Will we see the wedding industry disappear within our lifetime?

If you dream about walking your child down the aisle on their wedding day, you're in for a brutal awakening.

Apparently, kids these days say it isn't cool to get married anymore. A new survey from the Thriving Center of Psychology found two in 5 people aren't interested in tying the knot.

This seemingly reflects a growing trend among younger generations about redefining relationships. Marriages have plummeted across the continental U.S. in recent years, with the U.S. Census Bureau finding an increasing number of unwed residents.

To compare: In 1950, about 1 in four people over age 15 never took a trip down the aisle. In 2022, that number rose to one in 3.


Meaning, marriage rates have fallen roughly 60 percent.

A leading reason why Millennial and Gen Z people are now avoiding the altar is because they view the tradition as outdated. Roughly 85 percent of those polled add they don't think marriage is necessary to have a fulfilled and committed relationship.

Even more, 72 percent said they simply aren't interested in jumping the broom.

One Upstate NY city was also found to be one of the most marriage-averse cities in the country. Buffalo reported having the 17th largest population of unmarried couples in America.

New York is harming the wedding industry, too

While Millennials and Gen-Z are redefining long-term relationships, the price tag for a wedding has also exploded since the 1950s.

SmartAsset recently investigating the skyrocketing costs and found that throwing a wedding ceremony is more expensive than putting an average 13% down payment on a home.

When investigating all the metro areas within the U.S., Upstate and Central New York had some of the worst scores, meaning couples here are better off buying a hose than saying "I do."

Syracuse had the second worst overall score.

The average price of a wedding in Syracuse is $31,304, which is 31.44% more than a 13% home down payment ($23,816). This metro area is home to rich architectural landmarks and historic buildings, which likely makes it a popular wedding destination. But with home prices among the lowest in our study, putting a 13% home down payment in Syracuse could be more affordable than a wedding.

Two other Upstate NY cities circled the bottom of the drain. Rochester ranked fifth worst, with the average wedding costing $31,340, which amounted to roughly 25 percent than a regular down payment.

Photos by Lanty via Unsplash
Photos by Lanty via Unsplash

The Buffalo-Cheektowaga area ranked ninth worst in this survey, with the average wedding costing about $32,394, which is roughly 15% higher than an average down payment on a home.

What does this mean for the bridal industry?

We are probably already seeing the ripple effects of this new trend, with wedding behemoths like David's Bridal narrowly avoiding a complete shutdown after filing for bankruptcy in April.

The same couldn't be said for Bed Bath & Beyond, which was a go-to place for wedding registries.

Speaking of go-to places, it should noted that David's Bridal sells roughly 25 percent of all wedding dresses in the country, so they are almost too big to fail.

We saw a preview of what can go wrong during the disastrous bankruptcy liquidation of Alfred Angelo Bridal in 2017. All locations abruptly closed, which screwed over countless bridal parties who had yet to pick up their outfits.

Panicked brides even tried breaking into their buildings to retrieve the dresses they already purchased. Those dresses were ultimately lost when landlords seized the stores or lost to liens from shippers or the warehouses.

A lawsuit was eventually launched that outlined $20 million in claims from creditors and their clients.

Credit- Tim Newman/Think Stock

However, what appears to be the biggest threat against the wedding industry is the major shift in consumer behavior. Not only are wedding parties seeking alternative retailers in hopes of cutting costs, ceremonies are now becoming less formal.

This shift impacts venues, with brides and grooms seeking more casual affairs than traditional places.

Speaking of traditions, several unspoken rules are also being broken. For example, less people are abiding by the rule they can't wear white or red to a wedding.

For example, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck invited people to wear white to their swanky ceremony.

And while clothing and costs are shaping the wedding narrative, I should point out the United States is also chipping away at these so-called marriage traditions.

The advantages of marriage are vanishing

Society as a whole has eased up on pressuring young couples to tie the knot. Additionally, more people are having children out of wedlock.

In 1994, roughly 25% of all babies born in the U.S. were out of wedlock, which was already six times more than numbers from 1950.

Nowadays, that number is closer to 50 percent.

newborn baby portrait with funny shocked face expression

While there are taxes and legal structures that benefit married couples, economists find those advantages are on the decline while more opportunities are rising for unwed couples.

Unmarried couples can now take advantage of certain tax breaks for items like IRA contributions and child tax credits.

However, these couples are still unable to file a joint tax return at the end of the year, which may translate to lower tax rates and higher deductions.

Still, with attitudes changing toward marriage among younger folks, Uncle Sam may do some reconsidering of his own in the near future.

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