Trend Alert: Rise of the Quickie Wedding

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Quickie wedding chapelFor decades, Las Vegas has been the unquestioned home of the proverbial quickie wedding.  Whether it’s an elopement, a shotgun wedding, an Elvis wedding or even a drive-through wedding, Las Vegas has historically been the destination of choice in the US thanks to the city’s favorable wedding laws (for example, no blood tests or waiting periods are required).  But now other states are starting to encroach on Las Vegas’ dominant position as they try and capitalize on the increasing popularity of quickie weddings.

This trend has been gaining momentum for several years now.  Weddings are still the second largest industry in Las Vegas after gambling in terms of revenue ($800 million per year).  But since 2004, Las Vegas’ overall wedding market share has declined by over 30% as states like New York and Mississippi have jumped into the fray by streamlining their wedding laws. New Jersey is also considering passing similar legislation.  In 2009, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg even went so far as to convert the Manhattan Marriage Bureau into a 24,000 square foot wedding venue specifically to capitalize on the quickie wedding trend.

There are 2 main reasons for this emerging trend.  One is that today’s culture is the antithesis of the 1980’s “me” culture.  In this day and age, more is less – period.   As such, today’s couples are less inclined to opt for a grandiose, traditional wedding, and in fact many couples aim to make a statement by purposefully going against the excesses inherent in traditional weddings.  The second reason is that weddings are expensive, and in this economy many couples simply cannot afford anything except a quickie wedding.

The impact of this trend will be interesting to follow for the next few years.  I expect the shotgun wedding trend to continue to grow in the foreseeable future due to the reality that elaborate affairs are becoming increasingly passé (and expensive).  I also expect more states to follow in the footsteps of New York, New Jersey and Mississippi and lighten their wedding laws in an effort to grab their share of the growing quickie wedding industry.  Obviously Las Vegas is going to continue to take a hit thanks to the increasing level of competition.  That said, the city’s wedding industry is continuing to fight back by promoting gimmick weddings such as the dreaded “Armageddon” package for December 21, 2012 (you know, the end of the Mayan calendar…).

If you like analyzing wedding trends and statistics, I’ve got a great resource for you.  To learn more about these and other wedding trends, check out the various reports at theweddingreport.com.  Yes it’s a paid membership site, but it costs less than $100 and the tools and analytics the service provides are definitely invaluable for anyone in the wedding industry. 

Also, be sure to follow my wedding blog to keep up to date as well.  Enjoy!

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