Q&A: Four wedding trends and a prediction with online registry and retailer Zola

Weddings are back. About 2.6 million weddings are expected to take place in the United States this year, per The Tie. Insider Intelligence spoke with Rachel Jarrett, President and COO of Zola, an online wedding registry, planner and retailer, about how couples are getting ready and changing the way they say “I do”.

Insider Intelligence: What are the current wedding trends?

Rachel Jarret: The wedding industry has benefited from the pandemic shift to more things online, including planning. Couples use Zola to shop and plan all their weddings, from saving dates to wedding albums. Couples and guests are feeling more comfortable buying everything online than ever before.

Additionally, we are seeing couples have longer engagements than before, with the average being 18 months versus the previous 12. This means that couples have been thinking about their marriage for much longer and defining their vision for the day. There has always been meaning in weddings, but the meaning of weddings has been heightened and people are feeling very emotional about them right now.

Couples want their weddings to be a reflection of who they are as a couple, and they want to give it their own unique touch, which is why we’ve launched our local vendor marketplace to help them do just that. Couples can research local vendors, florists, photographers, venues and caterers to find the perfect fit for their vision. If they can’t find it locally, we have our check-in business and work directly with major brands like Brooklinen, Cuisinart or KitchenAid to ship specific items to us.

II: From the creation of an online community, what benefit does it bring to users?

RJ: We recently launched our in-app community of Zola couples who share ideas and ask each other questions. This allowed couples to find support and expand their creativity by getting ideas from others. One of the things people love to get creative with is their wedding hashtag, and we’re seeing a lot of threads about it in the community.

Our platform is incredibly flexible, allowing you to shape your journey and plan exactly what works for you. For example, instead of ordering your paper from thousands of other designs, you can upload your own. And we put QR codes on our paper invitations or paper save the dates. The pandemic has helped QR codes make a comeback, allowing you to direct people to your website, which is completely personalized to you.

II: What changes are coming for weddings and how are you responding to consumer desires as cultural trends evolve?

RJ: There will still be a huge amount of weddings at the end of this year and in 2023. The pandemic has drawn people closer together and sucked in more connection overall – and sucked in those times with friends and family, like at a marriage.

Couples will always want to give their unique touch to their wedding. More couples will move away from some of the traditions rooted in traditional patriarchal norms. We see fewer couples where the father walks the bride down the aisle; instead, it is both parents. We see fewer people tossing the bouquet. There has been an increase in sensitivity around some of these traditions.

Zola had a media campaign on International Women’s Day featuring women proposing to men. We only see 2% of women proposing to men in heterosexual relationships. We would like to see this change.

We want to see the industry embrace greater diversity at all levels and represent different cultures and types of people in everything from marketing to wedding vendors catering to all types of needs.

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