You would think with all the TV shows focused on wedding dresses and décor that brides are obsessed with fashion and style ... and that might be true to some extent. But our research shows that most brides are much more practical about their areas of concern.
We surveyed 836 brides on what were their three areas of biggest concern relating to their wedding, and they said that staying on budget, booking venues and beauty/fitness were the three things that weigh most heavily on their minds.
Although shopping for wedding dresses/attire and managing event details were also top replies, it was topics that involve money, timelines and fitness that were of biggest concern. This makes sense in a few ways. Because many brides these days are on a tight budget, they are often stressed out about being able to afford everything they want for their big day. In addition, booking a venue can be a big logistical and timing challenge (and often some of the details are out of a bride's control, which can be really aggravating). And fitness is an issue for many Americans, so the added pressure of fitting into a dress and looking perfect for your big day is just more stress.
So where do brides go for inspiration and guidance to calm your fears and find the answers you need? Why, to the Internet, of course.
Our survey shows that the first four places you look for wedding planner inspiration are wedding websites, wedding-related blogs, online search engines and online wedding forums, followed by bridal magazines, shopping at wedding boutiques and bridal shows. Seeing as how you are reading this on a wedding-related blog, this probably doesn't surprise you.
However, what might surprise you is that many of your fellow brides, when asked about their main source of aid throughout their planning, ranked the Internet (17.8%) closely behind their fiancés (28.4%) and their mothers (21.3%) as their main source of aid.
For a company that prides itself in providing brides and wedding consultants with the best online tools for planning and managing events, we are a bit flattered by this bit of news. But it also should be followed up with a cautionary tale.
Granted, the Internet is a fabulous resource for guidance and comparison shopping. However, we have heard more than a few stories of wedding Web burnout. In addition, you can find tons of wedding vendors on the Internet, but any online reviews of those vendors should be taken with a large grain of salt (as they could be padded with positive reviews or squelched by unfairly negative ones).
Our advice is to surf in moderation and trust your instincts about your wedding. In addition, once you have compiled a list of vendors from the Internet, you should look elsewhere for recommendations and insights about these vendors. Ask your married friends. Ask other, unrelated vendors you trust for recommendations (that is, ask your trusted florist if she knows of a good caterer). Ask people at your health club, your place of worship, etc. Even ask your Facebook friends. This is where word-of-mouth still rules.
Think of the Internet as a combination phone book/bridal magazine. It's a place where you can get lots of great ideas and find all types of information on vendors and venues. However, there's no substitute to getting out and interviewing each prospective wedding planner, vendor and venue to get a feel for them and if they would be a good fit for you and your plans.