More than just a heads up on themes and styling, Kelly Chandler’s wedding trend hit list for the year looks at the whole package
What better time to reflect and be inspired than January. Make it the start of a new, fresh and dynamic approach to your business.
Trends are ever evolving and emerging and 2018 looks set to be yet another exciting year in the world of weddings. With enhancements on what may have already been popular, a nod to tradition with a tempting twist, and new ways to continuously excite and wow wedding guests, I have popped together a list of what I feel are up and coming trends that you, as either a new or already well-established venue, should be considering.
Today’s couples expect you to be engaging with trends long before they get in touch, let alone make a booking. They will want to see you up to date with the latest in your photography and social media so let’s make a start, helping you put your best foot forward.
Trend 1 – Painting the perfect picture
In the current market, there is one thing our millennial bride doesn’t have a lot of, and this is time. Couples are predominantly opting for online resources to plan their weddings with 41% using the ‘Wedding Website’ as the most utilised planning tool. With evening and weekend minutes being valued and precious, the venue hunt can seem a daunting one. According to The Bridebook.co.uk Wedding Report 2017, couples make an average of 5.4 venue enquiries, typically only viewing 2.8 venues, and are increasingly looking at venues as the ‘all-in-one’ destination for everything.
So, what can you do as a venue in order to keep up with the brides’ demands and wishes while seeking the perfect venue? What can you be doing to ensure you are running with the current trends and shining like that beautiful diamond engagement ring against your local competitors, all the time being mindful that at a quick glance, you are ‘the venue’ for not only the couple but just as importantly, their family and friends?
There is nothing more off-putting than a venue that is looking tired. Nor are brides wanting to trawl through pages of irrelevant and repeated text. To be sure you are not losing your audience due to lack of or hidden information. Take a fresh and clear approach demonstrating your offering through your website with a concise introduction to who you are (think about a personal intro to you and your story) and key information listed in one place. This is an absolute must.
Details of your main areas with wet weather options, capacities both inside and out, civil ceremony information, a selection of striking, wedding focussed, high impact shots, sample menus and clear directions on how to get in touch and make an enquiry is paramount in helping your brides paint the perfect portrait of their day.
The response is also key. Always bear in mind the three Ps; be prompt, professional and personal. A bride will be wowed by the little things so make this first point of communication really count.
Trend 2 – Personalisation
It is becoming more and more popular for couples to ‘create their own’ day and sway further away from a traditional cookie cutter approach. Couples are wanting to take the opportunity to personalise, reflect and share their journey with their family and loved ones.
Drink stations such as ‘pimp your prosecco’ have been huge, and this year we will see this creativity and fun evolve even further. Alternative ways to present food and drink will be key and what better way to be promoting your team’s flair than through delicious catering offerings. It’s about thinking outside the box entirely, with brilliant and quirky ways of pairing food and drink while guests mingle and munch – think shots of local craft spirits and beers, through to a couple’s personal alcoholic creations (eg. cocktails inspired by their engagement).
Trend 3 – Fabulous food
Couples are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of local, sustainable produce. There will be a huge surge of this throughout 2018 with new couples looking to continue to promote and support local businesses that venues have already established relationships with.
There is a real desire now for a clean minimalist approach with a focus on quality, taste and refinement. Modern couples are looking to continue to wow and excite their guests through every element and with this in mind are moving further away from traditions like the set three course wedding breakfast.
Feasting and festival style sharing is growing fast! The idea of delicious local foods served on platters/boards for a whole table to delve into and discuss will offer a true food experience. We’re seeing things like Borough Market themed platters, informal, with an opportunity to share and celebrate our Great British produce and surroundings.
Trend 4 – Capturing colours and tones
Soft, muted and pastel tones have been very popular up to this point. In 2018 the bride may be a little bolder shifting to a statement colour with neutral hints and undertones. Incorporating earthy hues and textures will still play a key part in many brides’ palettes – no the ‘greenery’ hasn’t gone away just yet.
Making your audiences aware you are knowledgeable about these current trends and promoting this in areas you can throughout your venue is important. Whether this be through your marketing material, newsletters or even offerings on your showrounds. This will help your couples envisage themselves at your venue, all the time being inspired and assured that your offerings are in line with what’s currently popular.
Trend 5 – Weekend weddings
The destination wedding hit its peak at the end of last year with brides loving the idea of a ‘taste of Tuscany’, and that ‘European dream’ on their doorstep minus the headache of flights and remote planning.
Well a ‘weekend long’ extravaganza is looking to be the root of every wedding this year, where couples are exploring ways to extend their celebrations, creating that dream weekend everyone talks about.
This of course comes predominantly down to you as a venue. Acting as the ‘star of the show,’ it’s about ensuring you’re able to accommodate and host at least part of, if not the entire, experience. Make sure to showcase your versatile spaces and facilities to reassure couples they are getting value for money and that you can maximise their guests’ experience and time with you.
Trend 6 – Alternative marquee options
Alternative marquee options are a relatively new thing on our little continent. While the tipi and stretch tent have been popular and will continue to be throughout 2018, alternatives to traditional internal spaces include glass/clear marquees. They offer infinity views of our breathtaking landscape, pulling in the twinkle of the moonlight as guests dance on into the early hours of the morning. Although not for everyone, as they can be costly, these really are a wonderful option to promote to your couples should you be surrounded by jaw dropping views.
Trend 7 – Wedding chairs
Gone are the days of the dreaded stretched white Lycra chair cover. We truly are now spoilt for choice when it comes to wedding chairs. From ghost to farmhouse, Louis to upholstered in luxury vintage fabric, there really is something perfect for every space/backdrop.
As a venue, be clever what you invest in so that chairs can be used and sit well within several areas of your property, both inside and out. The decision can’t be taken lightly if you are looking at purchasing for a long term investment. It’s about selecting something that has longevity, both in its structure and style.
Large groupings of chairs for either a ceremony or wedding breakfast can have a significant impact on the overall style/colour scheme of the day. It has been known for brides not to have booked a venue purely on the chair options, so considering an upgrade, or actively promoting alternatives should this not be an option, is a wise move.
We hope you’ve found our 2018 trend round up insightful and useful. I am a big believer that trends are trends and not the be all and end all. That said, it’s important to understand what couples are choosing and to understand the vision of your individual clients in order to help create the magic, whether that’s a trend or not.
SUPPORT & TRAINING FOR VENUES
If you’d like to know more about wedding market trends or are looking to improve your market presence and sales, then do consider joining Kelly’s SHINE workshops, written especially for ambitious wedding venues and locations. The full details of training on 9 February and 9 March can be found at www.kellychandlerconsulting.co.uk/consulting-services/group-training
Kelly also offers one to one consulting via her signature ‘Refine & Shine’ programme, details of which you’ll find under ‘Work with Me’ at www.kellychandlerconsulting.co.uk
About the Author
Kelly Chandler is a long-term preferred service provider for exclusive venues such as Syon Park, Highclere Castle, Spencer House and Stoke Park Club. Kelly’s consulting services to wedding venues draw on prior experience in international conference and event planning, over 13 years of business management, and working directly with discerning couples planning their weddings in diverse locations and forging successful relationships with all components of the wedding industry. A former director of trade body, the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners, Kelly is a well-regarded innovator, mentor, trainer and industry spokesperson on and in the wedding business. www.kellychandlerconsulting.co.uk