and building a wedding planner business:

  • The modest origins of the modern wedding
  • The anatomy of the wedding industry
  • Why industry spending statistics are unreliable
  • The invention of 'a diamond is forever'
  • The mass-marketing of the white wedding
  • The history and economics of bridal magazines
  • The rise and retailing of the gift registry
  • The new age of individual creativity
  • Mega-sourcing and multi-sourcing of wedding information and ideas
  • Mega-wedding planning websites like 'The Knot'
  • The evolution of the modern wedding planner
  • How to set up and market a wedding planning business

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