“An exploratory study of the behaviours and motives of brides, in order to understand why brides are using social media to plan their wedding.”
A wedding is viewed as a once in a lifetime event; it is typically believed couples will get married once and the marriage will last a lifetime, due to this there is an immense amount of pressure put on the couple to make the day perfect (Otnes and Pleck 2003). Daniels and Loveless (2007) reveal wedding styles are constantly changing therefore reading the latest magazines is a vital part of the wedding planning process, alongside websites, blogs and social media. Wedding media has been condemned for encouraging lavish weddings and distracting from the commitments of a marriage (Otnes and Pleck 2003). This study explores the themes of social media and the motives for using social media in wedding planning. Also developed in this study is how ‘bridezilla’ behaviours are displayed during wedding planning, the key influences affecting a bride’s decision making process and lastly the effectiveness of online messaging boards. Daniels and Loveless (2007) and Ingraham (2008) have identified the subject area of weddings is one that lacks literature. The theoretical framework of this study is largely focused on Boden (2001; 2003), Daniels and Loveless (2007; 2014), Otnes and Pleck (2003) and Nelson and Otnes (2005) around the topic of weddings. For the discussion of motivation and behaviour in relation to the decision making process the study is largely focused on Maslow (1943) and Crompton and McKay (1997). The study adopted a qualitative approach and a total of 5 semi-structured interviews were carried out. A qualitative approach was found to be most suitable as there is no numerical way to describe the opinions of past and future brides. Semi-structured interview questions have the ability to probe in-depth answers from participants (Tracy 2013). The sample for this research study was newlywed women and brides-to-be. Each interview was carried out using an online platform and lasted between 25 and 45 minutes. The results demonstrated that social media is now a significant aspect in the wedding planning process. The results from this study generally agree with past studies and literature written around the topic of weddings. The study identified brides display behaviours such as perfectionism and impatience (Adrian 2006; Mead 2007; Engstrom 2012; Samek 2012) and brides are motivated to use social media due to the significant amount of information available to them (Nelson and Otnes 2005). Furthermore, the decision making process can be influenced by social media imagery and pressure from friends and family (Marcuse 1964; Hodgson 2002; Page and Connell 2006). The researcher was surprised to identify aspects of this study contradict with the current literature, previously it has been identified that the wedding dress is the most important purchase whereas this study has identified the rings and venue play a more significant role within a wedding.