Connect Marriage

HerMoney Podcast Episode 266: Weddings In 2021 And How Everything Has Changed 

Kathryn Tuggle  |  May 19, 2021

"I do"... not want to spend so much on a wedding. A look at what brides really want in 2021, and how to cut costs while still keeping it fun.

It’s now mid-May, and it won’t be long before many of us are reaching for those summer sundresses… or perhaps a very special white dress! We’ve heard from many of our listeners that there are nuptials in your future this summer, so we decided to put together a very special show for you! (And if nuptials are not in your future, we promise this show is for you, too — whether you’re a mother-of-the-bride or groom, a bridesmaid, or even just a wedding guest, we’ve got you covered!) 

Because the truth is that we’re all much more likely to see wedding invitations popping into our mailboxes over the course of the next year, given the number of ceremonies that were postponed due to the pandemic. According to data from The Knot, nearly half of couples with weddings originally scheduled for 2020 opted to postpone at least part of their celebration until this year, and one third of all couples who got married in 2020 are planning a bigger “sequel” celebration for 2021 or 2022… And countless other couples downsized their weddings, with 42% hosting what’s been called a “minimony,” a small ceremony with up to 10 family members or close friends. 

But it’s not just the size of gatherings that have changed — more couples are getting married closer to home, with 40% of people are now saying “I do” in their hometown, up more than 15% since 2019, according to a report from WeddingWire. Also, more couples are now choosing to get married outdoors or in the private homes of family and close friends. 

It’s clear that a LOT about the wedding industry has changed over the last few months — right down to the dresses. Which is why we were so excited to sit down this week with Grace Lee and Monica Ashauer, co-founders of Birdy Grey, an affordable online-only bridesmaid attire company, known for its $99 bridesmaid dresses, accessories, and gifts. Grace and Monica are often referred to as “industry disruptors” who have changed the way the $3 billion bridesmaid apparel market operates… Since 2017, Birdy Grey has raised over $3.5 million in seed funding, and despite a 50% decline in weddings, their company saw 80% growth in 2020. 

Grace and Monica tell Jean all about their entrepreneurial journey, and how they got their start. We know how difficult it can be for female founders to raise capital — they share how they did it. They also share how their business pivoted and evolved in the face of the pandemic, and how the last year + changed the way they work as a team. (Yes, they dive into how they managed to grow by 80% in 2020!) 

Because as much as the pandemic impacted wedding receptions, it also deeply impacted dress buying. According to a report from WeddingWire, 53% of 2020 brides never went in-store to try on dresses, and 45% of brides said that they researched wedding attire almost exclusively online. We also talk about overall wedding industry changes during the pandemic — more brides are registering for practical home must-haves, or even asking for contributions to buy their entire home rather than traditional wedding registry items. 

Grace, who is planning her own wedding this fall, also gets candid about what has changed priority-wise for her and her fiancee. But it’s not just brides we discuss — Jean, Grace and Monica also dive into bridesmaid responsibilities. Yes, weddings can be very expensive for the happy couple, but also incredibly expensive for the bridesmaids when you take a look at bachelorette showers, flights, hotels, dresses… it really adds up. We take a look at how those demands have shifted in the face of the pandemic, and we get real about how to talk to your friends and family if a time comes when you simply can’t afford to attend or be a part of their wedding. 

In Mailbag, we tackle a question from a bride who is debating whether or not to pay $9,000 for the ability to have a father-daughter dance at her wedding, and Jean advises a woman who is unsure if she should spring for a wedding gift for her son after she’s already purchased him a condo and paid for more than a fourth of all wedding costs. Lastly, we hear from a listener who is debating an investment property but is unsure if she can afford it. Then, in Thrive, Jean breaks down how, what, and when to teach your kids about money. 

This podcast is proudly supported by Fidelity Investments. Life is full of big moments—both the planned and the unexpected. Fidelity can help you navigate both with confidence. Learn more at Fidelity.com/HerMoney. Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC Member NYSE, SIPC.

Editor’s note: We maintain a strict editorial policy and a judgment-free zone for our community, and we also strive to remain transparent in everything we do. Posts may contain references and links to products from our partners. Learn more about how we make money.

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