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Offbeat wedding market lessons #1: 43% of nontraditional couples pay for their own weddings

Huddle up close, wedding industry readers and anyone else who likes to nerd-out on market research. This week Liene Stevens of Think Splendid released her market research about the nontraditional wedding market, and there are some FASCINATING tidbits. This week, I'll be putting on my demographer's hat and highlighting five unique aspects of the nontraditional wedding market.

First, know this: about 20% of the wedding market identifies as "offbeat." This is a surprise to me, as I thought it was only about 10%. This makes it so that the offbeat wedding market is about as big as the destination wedding market — um, holy shit!? I had no idea.

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Small business mercy killing: When to euthanize a project

Fall of 2010, I launched the Offbeat Bride Vendor Directory, which was immediately one of the biggest business successes I've ever had, grossing over $20,000 the month it launched. Listing vendors reported great results (some getting inquiries within hours of their listings being published), and readers loved that they could finally easily view vendors in their area via a big clickable map.

Excited by the success of Offbeat Bride's Vendor Directory, last year I propagated the directory concepts to both Offbeat Mama and Offbeat Home.

They didn't work, SO I KILLED THEM.

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What it sounds like when you're passionate about web development

Lately, my Chief Technology Officer/web developer J.M. Dodd has been doing more and more custom WordPress plugin development. I'll ping her with a request ("Can we make it so that we can easily see a list of Offbeat Bride vendor listings that are expiring in a given month?") and she'll spend some time whipping up a custom plugin that does exactly what I need to to.

Part of why the two of us work so well together is so we're both so passionate about using web development to solve the problems of doing business. I get a genuine buzz out of identifying a problem ("It's really hard for my sales rep to see which listings are expiring…"), pitching a solution ("J.M. Dodd, what if we had a drop down menu on WordPress's main Edit Posts page that showed Expiration by month?"), and then seeing J.M. Dodd work her magic to make it happen. After the magic occurs, there's some serious nerding out and gloating that generally happens:

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Vendor tips: how to get blacklisted from Offbeat Bride's comments

I interact with dozens and dozens of amazing wedding vendors every day, and for the most part, it's an amazing industry filled with inspired, independent, creative, and whip-smart people. Unfortunately, however, there are always a few small business owners who are still playing catch-up when it comes to blog commenting etiquette.