During peak season, it always seems like we’re keeping up with what’s ‘in’ – whether it’s linen textures, color palettes or fashionable centerpieces, event professionals must stay on top of the latest trends in order to keep clients happy and satisfied.
However, as we make our way into the off-season, it’s time to look ahead at the business trends within the wedding industry. This is essential to keep up with, as our businesses are heavily impacted by the future of the industry. As today’s millennial couples evolve, it’s important that our businesses are structured in a way to adapt to their changing needs and preferences.
Here’s what to expect from the wedding industry in 2017:
Think bigger picture
While local markets are certainly an essential piece to the puzzle, wedding professionals will be putting a heavier focus on branching outside of their area and taking on events elsewhere. “With planning and collaborating tools and the power of online meetings, I think markets and service areas are rapidly expanding,” shares Kellie Daab, owner of I Do Collective. “We're already seeing this trend in photography and I think it's going to become more and more prevalent in the entire industry.”
In turn, this would lead to stronger niche markets as vendors look to fill their portfolio with work across the country while still sticking to what they love and know the best. “For example, a planner could serve only rustic brides, but travel across the country to work with them,” says Daab.
Authenticity is key
These days, couples are looking for vendors that they can truly connect with. It’s not just about the final product, but about the ease of the journey there. With that in mind, it’ll become essential for wedding vendors to emphasize their personalities and open themselves up to their target market.
“It's about being more flexible and open to new things, new interpretations of wedding traditions, asking open-ended questions, educating about the WHY of things at the same time as you inspire, and even avoiding labels,” explains Bethel Nathan, owner of Elevate by Bethel. “Many millennials don't see themselves as fitting into traditional boxes or with labels, and that can even play out in things like ‘packages’ that wedding pros offer, whereas couples may want to create their own to feel like they are getting exactly what they need and want (and not paying for something that isn't).”
While the millennial couple may be newer to the scene, they aren’t going anywhere for a while. It’s important that we, as wedding professionals, are taking their values into consideration as we work with our clients. “It’s going to become even more important for business to be tech-savvy in their processes with their clients, as the millennial crowd will expect it,” encourages Nathan.
Expansion of services
In recent years, we have seen a rise in the focus on client experience. Wedding and event professionals are always looking for ways to meet their clients’ needs in new and unique ways. What better way than to offer new services to save them the time and effort of hiring another vendor entirely? “I think you will see a lot of vendors offering the one-stop shop so that they can offer their clients an all-in-one experience,” tells Keneshia Raymond, owner of Blissful Creatives. Not only will this bring in more business for vendors themselves, but it also goes to meet the desires and expectations of the millennial couple.
There’s a lot on the horizon for the wedding industry, so be sure to set some time aside this off-season to inform yourself on the latest trends and take strides to adapt your business accordingly.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.