Can wedding bliss begin in a warehouse club?

Articles
May 15, 2009

Can wedding bliss begin in a warehouse club?

If wedding preparation equates to foreplay, will new brides be satisfied doing it inside of a cavernous warehouse club? How about a supermarket? When she looks back on her special day, will she think that the money she saved by buying invitations, jewelry, favors, flowers, travel plans, and wedding cake in a mass channel outlet helped her save for a condominium? Or will she regret that she didn’t shop in higher-end stores, like millions of her predecessors? Large-format retailers are targeting this business, we believe, to align themselves with newly formed households that will be buying plenty in the years to come. In our opinion, they’ll work extremely hard to make a great first impression—and could win some long-term customers as a result. SupermarketGuru.com admires the initiative of Walmart, Costco, Publix, Albertson’s and Acme for finding a way to expose their stores as solution centers for the most important day of these young couples’ lives. If stores could help them save plenty on their weddings, the thinking goes, imagine how they could help these nascent households manage their budgets as they enter new life stages.

If wedding preparation equates to foreplay, will new brides be satisfied doing it inside of a cavernous warehouse club? How about a supermarket?

When she looks back on her special day, will she think that the money she saved by buying invitations, jewelry, favors, flowers, travel plans, and wedding cake in a mass channel outlet helped her save for a condominium?  Or will she regret that she didn’t shop in higher-end stores, like millions of her predecessors?

Large-format retailers are targeting this business, we believe, to align themselves with newly formed households that will be buying plenty in the years to come. In our opinion, they’ll work extremely hard to make a great first impression—and could win some long-term customers as a result.

SupermarketGuru.com admires the initiative of Walmart, Costco, Publix, Albertson’s and Acme for finding a way to expose their stores as solution centers for the most important day of these young couples’ lives.  If stores could help them save plenty on their weddings, the thinking goes, imagine how they could help these nascent households manage their budgets as they enter new life stages.

The timing might be perfect. Value and savings are top of mind today. And, as Smart Money cited, The Wedding Report market research firm said big-budget weddings are coming down:  Couples are expected to spend an average of $20,400 on their weddings in 2009, down 6.5% from 2008, and a 29% drop from the $28,700 average in 2007.

Some of the best savings opportunities available were uncovered by Smart Money, which shopped alongside some wedding planners:
•    The Martha Stewart collection of invitations at Walmart, $120 for 120 invitations vs. $800 or more for 100 invitations at a printer.
•    Bulk flowers at Sam’s Club to make six bouquets, $88 vs. $375 for pre-made bouquets at the florist.
•    A customizable wedding cake at Publix that feeds 100 people, $300 vs. $400 or more at the bakery or caterer.
•    A man’s white gold 14-carat 6mm wedding band, $157 at Costco vs. $400 at a jeweler.

The stakes are high in the bliss business, however. It will be hard to be forgiven for an error on a wedding day. So large-format retailers need to bring their A-game, or risk the wrath of a woman scorned and potentially hundreds of invited guests knowing about it immediately.