This story has been updated from its original publication on May 10, 2013.
NEW YORK (
) -- With the Supreme Court's historic decisions this week to declare the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional as well as its decision to overturn California's amendment banning gay marriage, the $50-billion wedding industry is about to get even bigger.
Market research specialist
puts the size of the U.S. wedding industry at a whopping $50.6 billion. As consumers expand their disposable incomes, the wedding industry is expected to grow 2.3% over the next five years, IBISWorld forecasted said in its April 2013 report.
The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, allowed the federal government to disregard same-sex marriages even if they were recognized by specific states, causing confusion for partners in matters such as Social Security benefits, tax returns and financial aid, among others.
The decision to declare the law unconstitutional came on the same day as the court nullified California's Proposition 8 amendment, which banned same-sex marriages in the state.
These two historic decisions means the wedding industry is about to get an even further boost from gay and lesbian couples looking to legalize their partnerships.
According to a survey by
, a news resource specifically for the gay community "nearly 20% of our audience is planning to get married in the next one to three years," said Stephen Murray, Here Media's senior vice president for marketing and brand strategy. "That's a huge increase from even a year ago, and one that opens up an array of new opportunities for wedding, bridal and travel advertisers."
Here's a handful of companies already benefitting from the massive wedding industry.
Building on its high-end merchandise and attention to the personalized customer experience,
launched The Wedding Suite in 2010. The boutique, which is in 18 of Nordstrom's roughly 117 full-line stores across the U.S., as well as online, offers both off-the-rack and customizable merchandise collections from some of the hottest designers for brides, grooms and their wedding parties.
The Wedding Suite is meant to compete with high-end bridal salons and complement the Seattle-based company's fashion-forward offerings, by providing bride and bridal party apparel and accessories by high-end wedding designers such as Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, Amsale and others, as well as personalized attention through appointment-only wedding stylists.
Nordstrom is also offering personalized services, such as on-site tailoring and alterations, bra fitting and lingerie specialists, beauty services, garment steaming, shoe shining and free shipping on orders placed through its wedding stylists.
"We knew there was a bridal customer coming to our stores and Web site and we wanted to make shopping easier and more fun for her," wrote Andrea Wassermann, Nordstrom's national bridal director, in an emailed response to questions. "So we built out special spaces for the bride and her wedding party and filled them with head-to-toe looks. They're staffed by dedicated Wedding Stylists who shop the whole Nordstrom store for fashion from engagement party through honeymoon."
Nordstrom has recently introduced "Bridesmaid Bars" in an additional 29 locations to cater to bridesmaid dresses.
The company does not break out the contribution of The Wedding Suite to overall revenue. Nordstrom posted record net sales in 2012 of $11.8 billion and said that same-store sales rose 7.3% year over year.
Nordstrom's shares are up 13% this year.
2. Bed Bath & Beyond
Bed Bath & Beyond
is one of the most popular home furnishing retailers for wedding gift registries.
Couples can load up their registries with Caphalon pans, Keurig machines and Egyptian cotton duvet covers. Like Nordstrom, the company has expanded its product merchandise to become a full-service destination for consumers' wedding needs, including invitations, accessories for the ceremony like satin ring pillows and porcelain cake toppers for the reception.
The wedding gift market topped $10 billion in 2011, according to a separate survey by XO Group. The survey interviewed more than 12,000 engaged couples across the country.
Not Your Parents' Wedding Registry
Bed, Bath & Beyond,
are the top three stores that engaged couples register at -- keeping in mind that couples typically register at more than one store.
Interestingly, the survey found that the average gift registry is worth $5,158, with 42% valued at above the $5,000 mark. Bakeware and kitchen appliances are the most popular items on a registry.
Bed, Bath & Beyond saw net sales rise 15% to $10.9 billion in 2012 (the fiscal year which ended on March 2, 2013). Full-year earnings per diluted share rose 12% year over year to $4.56, the company said.
said on Wednesday that first-quarter earnings of 93 cents a share rose 4.5% year over year, meeting analyst expectations. However net income for the quarter slipped 2% to $202.5 million.
shares are up 25% this year.
3. XO Group
was started in the mid-1990s by David Liu and Carley Roney, a husband and wife team that saw a big opportunity for a wedding planning resource. The company's flagship brand,
, has expanded to include resources for new homebuyers and parents through its two other brands,
. The company also includes
, which it acquired in 2006, and its wedding site in China,
The company's three lines of business are - merchandising, which includes the publication of books, videos, wedding planners and other e-commerce, ad sales and sponsorships, and registry services.
While the New York-based company faces competition from social media sites like
and Pinterest, as well as more direct competitors like
Martha Stewart Omnimedia
, its flagship site,
, has strong brand awareness.
XO Group's most recent quarterly performance report said the company posted a profit of $1.7 million, or 7 cents per diluted share on revenue of $30.3 million, beating bottom line estimates, but falling short on top line revenue.
"We are pleased with the strength in our advertising businesses this quarter, with strength across all platforms online and offline. However, we believe we still have a lot of opportunity to drive total revenue growth," CEO David Liu said in the earnings release. "Our teams are working tirelessly to create new products, tools, and services across our brands and platforms. To this end, we recently launched our mobile optimized e-commerce site, and in the coming months we plan to roll out additional products which will connect our brides, newlyweds, and new parents with the relevant retailers and vendors during the critical 'five years of firsts' life stages."
Shares of XO Group have risen 20% in 2013.
4. Signet Corp.
Parent company to the popular national jewelry chains,
Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry
(it also runs two jewelry chains in the U.K.), each with their own signature television advertisements, Bermuda-based
seemingly has a heavy hand in the engagement ring and wedding band market.
("Every Kiss Begins With Kay," and "He Went To Jared," are two of the catchiest jingles on television.)
Shares of Signet Jewelers have risen 27% in 2013, driven in part by the rebound in consumer spending on discretionary items.
In its latest quarterly report, Signet saw a 6.4% increase in same-store sales and a 17.7% increase in earnings per share, fueled by strong Valentine's Day sales, it said in May.
The company had a total of 1,952 stores, the majority of which are in the U.S. Signet pushed out its expectations for when its newly-acquired Ultra jewelry stores would be accretive to earnings to the end of the year.
-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.
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