Don't let FOMO wreck your
budget ... or your wedding
(27/10/2019) | Categories:
| Wedding Budget | Wedding Planning |
Supermarket Wars, we Australian have been thoroughly
conditioned to shop on price. When we see anything
advertised at a discount, FOMO, together with the stress
and anxiety of trying to manage a limited budget, kicks
in and our risk of making an impulse buy in order to
save money, increases.
The problem is that, unless we have planned, and planned
thoroughly, before we shop, we could end up spending
more than we have planned (or can afford) if that
original purchase wasn't the best choice.
Even worse, though, is the risk that, though we may
subsequently realise that there was a better choice out
there, we're stuck with the original because the budget
won't stretch to a replacement.
The psychology of FOMO
What is FOMO? It is the fear of missing out, a normal
psychological reaction that is part and parcel of being
human. And it prompts us to take action.
FOMO comes in two forms:
- The one that is triggered by posts on social
media about what others are doing
Anxiety about being left behind when we see
posts and realise our friends/community are all
doing something that we didn't know about, weren't
invited to, etc. This is what drives viral
challenges, for example, when we feel pressure to do
the same action in order to fit in and belong.
- The one that is used in marketing goods and
services to get us to dive in and buy
A perception of scarcity, or a time-limited deal
of some sort (discount, special offer, gift with
purchase, etc) that creates pressure to spend. This
is the one that can wreck your budget, and possibly
Playing on potential customers' fear of missing out has
been part of marketing tool kits forever. It may take
various forms, but it always taps into our natural
desire to grab hold of an opportunity before it slips
through our fingers. In short, FOMO marketing is a
technique for increasing impulse buying by creating a
situation in which you, the buyer, has to act fast in
order to get an opportunity that you are conditioned to
believe you might not get again! FOMO marketing uses two
- It emphasises scarcity (or creates a
perception of scarcity)
For weddings this can mean Only a few dates
left, filling fast, 3 only of this offer, and
- It conveys the message that an advertised deal
is time-limited (creating a sense of urgency
in order to save money). For weddings this can mean
discounts, or add-ons. The relatively
common cash-back version of a discount is not
something that the wedding industry tends to use.
FOMO techniques are used in marketing products and
FOMO marketing uses a range of techniques.
- Strict Time Limits
This is the #1 effective marketing technique. Our
lives work on respecting deadlines. When you're
planning a wedding suddenly you've got a gazillion
extra deadlines in your life. And they're all linked
to the ultimate deadline, the date of your wedding,
and are often interlinked, with one dependent on the
other (eg. you need to know where you are getting
married before you can lock in services that will
need to come to that venue). So offers with
strict time limits play into your need to get
decisions made and services booked, in order to
reduce your stress levels.
- Special Offer with a deadline
This can be a discount, but it can also be something
else that you will see as an advantage, such as free
delivery, a bonus, or a gift of some sort offered
for a limited period.
- Social Proof (Reviews and testimonials)
These subtly communicate that you could be
missing out on something good, and also
create an impression of popularity and demand. While
reading reviews is a valuable tool that helps you
assess whether a service or product will meet your
needs, don't forget that they also create a sense of
not wanting to miss out on the benefits others
Apparently, having an influencer talk about a
product or service lends a significant boost to a
FOMO marketing campaign. No wonder companies shell
out the big bucks for a mention!
- User Generated Content (also called Consumer
Images, videos, comments on posts etc
- Bundled Products or Services
We've all been offered bundling of insurance
policies (car, house, contents) or communication
services (mobile, internet, landline) where the
bundle works out cheaper than if you buy each
separately . It is a marketing technique to
make sure you buy all your services from the one
company, drastically reducing not only your choice
of inclusions, but also your capacity to shop
around. All-inclusive and pop-up weddings work on
the same principle. But here's the thing. Unlike
your insurance and communications, the various
components of the bundle will be provided by
sub-contractors, individuals who specialise in
providing that component. Do the maths
carefully. Most individual wedding service
vendors are not registered for GST, so in effect,
you "save" 10% on each and every service. Once those
services are bundled together, though, the lead
vendor (i.e. the person who is organising and with
whom you book) is very likely to be going to be
charging GST on the bundle price, even where the GST
is not passed on to the individual service provider.
- Careful (and Clever) Choice of Language
The message you get is one that pushes you to
act now, because if you don't, you'll regret it.
Some examples: while supplies last, only
10 available, one day sale, you'll kick yourself
if you don't ...
- An Exit-Intent Popup
The ultimate in creating FOMO when shopping in an
online environment is a pop-up that appears when you
go to close your browser tab with a one-time
opportunity that will disappear when you close your
browser, or within a very short time-frame.
FOMO can wreck your budget
The bridal forums and local FB sales pages are full of
posts offering unused wedding related items for sale
because the seller changed their mind, the item(s) did
not fit in with the rest of the wedding styling, etc
etc. All of which means that something was bought,
didn't fit, so something else had to be bought instead.
Double expenditure. Do that a few times and your budget
is going to be under severe pressure.
What you don't see on these forums is the enquiry
messages to wedding service providers, including
celebrants, photographers, etc etc, where the enquirer
has already booked that service with someone else and
then discovered that they were not able to provide the
type of service required.
Here are a few examples of what couples have told me
when enquiring/booking with me
substitute for their original celebrant:
- "after we booked and paid our deposit, we
discovered that the celebrant only works from a
standard ceremony and so would not include our
children/our fur kids/religious elements/a
specific ritual etc etc in the
- "celebrant insisted on including religious
- "celebrant was firm that the ceremony would
only take 7 minutes"
- "we didn't realise that the celebrant refuses
to marry same-sex couples, and we have gay
I've also been told similar stories about
photographers, videographers, stylists, etc.
While every one of those service providers is perfectly
entitled to set the conditions under which services are
provided, taking time to research would have avoided the
need to spend more, as standard conditions in the
wedding industry include no refund of deposits (booking
How FOMO can wreck your
If your budget can stretch to replacement
purchases, having to rebuy or rebook a different
vendor will be stressful. But what if you can't
afford to do that? You're stuck with your original
choice which, best case scenario, means tweaking or
altering your styling, menu, etc, but worst case
scenario can mean you have a less than optimal
experience when your service providers don't meet your
needs - all the way to an outright disaster.
How fight Wedding-related FOMO
You're not going to eliminate FOMO from your wedding
planning. It's natural. However, there are ways to limit
the damage FOMO can do to your budget and your wedding.
1. Plan before you Spend.
- Take some time to create a fleshed out plan for
you wedding, including
- number of guests (drives everything and can open
up or close off possibilities for your other
needs, eg venue, type of ceremony, catering, etc)
- the look and feel of your ceremony
- the look and feel of your reception
- a detailed description of your the various ideal
service providers who will deliver their services
on the day - celebrant, photographer,
videographer, HMA, DJ, etc -
- If you are prone to FOMA, delegate trusted people
to do the initial search to find a short-list of
each of the services you will need to create the day
your plan describes
- Pay attention to how limited time offers work.
Over the years one thing has become very clear to
me. There is a cycle. We know to expect the New
Years and the End of Financial Year Sales, along
with Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Black Friday, and
Cyber Monday sales. They happen every year. And if
you watch you will see that wedding service
providers may add Valentine's Day. Or they may post
an offer every so many months.
2. Keep reminding yourself that your unique
relationship should be celebrated in a way that
reflects who you are rather than fashionable trends.
And THEN take advantage of discounts and limited
offers that fit with your plan.