The Decline of the Wedding Industry and Marriage

Earlier this month, David’s Bridal, the chain retail store specializing in wedding dresses, prom gowns and other formal wear, filed for bankruptcy. The brand does not expect any major store closings or liquidation sales and the store said this is an official statement:

“Our financial outlook is strong and we have ample liquidity to meet our key business objectives today and in the future,” the company said in a statement emailed to Bloomberg. “We do not expect this process to materially impact our business or interfere with day-to-day operations or our relationships with customers and vendors.”  

So, why the bankruptcy? Marriage rates have been slowly decreasing in recent years despite the large of amount of millennials that are around the common “marriage” age. They are opting to wait longer to get married, choose the single life or just have a family without the pomp and circumstance of getting married.

According to statista.com, marriage rates fell from 9.8 marriages per 1000 people in 1990 to 6.9 marriages per 1000 people in 2016. Millennials are redefining marriage and when to get to married:

  • 29% feel like they aren’t financially ready

  • 26% haven’t found someone with the right qualities

  • 26% feel they are too young to settle down

Via BBC

So what is causing that financial insecurity that millennials are having that deters them from marriage?  

The millennials that are skipping out on marriage right now are the ones who graduated college and became “adults” around the time of the Recession in 2007. “That led to high rates of unemployment and underemployment, lower income, higher rates of poverty, and lower rates of homeownership among young adults compared to previous generations,” according to census.com.  

Another reason is due to the amount of student loan debt they acquire over their time in college. The average amount of student loan debt per student in the U.S. is $37,172 for the Class of 2016 according to Forbes.com.

Via Unsplash

Millennials are now waiting longer to get married (if they even decide to). According to a study by eHarmony, they found that millennials are more inclined to wait longer and get to know the person better before they marry them. On average, they are waiting about six and half years to know someone before getting married, which is longer compared to past generations that have waited only five on average.

In a Bloomberg article, it was found that more couples are choosing to not get married at all since it’s become more socially acceptable to just live with your partner.

The last common reason is the pressure of personal growth, career success and stability before getting married. Most millennials are not only earning their Bachelor’s before they get married, but their Master’s and sometimes their PhDs before they even consider settling down, which leads back to the student loan debt issue. Many of them want to focus on finding their career path or dream job before tying the knot.

Marriage is slowly moving lower and lower down the “How to Adult” list that millennials develop when dreaming about how the rest of their life will look. It doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon.