The Mobile Millennial: A Marriage of Convenience

AnthropologieDepartment Manager

Engaging with the Generation Y consumer is a new trend in the marital marketplace today. While money management and marital obligations were certainly not topics covered in high school home economics, recent surveys have found that Generation Y isn’t romanticizing their path to maturity; they are rather conveniently automating it.

If you find yourself perusing through your social media and you find yourself scrolling through an excessive amount of relationship status updates or your Twitter feed is filled with hashtags like #GroomToBe #SheSaidYes #WeAreEngaged, then you're not alone (on second thought, maybe you are, but don’t fret there’s an app for that).

We spend more time than ever before on our mobile devices, but particularly our social engagement apps. What’s become clear is that much of how we interact with others occurs with short hand gestures to like, share, repost or pin.

The receptivity to computerized courtships has gained popularity because it’s easy, fast and free. Making rapid-fire decisions based on a couple of photos and a two-sentence bio makes the possibility of swiping left until one finds their future Mr. or Mrs. Right, a piece of cake.

A recent survey found that the average length of courtship for marriages that were a result of meeting online was 18.5 months while the average length of courtship for marriages of couples that met offline was 42 months. The survey also revealed that the annual revenue from the online dating industry stands at $1,749,000,000 USD.

The wedding services industry is a $55-billion market in the US, according to a recent IBISWorld report. Not only is the wedding industry alive, it’s actually thriving. Couples can get a head start with cloud-based matrimonial planning mobile apps like WeddingHappy, WedTeam, iWedPlanner, The Knot, WeddingWire, and Appy Couple.

With the fastest-growing generation of consumers on the brink of matrimony, wedding technology companies are seeking to enter this lucrative industry. From selecting tailors and barbers to caterers and bakers, millions of couples are planning the most important day of their lives. Apps like Rent the Runway and David’s Bridal ensure bridesmaids and groomsmen are all on the same page and properly sized for the big day.

I asked three millennials and two borderline millennials the following questions:

What were your payment options for hired vendors? Were you given a time frame?

- Venue - Check - Deadline; Band - All of the above - No deadline; Flowers - All of the above - Deadlines; Limo - All of the above - Deadlines (Married Sept. 2015, 38-Male, Santa Monica, CA)

- Many vendors request partial payment upon contract execution. Some request 15%, some request 25% or even 50%. I sent some checks, some accepted credit cards, some via PayPal and many via money order because our wedding is in Puerto Rico. (Engaged November 2015, 31-Female, Hoboken, NJ)

- Probably credit. (Married January 2009, 36-Female, San Francisco, CA)

- Typically, an initial non-refundable deposit was required, followed by a second or third installment to complete the payment. We paid by check or credit. (Married November 10, 33-Female Huntington Beach, CA)

- We did destination. We just put a deposit down, but really, since we were staying there and a percentage of guests had to reserve and attach to our wedding, it was like a larger deposit type concept. (Married January 2009, 36-Male, San Francisco, CA)

If given the option, what would be your ideal payment method?

- Credit, electronic payment. (Married Sept. 2015, 38-Male, Santa Monica, CA)

- Ideally, something like PayPal (although the additional fee sucks) but the convenience is amazing. However, I do need to save loads of cash for the actual wedding day so charging a few services has been amazing! (Engaged November 2015, 31-Female, Hoboken, NJ)

- Credit card. (Married January 2009, 36-Female, San Francisco, CA)

- We were fine with the payment options that we had. For high-dollar expenses, having the option to pay installments is nice so you don't have to accommodate a huge debt all at once. But we'd opt to pay in full before paying installments with interest (from what I remember, none of the vendors had any sort of interest payment plans, so that may be a moot point). As far as payment method specifically, I prefer credit or PayPal. (Married November 10, 33-Female Huntington Beach, CA)

- Credit card. (Married January 2009, 36-Male, San Francisco, CA)

Who primarily handled the payment distribution to your vendors, you or fiancé?

- The man of course! (Married Sept. 2015, 38-Male, Santa Monica, CA)

- I handled them 100%. That's what I do in my household. (Engaged November 2015, 31-Female, Hoboken, NJ)

- The fiancé.  (Married January 2009, 36-Female, San Francisco, CA)

- I think we split it pretty evenly. (Married November 10, 33-Female Huntington Beach, CA)

- I handled the money. (Married January 2009, 36-Male, San Francisco, CA)

Destination Weddings (out of the country)

- Yeah, did a destination wedding. (Married January 2009, 36-Male, San Francisco, CA)

- Yes, Puerto Rico. (Engaged November 2015, 31-Female, Hoboken, NJ)

How did the currency exchange affect the way you paid?

- Always pay with credit cards since the best exchange rate will be applied. Also, pay in local currency since the credit card company will have to convert. Some people get a US price that the locals convert which is always a worse rate. Some credit cards companies charge a foreign transaction fee, but this fee is better when you take into account getting the best rate. (Married January 2009, 36-Male, San Francisco, CA)

- PR uses the US dollar, so no issues there.  (Engaged November 2015, 31-Female, Hoboken, NJ)

Couples oftentimes engage with family, friends, social media followers and fellow couples before, during and after their wedding day through their mobile device usually through group texting. As emerging mobile apps tap (or shall I say double tap) their way into the wedding industry, millennial couples are transforming how vendors operate, from how they market their services to negotiating payment terms.

The millennial generation will habitually find a way to multitask, so there is little surprise that many wedding applications will include every detail of a wedding from planning decor and color themes to scheduling vendor meetings, creating a guest list and chatting with other couples regarding recommendations. While other apps uniquely specialize in one area or another, the usage depends on the person. One can even make their own app altogether with Yapp.

The Knot

On Monday, September 28, 2015, the results of The Knot and PayPal Wedding Finance Survey, Delved Deep into Millennial Couples’ Wallet revealed the preferences of millennial couples when it comes to paying their wedding vendors.

Knot & Paypal

Findings from The Knot and PayPal Wedding Finance Survey:

Couples set the budget early, and then the bride keeps tabs.

- Nearly one-third (31%) of couples set their wedding budget immediately after getting engaged

- 45% of brides are primarily responsible for managing the finances and budget throughout the wedding planning process, and 29% of couples do it together

- 65% of couples do not factor in the honeymoon when determining the wedding budget

Wedding financial stress is a common occurrence for today’s to-be-weds.

- 68% of brides find themselves thinking about their wedding budget and finances all the time

- Half (49%) of couples have had a number of difficult discussions regarding their wedding budget/finances

- 21% of couples will use credit and spend more than they can really afford

Couples are choosing to pay in various ways

- Nearly half (49%) of couples paid cash as needed during their wedding planning process

- 99% of couples paid from a personal or joint checking or savings account

- 36% of couples paid with credit cards

- 16% of couples borrowed money from a friend or family member

- 17% of couples will borrow money to help finance their wedding

- 57% of couples borrow money from a credit card or financial institution to finance their wedding

Couples want to pay for their weddings electronically and on their smartphones

- 70% of couples think that automated payments for remaining balances on the day of the wedding would be helpful, especially since 48% of couples worry about remembering to pay vendors on their wedding day

- 89% of couples like the convenience of paying vendors electronically

- 42% of couples were surprised that many of their vendors did not accept electronic payments

- 44% of couples wish they were able to make all vendor payments via smartphone

Brides today point to the trend of "check fatigue"

- 58% of brides feel like they are always writing checks leading up to the wedding

Survey Methodology:

The Knot leveraged its exclusive XO Club panel for sample. All panel recruitment has been commissioned by Research Solutions Inc. to execute and analyze wedding finances among women who are engaged to be married in the next six months. Sample size: 1,111.

About The Knot:

The Knot is the nation's leading wedding resource, reaching nearly every couple in America through the #1 wedding website,; mobile apps; The Knot national and local wedding magazines; The Knot book series; and syndicated columns in newspapers nationwide. The Knot is the flagship brand of XO Group Inc., the premier consumer Internet and media company dedicated to helping people navigate and enjoy life's biggest moments together—from getting married to having a baby. Follow The Knot on social media @TheKnot.

About PayPal:

PayPal puts people at the center of everything it does. Founded in 1998, PayPal continues to be at the forefront of the digital payments revolution; last year, PayPal processed 4 billion payments, of which 1 billion were made on mobile devices. PayPal gives people better ways to connect to their money and to each other, helping them securely access and move their money and offering a choice of how they would like to pay or be paid. With its 169 million active customer accounts, PayPal has created an open and secure payments ecosystem that people and businesses choose to securely transact with each other online, in stores and on mobile devices. PayPal is a truly global payments platform that is available to people in 203 markets, allowing customers to get paid in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds to their bank accounts in 57 currencies and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 26 currencies. For more information on PayPal, visit

Ruth Pender

AnthropologieDepartment Manager

Ruth Pender is a former Community Manager at MEDICI (f.k.a Let’s Talk Payments).

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