Venue Seekers’ Wishlist: Top Things Wedding Parties Look for in a Venue
As the wedding industry evolves, so do the preferences of couples searching for their perfect wedding venue. To attract potential couples, understanding their desires is the key. By familiarising yourself with these essential factors, you can make your venue an irresistible choice for couples seeking a magical place to say “I do.” In this article, we’ll delve into the top things couples in Ireland and the UK prioritise when choosing a wedding venue. From exclusivity and value for money to culinary delights, the wishlist of venue seekers has evolved over time.
In our 8th annual Wedding Industry Report released in February, we’ve identified five top things that wedding parties look for in a venue, shedding light on the changing trends and priorities for couples in the UK and Ireland.
Venue Priorities from The Ireland Wedding Industry Report 2023: THE DATA IS COMPILED BASED ON THE RESULTS FROM OUR 2022 COUPLES ULTIMATE SURVEY WHERE 1200 ENGAGED COUPLES IN IRELAND SHARED THE INS AND OUTS OF PLANNING THEIR WEDDING.
Venue Priorities from The UK Wedding Industry Report 2023: This data is compiled based on the feedback from MORE THAN 1300 NEWLY ENGAGED COUPLES Surveyd IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.
To attract interested wedding parties, it’s essential to understand their priorities and preferences. Based on the top 5 important factors in Ireland and the UK, let’s explore the wishlist of venue seekers and how you can meet their expectations for an unforgettable wedding experience.
Venue Location: Setting the Stage for Memorable Celebrations
The location has long been the cornerstone of wedding venue selection, and this trend persists in the UK, where it remains the number one factor for couples for the eighth consecutive year. What makes the location so compelling? It’s the allure of picture-perfect backdrops, the convenience it offers to guests, and the sentimental value it holds for the couple. Whether it’s a charming countryside setting or an elegant cityscape, couples want their venue to reflect their vision and set the stage for an unforgettable celebration.
- Showcasing your location: If your venue boasts a stunning location, capitalise on its inherent charm to captivate potential couples. Showcase photographs of the surroundings on your website and social media platforms. Highlight the nearby attractions and amenities that make your location an appealing choice for both the couple and their guests. Share real wedding stories that emphasise how your venue’s location contributed to the couple’s magical day. Leverage the beauty of your setting to draw in couples seeking a stunning backdrop for their vows.
- Embracing your location challenges: Not every venue enjoys a favourable location, but fear not; there are ways to transform challenges into opportunities. Focus on promoting the unique aspects of your venue’s surroundings, even if they differ from traditional notions of picturesque beauty. Embrace the historical significance, architectural charm, or intimate ambience that your venue can offer. Highlight the convenience of your location’s accessibility and nearby accommodations, making it a practical choice for out-of-town guests. By accentuating the positives and addressing any concerns upfront, you can still appeal to couples seeking a distinctive and memorable wedding experience.
Remember, every venue has its own story to tell, and understanding how to make your location shine will ensure that couples see their dreams come to life at your venue.
“Choosing the perfect wedding venue is like finding a beautiful canvas to paint your love story. It’s not just a place; it’s where dreams become reality and memories are made. Understanding what couples truly seek in a venue is the key to creating a magical and unforgettable experience for their special day,” says Carys Duckworth, WedPro sales manager and wedding venue expert.
Food Quality: Crafting a Delectable Culinary Experience
In Ireland, food quality has emerged as the top priority for couples selecting a wedding venue for the second consecutive year, albeit by a slight margin over location. To attract more couples it’s crucial for venues to offer exceptional catering services and customisable menu options that cater to diverse tastes. We all know that food can make or break a wedding celebration, making a delightful culinary experience a top priority.
- If you have a good chef and catering team: If your venue is blessed with a skilled chef and dedicated catering team, capitalise on this valuable asset. Collaborate closely with your culinary experts to create menus that leave a lasting impression on couples and their guests. Embrace local flavours and utilise fresh, high-quality ingredients to craft a delightful culinary journey that perfectly complements the joyous occasion. Allow couples to personalise their menus to reflect their unique tastes and cultural influences, ensuring a bespoke and memorable dining experience.
- If you don’t have a chef and catering team: Even if your venue does not have an in-house culinary team, there are still ways to offer a delectable culinary experience. Partner with reputable catering services known for their exceptional food quality and creativity. Work closely with these partners to curate menus that match the preferences of your couples. By collaborating with established caterers, you can ensure a seamless and enjoyable dining experience for wedding parties and their guests.
- Enhance your brand image: Showcase the expertise of your chef or catering team through captivating photographs or behind the scene videos. Capture moments of the chefs skillfully preparing the food and presenting their creations to your audience. This content not only demonstrates the team’s culinary ability but also add authenticity and personality to your venue’s identity. By sharing these visuals on your website, social media, and marketing materials, you can effectively highlight the culinary excellence your venue offers, enticing potential couples with the promise of an unforgettable dining experience.
- Embrace the market trends: Our 2023 Wedding Industry Report has uncovered a significant trend indicating a shift towards more gracious hosting of guests. Couples in Ireland are increasingly drawn to cocktail hours, self-serve food tables, and extended celebrations. A remarkable 77% of surveyed couples are planning to welcome their guests with canapés upon arrival. Additionally, there’s a rising demand for a welcome Prosecco or cocktail reception, with 73% of couples seeking this option from their chosen venues.
To impress potential couples, consider incorporating these top trends into your wedding packages or offering them as enticing extras during showrounds or open days. Not only will it enhance the overall wedding experience at your venue but also provide an opportunity to stand out from competitors and offer unique packaging options that cater to modern tastes.
Value for Money: Balancing the Budget
Weddings can be expensive affairs, and couples are becoming increasingly budget-conscious. As Wedding Coordinators and Venue Managers, you appreciate the significance of delivering excellent value for your clients. Couples seek venues that strike the perfect balance between quality and budget. This year we noticed a significant change in priorities in the UK, where 42% of respondents stated that cost outweighed quality when selecting a wedding venue. Ireland also experienced a 30% increase in the number of couples who prioritised cost, highlighting the impact of the cost of living crisis.
- Transparent pricing: Be upfront about your pricing and clearly outline what is included in each package. Avoid hidden costs and surprise charges to build trust with couples and showcase your commitment to transparency.
- Customisable packages: Offer flexible and customisable wedding packages that cater to different budget ranges and preferences. Allow couples to add or remove services based on their needs, creating a personalised experience that fits their budget.
- Value-added services: Include value-added services and amenities in your packages to enhance the overall wedding experience without significantly increasing the cost. This could include complimentary upgrades, special decor touches, or additional perks for the couple and their guests.
- Affordable wedding dates: Consider offering discounted rates for weddings on weekdays or during off-peak seasons. This can attract budget-conscious couples looking to save on venue costs while still enjoying a beautiful celebration and will allow your venue to fill up the calendar.
“Our 2023 survey reveals that couples prioritise value for money and seek price transparency above all else. They are savvy shoppers who thoroughly research their options and are quick to dismiss venues with negative reviews or hidden costs. To attract these discerning couples, it’s essential for wedding venues to be upfront about their pricing and provide excellent value in their offerings,” says Ciara Crossan, Founder and CEO at WeddingDates.
Accommodation On-Site: Ensuring Convenience and Comfort
Working in the wedding industry you often encounter couples hosting destination weddings or welcoming guests from afar. On-site accommodation becomes an invaluable asset in such scenarios. Providing comfortable lodging options within or near the venue ensures that guests can relax and relish the festivities without worrying about travel logistics. The convenience of on-site accommodation fosters an atmosphere of togetherness and creates unforgettable memories for the couple and their guests.
- Leveraging your accommodation: For wedding venues that also serve as hotels with an abundance of available accommodations, make sure to highlight this feature to potential couples. Emphasise the ease of hosting guests within the same premises, eliminating the need for external accommodation arrangements. Showcase the various room types and amenities available, ensuring that every guest’s comfort is prioritised. Offer special wedding packages that include accommodation options, making it a seamless experience for couples and their loved ones.
- Partnering with nearby accommodations: For venues without on-site accommodations, partnering with nearby accommodations is a winning strategy. Create a list of recommended hotels, inns, or bed-and-breakfast establishments, outlining their proximity to the venue. Arrange for shuttle services or provide easy-to-follow transportation details to ensure guests can travel between the venue and their accommodations with ease. Collaborate with these accommodation partners to offer exclusive rates for wedding guests, further enhancing the experience and convenience for everyone involved.
By embracing accommodation as a key factor and offering tailored solutions to match different scenarios, your venue can become the go-to choice for couples seeking a seamless and unforgettable wedding celebration.
Exclusivity: Feeling Like VIPs
In Ireland, an increasing number of couples envision intimate and exclusive weddings. Venues that prioritise hosting only one wedding per day hold great appeal, as couples seek undivided attention and dedicated resources on their special day. The desire for privacy and a personalised experience is a common theme among venue seekers. If this is something that appeals to your venue you can highlight the exclusivity of your venue and showcase how you can curate a private and tailored celebration for each couple.
- Limiting wedding bookings: As a venue owner or manager, consider offering limited wedding bookings to maintain an exclusive ambience for each couple. By focusing on one wedding per day, you ensure that the spotlight remains solely on the couple and their guests. Highlight this unique feature in your marketing materials and conversations with potential clients, emphasising the dedicated attention they will receive.
- Tailor-made celebrations: Illustrate how your venue can provide tailor-made celebrations, reflecting each couple’s vision and preferences. Offer a range of customisable wedding packages, allowing couples to craft a truly unique experience that resonates with their personalities and desires. Whether it’s granting exclusive access to specific spaces or arranging bespoke decorations, emphasise your commitment to creating a one-of-a-kind celebration that leaves a lasting impression.
For couples seeking an extraordinary level of exclusivity, consider offering exclusive use packages. Present this option as an add-on for those who desire an unparalleled and private experience. By paying more for the exclusive use of the venue, couples can enjoy complete privacy and flexibility, immersing themselves fully in the romance and joy of their wedding day.
Outdoor Space: Embracing Nature’s Splendor
The allure of outdoor spaces has grown immensely, particularly with the popularity of summer weddings. If your venue boasts beautiful outdoor areas, recognising their potential and promoting them is essential. Whether it’s an enchanting garden, a charming terrace, or an elegant courtyard, these spaces provide captivating backdrops for ceremonies, cocktail receptions, and photography sessions. By catering to the desire for both indoor sophistication and the romance of the great outdoors, your venue can become an irresistible choice for couples seeking a picturesque setting for their special day.
- Leveraging your outdoor spaces: If your venue is blessed with stunning outdoor areas, showcase them through striking visuals on your website and social media. Highlight real weddings that have embraced the inherent beauty of these outdoor spaces, inspiring potential couples with the possibilities they offer. Whether it’s a charming garden or a picturesque hotel rooftop, real weddings exemplify how couples can create their dream celebration in these diverse and enchanting outdoor areas. Ensure that your outdoor spaces are well-maintained and provide comfortable seating and amenities to create an inviting ambience for couples and their guests.
- Adapting for all seasons: Whether your venue features extensive outdoor spaces or not, offering versatility is important. Provide backup plans for outdoor ceremonies in case of inclement weather, ensuring that couples feel confident and at ease regardless of the forecast. Showcase how your venue can seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor events, giving couples the freedom to create their dream wedding experience, rain or shine.
- Bring nature indoors: For venues without extensive outdoor spaces, creativity is key to offering a touch of nature to couples. Invest in beautiful indoor greenery, like potted plants, floral arrangements, and hanging gardens, to create a fresh and nature-inspired atmosphere. Consider incorporating large windows or glass walls to allow natural light to flood indoor spaces, evoking the feeling of being connected to the outdoors. Collaborate with decorators to craft enchanting nature-themed backdrops that add a sense of the outdoors to indoor celebrations.
“As a former wedding planner, one of the most important lessons I learned is that to create a truly enchanting wedding venue, understanding a couple’s drives and vision is absolutely essential,” says Alix Matania-Allerton, WedPro sales manager.
For venue owners and managers, understanding and emphasising these aspects will be crucial in attracting prospective couples and standing out in an increasingly competitive market. By tailoring offerings to cater to these desires, venues can create truly unforgettable experiences that will make wedding dreams come true.
Unearth valuable insights into the wedding industry through our 2023 Wedding Industry Report, featuring data from the Couples Ultimate Survey. Over 2500 engaged couples from Ireland and the UK participated, candidly sharing their wedding planning experiences – the highs and lows. Don’t miss out on this comprehensive guide to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and preferences shaping the wedding industry.
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.