Over the recent engagement season, we surveyed more than 2500 couples in Ireland and the United Kingdom to uncover the key trends that will influence the wedding industry in 2023. This data was carefully analysed by our team and compiled into the 2023 Wedding Industry Report for Ireland and the UK.
While the number of guests per wedding, popular days to wed and total budget vastly differ between the two countries, there are some essential similarities to focus on. Here is our top 10 key trends for the wedding industry:
- Church weddings are declining in popularity and more couples are opting to host a civil ceremony at the reception venue.
- Hotels are the top choice when it comes to booking wedding venues and location is one of the most important factors as well as exclusivity and a one-wedding-per-day policy.
- A significant trend in the market is towards more gracious hosting of guests with couples looking for eye-catching and unique ways to serve their guests. From canapes to cocktail stations, grazing stations to candy carts – the food and drink are part of the entertainment and overall experience of the wedding.
- Due to the rise in the cost of living, overall spending has dropped in both countries with couples lowering their budgets and increasingly looking for value for money and price transparency.
- The majority of couples are enquiring with less than five venues before booking.
- Communication is becoming more digital with couples preferring to make showround appointments via an online booking form.
- Photo booths remain the most popular item couples will hire followed by flower walls or arches.
- Wedding showcases are back on the matrimonial landscape. Getting inspiration and meeting vendors are these visitors’ priorities.
- Multi-day affairs are gaining popularity (think rehearsal dinner or day two BBQ) and hosting “afters” with additional evening guests is still a firm favourite with couples.
- The wedding coordinator is an increasingly important factor when choosing a venue and there is underdeveloped potential to promote their service as part of the venue’s package.
Pivotal Observations From Our Team
Carys Duckworth, WEDDING VENUE EXPERT
Price transparency is key for couples so they know if your venue fits in their ballpark budget. Recently, the importance of an additional layer of ‘value’ transparency has dominated my conversations with venues, and the Industry Report identifies just why that is crucial. Another notable takeaway from this year’s report is that buying behaviours have changed; couples are aware they have more choices than ever, so what venues do to show they are the better value prospect is what will win their hearts and their booking.
This year’s report has shown there has been a big shift post covid. Venues previously struggled for availability and couples relied on a more blanket enquiry approach. This has changed to a more targeted approach, with couples enquiring with fewer venues than ever. Every enquiry is now a valued lead. Venues must ensure they’re maximising every opportunity, by nurturing all their enquiries for better conversion. Quality over quantity is now winning!
Alix Matania-Allerton, WEDDING VENUE EXPERT
At WeddingDates we have seen the desire for more digital elements in the enquiry process for a number of years and the phrase “era of digital relationships” continues to ring true. Whilst the need for virtual showrounds has dissipated, couples are still looking for ways to make their lives easier when it comes to initial planning and enquiring. Information is now more easily accessible online and couples are shortlisting their venues before enquiring. We’ve heard from couples that they find it daunting to enquire about availability when they are faced with vague and absent information. Make sure your venue’s wedding packages are up-to-date and easily accessible.
Weddings will always be an emotional purchase and one that requires a huge level of trust and rapport between the couple and the coordinator. Venues that embrace technology to offer couples a personalised enquiry experience will find themselves able to build that relationship early on and positively impact their conversion rates. Incorporating software like WedPro into your day-to-day will vastly improve your offering.
Mizan Potgieter, Marketing Specialist
It is now more important than ever to make sure your venue is communicating with interested couples online. With the rise in social media popularity, it is no wonder Instagram was named as one of the top sources of inspiration for weddings. This presents the perfect opportunity for you to reach your desired audience and showcase your venue. Think about how you can use social media to show off your space in the best light possible. A lot of couples will browse for venues on Instagram before making any decisions about where they want to host their big day – so make sure yours is one of them.
Couples are also craving connection and want to feel special during and after the walk to the aisle. Show them you care about them by going the extra mile with your communication, during the venue tour and by congratulating them on their big day online. It is clear from the data in this year’s report that they don’t want to feel like a number. Being a bit more attentive towards how couples are treated by your team might just be the magic your venue needs to come out on top.
If you are looking for some advice on how to ramp up your social media efforts in 2023, you can read our top tips here.
Ciara Crossan, CEO & Founder
More than anything our 2023 survey demonstrates that brides and grooms are looking for value for money and want price transparency. They are savvy shoppers that have done their research and won’t waste time on venues that have bad reviews or are not upfront about costs.
If there is only one thing you take away from this report, it should be that NOW is the time to invest in your online enquiry management. It is so clear that couples are increasingly looking for information online and you need to capture that enquiry while they are browsing. Couples told us that it is intimidating to enquire with venues that have little to no information regarding wedding packages and availability obtainable online. This should be a big priority for your venue in 2023. To talk to our team about how WedPro by WeddingDates can help take your wedding business to the next level please book a demo here.
If you wish to provide feedback on the 2023 Wedding Industry Report you can send an email to email@example.com or fill in the contact form.
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