The New Wedding Couple

Is your Venue catering to the needs of the ‘new wedding couple’?

Same sex couples, older couples and second time rounders becoming more prevalent

The most recent CSO stats (2017) tell us that around 22,000 weddings are taking place now each year in Ireland.

In 2016, when same sex marriage was brought into law in Ireland, over 1000 same sex marriages took place in this monumental year. This dropped to 759 in 2017, which might be a more realistic estimate of the size of the market going forward (approx. 3% of all weddings).

What’s really interesting also for the wedding industry is that the average age of couples is increasing. For opposite sex marriages, the average groom age was 36 years and average bride age was 34. The average age of couples in same sex marriages in 2017 was 40 years. In fact, almost 23% of opposite sex marriages are to those aged 40 and over, the figure goes up to 54% for same sex couples.

The numbers of first time marriages are also declining year on year and with divorces back to pre-recession levels due to the improving economic climate, the wedding landscape is changing.

So, what does all this mean for Wedding Co-ordinators and Venues out there? It means that Venues need to be adept at managing the needs of a diverse range of couples and need to be able to tailor make packages for them. From our experience of working in this industry, some key trends jump out:

  • Same sex couples will often pour more of their budget into the look and feel of the day spending on a super band, amazing room design or favours. Money may be less of a deal breaker here as disposable income is potentially strong.
  • The more mature, second time rounders, tend to opt for a more relaxed setting and a low key, less fuss type of set up such as a buffet or restaurant type setting.
  • Many couples will have young children and so the wedding becomes as much about them as their parents. They will also be more focused on value as they have many demands on their pockets.
  • All of the new wedding couples tend to want a less formal, more fun day!

Top Tips to stay ahead of these trends:

  1. Assess your property
    What can your property offer to specific couples? For example, if you have a Club House facility, this might be more appealing to the older second time round couple who are looking for something more relaxed and informal.
  2. Carve out a niche
    Make a decision to go after particular segments and target them through your marketing activity. For example, if you have a purpose built civil ceremony venue, this might be very appealing to same sex couples or those on their second marriage. These groups can easily be identified through social media.
  3. Bespoke Weddings – know your pricing
    Be pro-active about tailor making packages. Know what each element of your packages costs so that you can add flexibility to your offering. This is crucial for smaller venues to enable them to compete with the bigger standard venues out there!
  4. Be Aware
    Understand that not every couple coming through your door is in their late 20’s/early 30’s getting married for the first time looking for the traditional day out.

Opportunities can be missed by being too focused on the ‘normal’ wedding day or wedding couple. Think about how our society has changed, what your property has to offer and how your can ‘marry’ the 2!

Until next time,



Ciara Crossan is Founder & CEO of WeddingDates. Celebrating 10 years in business.