It’s been said that marrying someone is like buying something you've admired in a store for a long time. You may love it, but when you get it home, it doesn't always go with everything. If that sounds like part of a wedding toast joke, it isn’t. It turns out that retail stores like Home Depot and Wal-Mart are now hosting weddings.

Some couples are attracted by the low cost of retail store weddings. Some by the novelty of them. Others use them to reflect their brand or employee loyalty. And although retail weddings are unique, they are becoming more and more mainstream.

Two Home Depot employees got married in the garden section of one store, under a rotunda built with store lumber. Guests sat on benches made from boards laid on top of orange buckets. Wal-Mart is living up to its reputation as a one-stop destination – for weddings too. A couple purchased rings from the Wal-Mart jewelry department, listed desired gifts on the Wal-Mart wedding register, and held their ceremony at the store.

We have to admit that this demonstration of store loyalty has us flabbergasted. Not so much because consumers could be that loyal to a store, but it never occurred to us to include attributes, benefits, and values related to getting married in the store in any of our retail category loyalty assessments. So while we can usually isolate loyalty rankings for virtually any customer behavior, we had to make some corrections to account for customers getting married. For Discount Retailers, for example, we looked at the ‘Shopping Experience’ loyalty driver and found the following rankings:

  1. Target
  2. Wal-Mart
  3. Kmart

For Home Improvement retailers, we looked at the ‘Location and Value’ loyalty driver, with the following rankings, although we do point out that the current configuration does account for “convenient parking,” it wasn’t designed to take into account the size of a guest list:

  1. Ace / True Value
  2. Home Depot
  3. Lowe's

Not to be outdone by Discount and Home Improvement retailers, Quick-Serve Restaurants have expanded their carte du jour to include weddings. One couple tied the knot, exchanged vows, and held a reception in booths at a Taco Bell. All for $200.

That being the case, it might be balanced to observe that getting married is also very much like going to a restaurant. You order what you want but when you see what the other fellow has, you may wish you had ordered that instead!