The biggest event in your guest’s life – their wedding day. In this exclusive piece from Clockwork Marketing, we look at how can your hotel standout as a wedding venue fit for purpose and meet the current demands of wedding planning consumers.

When it comes to hotel events, it doesn’t get any bigger than a wedding. The single most important event in any couples’ life. 

For hotels and hospitality venues, weddings are critical as a rich source of revenue that are booked sometimes years ahead – providing comforting, future cashflow. 

But since Covid, the weddings market has changed significantly. There was a backlog of weddings that didn’t happen during the downtime, that resulted in a record year for some weddings venues in 2021. Additional purpose-built wedding venues were launched as a result of the pent-up demand, which added further competition for hotels. 

As the demand slowed last year but with more competition, hotels up and down the country have found weddings a harder sell. Add to this, the fact that less and less people are getting married, and the sector is facing a perfect storm, where it was once awash with bookings. 

So, how can your hotel standout as a wedding venue fit for purpose and meet the demands of those that are getting married now? 

Customer trends 

What’s happening in the wider world affects the type of weddings that people choose to have. Understanding new customer needs and trends is the key to getting ahead. If you’re abreast of the latest trends in weddings, you can help your hotel standout against your competition.

Trend #1 Micro weddings

Micro weddings not only present a cost-effective solution for couples but also cater to diverse preferences. Factors influencing the choice of an intimate celebration extend beyond financial considerations. 

Some couples, having experienced prior nuptials, find smaller gatherings more fitting. Addressing guests’ unique preferences, whether it be an exclusive venue, a tailored atmosphere, or a focus on enhancing culinary offerings, can significantly enhance the appeal of micro events. 

Trend #2 Open for all

It’s estimated 22% of the UK population are disabled, therefore creating barrier-free spaces and facilities with inclusive design elements for physical disabilities, such as ramps and elevators, are essentials when buyers are making their choice. Venues must ensure that every guest can fully participate in the wedding celebration. 

Beyond physical accommodations, the importance of providing inclusive events that welcome diverse cultural traditions and LGBTQ+ celebrations can’t be understated. The rise of accessible and inclusive weddings is a response to the societal understanding of different values, and a reflection of how people want to celebrate their wedding day now. 

Meeting this trend not only shows a hotel’s commitment to diversity but also positions you at the forefront of a movement toward greater inclusion in the celebration of love.

Trend #3 Retro rollback

There is a notable surge in the popularity of retro and nostalgic weddings, particularly themed around the vibrant eras of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. This can be attributed, in part, to the resurgence of television shows and films from these decades, influencing couples to infuse their weddings with the nostalgia and romance of a bygone era. 

The allure of dressing up in vintage attire and recreating the ambiance of iconic periods has captivated modern couples, transforming weddings into nostalgic celebrations that transport participants back in time. 

Moreover, the increased demand for film wedding photography has increased by 266% this year, reflecting a desire to capture the essence of these retro-inspired events and the vintage aesthetic in authentic fashion. 

Trend #4 Celebration more than ceremony 

A rising trend in the wedding industry is the emergence of celebration weddings, where couples are increasingly prioritising personalised and joyous celebrations over traditional legal ceremonies. This shift is marked by a surge in online searches for celebrant-led weddings, signalling a desire to craft ceremonies that align with the couple’s unique vision and values.

In these celebrations, there is a noticeable departure from standard wedding attire, with couples opting for outfits that reflect their personalities rather than adhering to traditional norms. 

Trend #5 Sustainable weddings

It’s estimated that on average nearly a third of a metric tonne of solid waste and 14.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide are produced and emitted per wedding. 

In an era where environmental consciousness is becoming increasingly integral to decision-making, no couple wishes for their wedding festivities to be labelled as excessive or wasteful. Notably, 60% of couples view venues with a strong green ethos favourably. 

Embracing sustainable practices, such as locally sourced seasonal flowers, eco-friendly floral arrangements, reusable decor, digital invitations, virtual attendance options, low food miles cuisine, and vegan menus, can significantly contribute to a reduced environmental footprint. 

Understanding customers’ new wants and needs, when event planning for celebrations like weddings, will help your hotel stand out as a venue that cares. And attention to detail and care is what guests want most when it comes to making their big day a huge success. 

Download Clockwork Marketing’s Wedding Trends report here: