“A new market for weddings” — Market makers in everything

by on October 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

Here is a new service:

Over 250,000 weddings are called off every year.
We purchase cancelled weddings and resell them to new couples.

Sellers recover deposits and upfront costs hassle-free.
Venues and providers enjoy uninterrupted business as usual.
Buyers find beautiful, pre-planned weddings at a fraction of the price.

Register with us and help us build a new market for weddings.

For the pointer I thank John Farrier.

go October 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Fascinating. Do you have to sign up before you actually know that the wedding is cancelled? If so, the behavioural economics behind individuals signing onto this would be very similar to prenups, I imagine – the fact that you’re giving yourself a safety net shows that you’re not as committed to the marriage. (For the Bridal Brokerage, not as committed to going through with it; for a prenup, not as committed to making it work in the long run.)

Cliff October 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I think requesting a prenup indicates that you have substantial assets to protect. Having a prenup probably results in LESS divorce under those circumstances. Usually the man has the money, and usually the woman initiates the divorce. Know of any studies?

Millian October 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Do women usually initiate the events causing divorce, or initiate the legal proceedings?

DocMerlin October 11, 2012 at 6:33 pm

2 to 1 they initiate the divorce proceedings. Also the vast majority of proceedings are as a result of “irreconcilable differences.”

Urso October 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I imagine the chain goes like this. Prenup correlates with money, money correlates with higher educational attainment, higher educational attainment correlates with lower divorce rate.

The more interesting question is whether you can hold those other variables constant and suss out a relationship between a prenup and divorce rates.

Bill October 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm

New products:

Weddings options.

Weddings sold short.

InTrade bet on your wedding.

mkt October 12, 2012 at 3:34 am

I remember many years ago seeing a headline about Drew Barrymore suddenly deciding to get married, and thinking that that marriage would likely end after a year or so. IIRC it lasted about one month.

Tony October 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Do the previously invited guests come as part of the package? After all, they might have made their travel arrangements already, and wouldn’t want to waste their plane tickets. It would be great for couples that don’t have any friends.

Urso October 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Guests are included, but the bride will cost extra.

crystal October 12, 2012 at 9:27 am

Lol! Yes and it also includes that one drunken relative that crashes on your couch a week after the wedding!

Justin October 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm

But are most of those 250,000 weddings called off far enough in advance that someone else could reasonably use it and yet not so far in advance that there is enough invested to make a discount feasible? If a wedding for 100 guests gets called off a month in advance, for example, it would be rather difficult to coordinate the logistics of getting the wedding sold, getting invitations to those new guests, having those guests arrange vacation and travel, etc. given that most couples have at least some family that lives in other states. If that same wedding gets called off a year in advance, it would seem unlikely that there were enough arrangements completed and deposits paid to make it feasible to offer a discount big enough to offset the fact that the couple purchasing the wedding isn’t getting exactly what they would have picked out if given the opportunity. My rather non-scientific gut instinct is that weddings are either called off well in advance or at the last minute

Geoff Olynyk October 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Keep in mind that you might lose the deposit on the venue even if you called it off a year in advance – in big cities, bookings for summer Saturdays at popular facilities are now commonly made two years in advance. And making the booking requires a hefty (non-refundable) deposit.

dearieme October 11, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Two years in advance? But pregnancies finish in nine months. Changed days.

Cliff October 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm

If bookings can so easily be transferred, …arbitrage?

Michael B Sullivan October 11, 2012 at 8:50 pm

The idea is ingenious, but I do wonder how much room there is for the business. How does this work?

My wedding right now is 11 months out, and my total deposit thus far comprises less than 10% of the eventual expected cost of the wedding. While the time-frame is nice, there’s not much savings to be had in somebody who buys my (thankfully, not for sale!) wedding.

I’ll have a big increase in deposits at T-90 days, when I have to pay up to the halfway mark of my venue and catering bill, and I imagine that between now and then, I’ll also drop another 10-20% of the total bill in deposits for various vendors. So, for my wedding, I think that the deposit assets looks something like this:

T-11 months: 7% of total bill
… a slow slide upward to:
T-91 days: 25% of total bill
T-90 days: 70% of total bill
T-14 days: 95% of total bill (everything but some tips, basically)

So, probably the sweet spot for a buyer of my wedding is right at T-90 days, but the odds of the wedding coming onto the market right then seem low — and with a middleman business like this, it’s not clear that they could turn it around rapidly even if it did come onto the market then. Meanwhile, the wedding coming onto the market at T-95 days is pretty dubious — does the middleman want to buy the asset knowing that they have to pour a LOT more money into it in 5 days, or lose its value entirely?

How much does the middleman pay me that I’m willing to delve into all this stuff at, presumably, an emotional time for me?

Urso October 12, 2012 at 9:36 am

The middle man may be relying on your emotional state (or more likely, your bride’s emotional state) in an attempt to seriously lowball you. Funeral directors know well that people aren’t usually interested in haggling in times like these.

Great idea October 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Now combine this with regular all-you-can-drink events that are catering to singles and you can even create a just-in-time demand for the called-off weddings. Have a limo at the ready, given that 250k weddings are called off, the right venue might open up at the right time. Beats traveling to Vegas.

Also the young generation shies away from buying houses, cars, etc. So why not get a wedding on the cheap? Just invite your closest friends and family, even 90days should easily be enough for preperation.

Marian Kechlibar October 12, 2012 at 2:20 am

Hmm, what if two pairs cancel their respective weddings, then buy each other’s canceled wedding at a great discount?

Michael Sullivan October 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm

This only works if you imagine that the people taking the loss are the vendors (like, say: the middleman company aggressively negotiates lower rates from the vendors). It’s not entirely clear from the brief summary who takes the loss, but my gut is that the people taking the loss are the sellers, not the vendors.

So, in summary, couple A and couple B are both planning $30,000 weddings, and have both paid $10,000 deposits. When they sell their weddings, they recover only $5,000 of their deposits, so are still out $5,000. Then the middleman resells their deposits for $7,500 each. If they buy each other’s weddings, they pay $5,000 for their initial wedding, $7,500 for their purchased wedding’s deposits, and then another $20,000 for the balance of their purchased wedding, and each couple ends up paying $32,500 for a wedding that is really only worth $30,000. The $5,000 in total profit goes to the middleman.

whirlstonsally October 12, 2012 at 5:44 am

Tks for share.

Nancy Lebovitz October 12, 2012 at 6:22 am

It all does seem unlikely to work. I wonder how not having to do a bunch of the planning balances off against not getting to make the choices.

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