Clearly no wedding venue has had the wedding season they had planned or wished for this year and as once again the UK finds itself in the midst of another lock down, we find ourselves both reflecting and evaluating to help begin to figure out what’s in store for the future.

Couples are adapting, and are still planning!

To help your wedding venue understand the patterns and behaviour of your target market we have delved into our couples wedding planning habits across the year. Being a dedicated platform for inspirational wedding venues allows us to collectively look at our couples planning trends, searches and desires for future weddings, and there’s certainly a few facts you need to hear.

Firstly, we have evaluated our couple’s wedding planning throughout 2020 to understand what it is they actually want and how trends have transformed and evolved as the year has progressed. Here’s our top searches throughout 2020;

The biggest search increase from our couples over the last couple of months which you may have predicted is for intimate wedding venues, a huge 31% increase in searches. Onsite accommodation still ranks our highest venue feature at present but not far behind is our style focused collection.

As of late our most trending articles include; church wedding vs civil wedding which interestingly must be a question many couples are deciphering over at the moment and our collection of intimate wedding guides including; Everything you need to know about Micro Weddings and 9 Best small wedding venues for your perfect intimate wedding are proving a popular read.

Destination weddings

There’s been a 12% increase in our destination venue enquiries over the last 3 months, whilst we all know Covid-19 is a world pandemic the appeal to get away from it all and exchange vows abroad is proving more and more desirable. With restrictions differing widely, areas with more lenient guidelines are being seen as an incentive.

Our Top 3 most sought after destinations;

  • Ibiza
  • Italy
  • Santorini

We have added significantly to our destination portfolio this year and already new locations such as Greece, Gibraltar and Morocco are proving popular with our audience.

Wedding planning at present

Here comes the positive statement, all venues want to and most importantly need to hear – Wedding venue enquiries are on the increase.

From our research and data, couples are definitely still getting engaged and very much want to plan their future celebrations. Our platform grabs couples attention right at the beginning of their planning process and their engagement has not decreased.

Over the last 2 months enquiries from planning couples to our wedding venue members has increased by 12% in usually a notoriously quiet time of the year. Venue profile views has increased along with click throughs to venue websites. Your potential clients are still out there and they want to and need to find you and begin planning their future special day.

When do couples want to get married?

Predominantly our couples are enquiring for wedding dates in 2022 & 2023, some are looking further into the future, we even have enquiries for 2026, now that’s being prepared!

Over 65% of couples in the last 3 months want wedding dates from 2022 onwards. What does this mean for your venue? Well firstly couples still want to get married, they still want their dream wedding and they are still researching and planning for the future. The situation at present is not making couples shy away or hold back on planning their big day.

How many wedding guests do couples want?

Clearly the trend for Micro Weddings is increasing whether forced by guest restrictions or due to more and more of the benefits being widely known and our stats do show a 5% increase in enquiries for Micro Weddings (up to 25 guests) over the last 3 months but still nearly 50% of our couples want to indulge in a future wedding with 100 guests or more.

It’s worth noting that extravagant celebrations are continuing to be being planned and booked, recent enquiries include guest numbers for 200-300 guests.

Compromise becomes a norm

What’s going to happen next year? A slow start inevitably for the wedding industry, UK restrictions of some sort are predicted to be in place for at least the first quarter affecting once again guests numbers.

Alterations, postponements and re-bookings are all expected with last minute planning decisions being forced due to changing guidelines but what will become more acceptable after 2020 will be compromise. Couples are fully aware of the unpredictable times and last minute changes will start to become more of the norm.

Reducing and increasing guest numbers will have to be made in speedy time frames and as a venue your job will be to try and keep stress levels at a minimum both for yourself, your staff and of course your lovely customers.

What do couples actually think about planning this year?

Real Bride-to-be’s gave us their comments on wedding planning during 2020;

“I got engaged in Florida in February. I waited to start planning until very recently so that I could have some sort of idea of the situation. I decided that I didn’t want to wait any longer as my fiancé and I wanted to have something to look forward to. We’re getting married on my grandparents wedding anniversary, 26th September 2022. I’m hoping we can have 60 guests but if not we are trying to make sure that we still have a beautiful meaningful wedding and a celebration with as many of our friends and family as allowed.

We’ve been talking about it and even if there are still restrictions we will get married. The planning has been fine so far, we went to the venue but it’s difficult to imagine without decorations up and other set ups. The venue managers have been very helpful and we’ve had pictures of previous events to help give us an idea.” Megan

“We got engaged in October this year so very new but we had pretty openly discussed wedding plans much before then and had an idea of what kind of thing we wanted. I’m super excited about planning and my Pinterest board is overflowing with ideas! We already have a shortlist of venues and a rough idea of when we want to do it (availability permitting).

Once we can view a venue in Spain/Mallorca and get a date set, it will be 100% full speed ahead to get everything else booked in and arranged. Can’t wait!” Emma

Amongst the confusion and unpredictability of 2020 the kindness and help you can offer couples searching for their venue can and will lead to securing future bookings. Inspirational searches from couples trying to find where they want to say ‘I Do’ are happening right now.

Don’t forget future weddings

The main thing our findings tell us is that couples are not afraid of making plans for years to come and the increase in enquiries shows their dedication to finding and securing their venue in adequate time frames.

Yes, next year is going to be busy, unpredictable, draining and probably frustrating but amongst all of the 2021 weddings you need to set aside time to appeal to couples wanting to get married beyond next year. Focusing on getting through 2021 with an empty diary into the future is not a prospect you want to find yourself in.

What can you do right now?

Get organised, this is your top priority as a wedding venue. Your UK staff are possibly on furlough once again and when they return the year will nearly be out (thank goodness many of you will be shouting!).

Use any spare time before your wedding season begins again by ensuring your marketing plan is solid, are you being found by couples for future weddings? Are you on the right venue directories or finders? Is your website working to its potential and is your online presence working for you?

It is important not to stand still, couples are still getting engaged and still planning their wedding.

We’ve created lots of useful content in our Marketing & Business Advice Blog specifically for wedding venues, a great way to aid your online visibility. Top reads for right now;

Trends for 2021

We’ve dedicated an article solely to how weddings are changing and how the industry is evolving but here’s a quick round-up of our top trends you need to be aware of for next year;

  • Marry now party later packages
  • Micro weddings
  • Weekend hire weddings & extended wedding celebrations
  • Live streaming of weddings
  • The necessity for Virtual show rounds