Gone are the days when brides-to-be would stare at their dream wedding ring in a jeweller’s window, or spend hours trawling bridal dress shops. With the wedding industry investing in the digital age, women have it easier than ever when planning their big day.
Picture this. You’re sitting on your sofa with a glass of wine, staring at your left hand admiring the sparkling £28,900 2-carat princess cut Tiffany ring on your finger. Switch off your phone and reality hits, you’ve just used an app to find your dream engagement ring.
Tiffany & Co launched their free ring finder app, aimed at busy brides-to-be who juggle planning their wedding with careers. The app offers classic settings and cuts for customers to try in their own home or on their lunch hour. Take a quick snap of your hand and the ring appears, which can be resized to get a realistic feel of what it will look like.
Tiffany & Co are not alone, couples can plan everything from caterers to florists on their phones. Free apps such as Bridebook and WeddingSpot have folders and checklists for couples to stay organised with their wedding planning. So this is how the modern bride and bridal businesses are adapting to the digital age, is digital replacing tradition?
Sarah Jayne Adams, features editor at Belle Bridal magazine, suggests that apps might be a starting point for brides:
“When it comes to weddings, brides might start with an app but then they want to put a name and personality to it. You like to meet your suppliers and build a relationship with them when you’re planning your wedding. With the digital age I can see brides downloading apps but then further down the line going to find a wedding planner.”
According to the Hitched 2017 wedding survey, the average cost of a UK wedding is £27,161, the highest cost it has ever been. Suggesting couples are still spending a lot of money for their perfect day.
Lauren Thompson, a 26-year-old bride-to-be from Sunderland, is starting to use wedding planning apps.
Web designer Lauren said: “The main reason I downloaded apps was to see the local suppliers. If you input where you are from, the app shortlists local venues and gives you an idea of how much they cost which makes it less overwhelming.
“It would be amazing to be able to pay someone to plan the wedding but I’m keen to do as much of the planning as I can to keep the cost of the wedding down.”
Wedding planning apps might be accessible and keep costs down, but brides may choose a wedding planner as part of the experience of getting married.
Dawn Marie, a Northumberland based wedding planner, insists hiring a wedding planner is still the best way to organise the big day.
She said: “Weddings are a big deal to the brides who I work with, they want to know everything is going to be right. They don’t want to plan their wedding on a screen and they want to know who they are dealing with. You don’t get that personal touch with wedding planning apps and that is what people want.”
Vikki McCarthy, owner of Seaham based wedding dress designers House of Mooshki is embracing the smartphone revolution. Her business launched an app that helps brides design their wedding dress.
Vikki said: “A lot of girls can’t describe what kind of dress they want in words, so what we are trying to do is give them something that they can sit and experiment with in their own time. It is innovative for the wedding industry.
“The app is a resource to help brides decide on their dress. Weddings cost a lot of money so each decision has to be the right one.”
House of Mooshki launched their app earlier this year, with over 100 downloads in the first day it was available. Brides’ custom designed their gowns on the app before showing Mooshki stockists. Apps might be helping brides, but they are helping businesses too.
Vikki added: “Brides would email us with an idea of what dress they had in mind. The app is making it easier for our business and for the bride because they can see their dress coming together.”
However, can the personal shopping experience be beaten? Lottie Martin, co-curator at London’s Wedding Gallery, says that this will depend on the client.
She said: “Being with an expert who can guide you and get to know your personality is always going to be really valuable because they will give you the personal touch which is what you will be paying for.
“We opened our booking system a few weeks ago and we already have over 250 bookings in the diary so it seems to be proving popular that people can come in and be guided by experts”
Apps may save time and money, but it’s evident that the choice between an app or personal experience is down to the bride. With the digital age, who knows which bridal apps will be available next.
Are you a bride-to-be who will be using wedding planning apps? Let us know which ones you’ll be using at @Fashion_North!