As we embark on an exciting new year of; possibilities, weddings and the introduction of brand new client enquiries, we review the latest data from couples actively planning their upcoming wedding abroad and disclose tips for keeping your venue relevant and appropriate for current event requirements.

A Shift in Wedding Planning Abroad – 2023 Edit

Understanding the habits of couples beginning to plan their wedding celebrations will in result maximise your booking potential, so to keep you in the loop here’s a run down on currents desirables and trending patterns…

Our findings are a result of a survey conducted to over 500 couples currently planning their wedding abroad for 2023/24/25. Survey conducted Dec 2022- Jan 2023 (60% of couples based in the UK).

Wedding Season Shift

Height of the summer months- June, July and August have always been labelled peak wedding season in the UK. Deemed the most desirable time to get married, hence the most expensive dates to obtain.

However, wedding date popularity has shifted entirely, leaving romanticised wedding months such as June and July off the top-lists, making way for September and May- the most desired months to wed.

A step away from tradition most certainly but one thing is for sure couples are fast becoming aware of the financial gain of excluding past-tense ‘desirable’ wedding dates.

Wedding Guest Decline

We can disclose a significant decrease in wedding guest numbers amongst couples hosting their big day across the next couples of years.

In December 2022 we asked our couples how many guests they were planning on inviting to their big day- a huge 35% revealed that less than 50 were on their invite list. When we compare the same data conducted by a survey the year prior- only 13% disclosed their guest number would be less than 50. That’s a huge shift in wedding requirements especially when we consider the 10% drop in weddings of over 150 guests.

Action Step: Consider how you could adapt your wedding spaces to accommodate smaller, micro-weddings. Could you partition rooms off or somehow make outside areas more intimate with the use of floristry or decor?

If hosting weddings of 50 guests or under is not your norm, you need to consider how to make this financially viable for you as a business and how to make your venue appeal to couples wanting this style of event.

Wedding Budget Increase

To add to the point above a reduction in guest numbers has certainly not decreased wedding spends in fact budgets have increased!

Couples spending less than 15k on their wedding has fallen by 30% and there’s an increase of 10% in the 50-75k wedding budget range.

The price per head couples are prepared to spend has increased but be aware expectations may be greater. An intimate wedding does not mean couples are keeping their finances close, they want the razzle-dazzle without the fuss of a large crowd.

Action Step: Look at the micro-wedding options you offer and discuss how you can enhance these packages. Can you extend the wedding stay or increase what you entail such as; welcome meals and farewell brunches.

The longer the better

We’ve seen the trend for extended wedding celebrations slowly increase but now more than ever couples want more, more than a day, more than a weekend and potentially up to a week.

In fact only 11% of couples we asked wanted a wedding across a day. Long weekend wedding celebrations are slowly becoming the go-to trend and when it comes to destination weddings 4-7 night stays are seen as a suitable time frame.

Venue Visits scrapped

All of the couples we surveyed plan on getting wed abroad, with destinations being miles away from home, venue visits were not top of the agenda.

Over half of our couples have not or will not be visiting their wedding venue before booking. They will in fact be making their choice and huge financial outlay without stepping foot into their wedding space.

From being time precious to financial constraints, visiting far flung countries prior to saying their vows has not been revealed as a priority for the majority.

Action Step: If your sales team concentrates on getting couples to your venue to secure a wedding booking, you may need to rethink your strategy. Ask couples, if they have intentions to view venues on enquiry.

Your online presence, email communication and zoom calls can and will secure a wedding booking- make sure this is all on point!

Demand for Extra Experiences

Couples want more, not just for their big day but for their wedding stay. Our research shows couples planning their wedding abroad are looking for new and exciting experiences to enjoy with their guests.

Over 36% of those surveyed were looking at booking a wine tasting experience for their guests and over 20% looking to charter a yacht and boat trips. Health and relaxation continues to be popular with spa treats and yoga classes trending.

Action Step: What additional experiences could you offer wedding guests? Keep as authentic as possible and look to build relationships with local suppliers to offer a refined selection of impressive options.

Disclosing experiences in your wedding brochure or sales pitch could be that extra push taking you from an enquiry to a confirmed booking.

Religious ceremonies shunned

Churches may be falling out of favour as a huge 80% of couples planning to wed abroad, do not wish to say ‘I Do’ in a religious institution.

From more than 500 couples currently planning a destination wedding, 8 out of 10 admitted a religious ceremony was not for them, instead revealing they were concentrating on tying the knot in a wedding villa, in sunshine destinations such as the Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini, and the scenic Italian region of Tuscany.

2023 Wedding Planning

In 2023 we expect to see the rise of the savvy wedding planner and subtle shifts in planning behaviour will begin to shape a new direction for destination weddings.

With smaller guest numbers, bigger experiences and drawn out time frames- weddings abroad are set to be mini adventures.

To keep ahead of competitors and bookings secured, your venue needs to speak the language of these couples. Be forefront with intimate ceremony spaces, unique experiences and traditional excursions.