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(Published: 2011-06-28)

There has been a lot of attention focused on weddings recently, with the pageantry of the Royal Wedding last month, and the legalizing of gay marriages in New York last week. June seems a good month to examine Trends and Countertrends in the world of nuptials.

June is the most popular month for weddings in the US. Of the 2.3 million couples that wed each year, almost 11% will marry in the month of June. The average bride and groom will have a wedding budget of $20,000, the average number of invited guests is 178, and one-third of those getting married each year have been married before.

While browsing the magazine section in Barnes & Noble last weekend, I was astounded to find 22 publications devoted to weddings, including Brides, The Knot, Destination Weddings, and Wedding Cakes. Oh, and one for the guys-- The Sophisticated Groom.

Sunday’s NY Times had an article about evolving wedding roles. It seems that some brides are opting for flower men, instead of flower girls. A psychologist was quoted as saying “It’s a significant shift to have the male be the flower girl because it introduces a male who represents gentility, flowers and femininity. It’s just another step toward the dismantling of the patriarchal formation of the marriage.” Hmmmmm.

Speaking of dismantling, I checked the other end of the spectrum for divorce trends. Although divorce rates have tapered off slightly, the rate still hovers at 50%. No magazines devoted to divorce, but The Huffington Post recently launched a new divorce section, written by none other than Nora Ephron. (

Divorce registries are popping up everywhere. British department store Debenhams introduced a gift registry for the newly divorced last year. A company spokesperson explained the move was done “to reflect the increasing popularity of greeting cards, parties, and cakes celebrating divorces, as well as to provide assistance to someone who has had to divide the assets.” (Leave it to the retailers.)

The divorce party in particular seems to be getting a lot of traction. Heather Mills threw a big bash after her divorce from Paul McCartney. The NY Times recently reported on an elegant event held in Manhattan where two socialites threw a party to call it quits among their closest friends. The article was titled: “Divorce, in Style.” (Great opportunity for caterers.)

Italy, that most Catholic of countries, is also capitalizing on divorce trends. The first divorce fair was organized last year to offer life coaching and beauty advice to a booming number of separating couples. (Really….beauty advice?)

Will Rogers once said: “I guess the only way to stop divorce is to stop marriage.” I don’t see that happening any time soon. In the mean time, whether you’re tying or untying, consider yourself up to speed on the latest trends and countertrends.

Happily never after?


Robyn Waters is president and founder of RW Trend, LLC. She is the author of The Trendmaster’s Guide: Get a Jump on What Your Customer Wants Next, and The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape. Learn more about Robyn at All Rights Reserved.

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