Why weddings generate more business for the high street
With the wedding season in full swing, a recent report shows the growing cost of getting hitched – with the average UK wedding reaching £8,000 (£15,000 for under 35s!). It’s not just the bride and groom that feel the pressure, with guests having to stump up more cash for outfits, gifts, stag/hen dos and the big day itself, as weddings get more lavish. Something often has to give, and for many it can mean cutting down on the dress that gets worn only once versus scrimping on the experience – with a quarter of brides claiming to have used high street players for their wedding dresses. The same can be said for guests; we’ve found they are ever more likely to seek out versatile outfits that provide more than wear-it-once value. We take a look at the brands embracing this trend and the opportunities it opens up for next year’s collections.
The high street has never looked so good for getting hitched!
It’s not new news to see high street retailers dipping their toes in this arena – many have tried (and many failed) selling wedding ranges for years. But we believe this year marked a step change in the number taking it seriously. Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Boohoo.com, Missguided, Other Stories and Whistles all debuted their first bridal collections whilst the likes of ASOS and Ted Baker upped the ante on dresses for brides and bridesmaids alike. For many, the high street has started to offer something quite appealing in bridal options – designs became more unique and that bit braver with colour options vaster than just a few different shades of white. Fabrics, prints and design became more casual and more playful. As the pressure to stand out mounts amongst brides the high street becomes a more viable option. Whilst many bridesmaids breathe a sigh of relief at the ability to choose a style they love and save the bride and groom some cash!
Potential to dial up the buying experience
The process of shopping for THE dress and visiting many specialist boutiques is a loved part of the bride-to-be experience. One-on-one bridal advice and suggestions – combined with free bubbly and sharing the excitement with friends and family – come as standard in these stores. High street brands have little opportunity to compete with this level of experience given the vast amount of other product their stores have to cater for. Instead, there’s opportunity for the high street to put more effort into staging in-store lock-in events and pop-ups to raise the profile of and excitement surrounding their wedding ranges. This could ideally be combined with wider ideas for the big day, e.g. along the lines of the Etsy and West Elm in-store wedding pop-up. There’s also opportunity to provide recommended alteration services to take the headache out of achieving the perfect fit.
We think 2018 will see even more high street retailers try to get a slice of the wedding market as costs remain on the up and stylish designs at decent prices make shopping sense.