What do wedding couples want in 2024?

Show notes:

Today I am sharing the insights that have come out of the latest UK Wedding Report from Bridebook and the Knots recent proposal report. I am looking at the date to answer the question what do wedding couples want in 2024?

Download the full UK Wedding Report

Download the Knot Proposal report

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Time Stamps:

Introduction to industry reports (00:00:00) Explanation of the importance of industry reports and the intention to analyze two specific reports.

Caveats of reading industry reports (00:00:53) Guidance on how to interpret industry reports and the potential biases in the data.

Insights from UK Wedding Report 2024 (00:03:16) Highlights from the UK Wedding Report, including increased wedding spending, the influence of Gen Z, and the importance of Instagram for couples.

Importance of price transparency (00:06:04) Emphasis on the significance of price transparency for wedding business and the impact on couples’ decision-making.

The role of personality in decision-making (00:08:58) Discussion on the importance of personality and comfort with suppliers, outweighing price considerations for couples.

Personalization trend (00:10:02) The increasing importance of personalization in weddings and the potential for wedding businesses to offer personalized services.

Shift in wedding day preferences (00:11:00) Insights into the declining popularity of Saturday weddings and the opportunities for wedding businesses in weekday weddings.

Challenges for couples and simplifying the process (00:12:51) Identification of pricing and overwhelm as significant challenges for couples and the need to simplify the booking process.

Sources for finding suppliers (00:15:32) Insights into the main sources used by couples to find wedding suppliers, including Google, social media, and word of mouth.

Empowering Couples (00:16:18) Tips for empowering couples to share and recommend wedding businesses through gifts, networking, and word-of-mouth.

Sustainability in Weddings (00:17:12) The increasing importance of sustainability in weddings, including eco-conscious choices and the need for businesses to promote sustainability efforts.

Destination Weddings (00:18:33) The rising popularity of destination weddings, particularly in Italy, and the opportunities it presents for businesses in this market.

Proposal Trends (00:20:21) The growing trend of pre-engagement wedding planning and the increasing demand for elaborate proposals, creating potential opportunities for wedding suppliers.

Pricing and Social Media Presence (00:22:15) The importance of transparent pricing, addressing overwhelm, and maintaining a strong online presence to attract potential clients.

Transcript:

Becca: It’s February and this is one of my favorite times of year because it’s when a lot of the industry bodies and directories start releasing their reports of survey data that they’ve collected from their couples planning their wedding over the last few months. Now I know that sometimes these reports can be long, they can be distracting because some of the things in them we don’t agree with but there’s so much goodness to be found in them.

So in today’s episode I’m going to be breaking down for you a couple of the reports that have come out over the last week. I’m pulling out the information that I think is what you need to know and is going to make the biggest difference to your wedding business this year. So hold on tight. We’re going to go through it at rapid fire to save you reading through the whole report yourself.

I’m Becca Pountney, wedding business, marketing expert, speaker, and blogger. And you’re listening to the wedding pros who are ready to grow podcast. I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level. If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business doing what you love, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s get going with today’s episode. As we take a deep dive into some of these wedding industry reports, it has to start with some caveats. So the two industry reports that we’re going to be looking at in today’s episode is firstly the UK Wedding Report 2024, which was released by Bridebook, and the Not Out in the U.

S. have also released a proposal report as well this month. So they’re the two things we’re going to be looking at. Now when looking at any report, there are some things we need to pay attention to. So first of all, all reports are always going to be slightly weighted towards whoever is doing the reporting.

So for example, the bride book report will ask their survey respondents how many of them use bride book. Of course, that number is going to be hugely high because they’re talking to their audience. So there are some things we need to bear in mind when we’re reading this data, and we do need to take some things with a pinch of salt.

Now the other thing to remember is that when they get this data, it is going to be wide ranging. So some people that fill out the report are going to be high earners and are going to be filling out the report in one way and other people will have had a wedding where they’ve done everything themselves.

And so therefore, when it comes to things like how much money is being spent on weddings and how much money is being spent on individual suppliers, again, let’s not get too bogged down in. that data because it isn’t always going to be that accurate. However, I do think these reports are worth paying attention to.

Number one, because these big companies are doing the work for us. It takes ages to compile a report like this, to get all of the survey data, to pull it together and turn it into something. So it’s great news that these bodies are doing it for us and we can digest it in this way. The other thing is they just have a lot of data from couples that most of us don’t have access to.

These sites have huge numbers of users. So although some of the data may be a little bit skewed because of where it’s come from, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some great data in there. So what I’ve done is I’ve gone through these reports and I’m going to go through the UK wedding report first.

Although even if you’re based outside of the UK, I do think that these insights will probably be the same for you because we tend to see that it’s the same across the board. And then we’re going to go through the not insights. I’m going to go. the things that I think are going to be the most helpful that I’ve pulled out of the report, and I’m going to try and give you some thoughts around them.

So let’s start then with the UK wedding report 2024. You can go and get this yourself from Bridebook. If you want to see the full version of the report, just pop in your details and they’ll send it to you. But these are the highlights of things that I’ve extracted from that report that I think will help you.

So the first thing that came out is that Bridebook found that couples are actually on average spending more on their weddings this year than they did last year. Now, this is interesting because obviously we’ve been going through this economic crisis and there’s lots of questions around whether people have money, but actually the bride book report found that they are still spending money on their weddings and they are spending slightly more on their weddings as well.

So I think the thing we can learn from this is not to get too het up. By the news media around us when it’s saying everything’s terrible, no one’s got any money because actually that’s not what the data tells us. So stay in your own lane, keep doing your own thing. I think people are still spending money on these areas, things like weddings, holidays, things that they’ve saved up for because they only do it once.

If they’re making cutbacks, it’s not likely to be in this area and the report shows us that. So stop getting bogged down by that negative news media, avoid it, just stay in your own lane, do your own thing because this report is telling us something more positive. Now, the second thing that I looked at, and this year’s report has got a lot about Gen Z.

I’ve been talking a lot about Gen Z in my own talks on stage recently, because we know Gen Z are kind of the next generation of people coming through and planning their weddings. 25 percent of all weddings this year are now going to be Gen Z, so it is an important part of the market. And one of the things I talk about is how important tech is to them, how tech savvy they are, they understand the world, they don’t know the world without the internet.

And this report backed that up, so 51 percent of Gen Z couples said they will look at your Instagram before making contact with you. We need to pay attention to this, because so often we feel like no one’s looking at our Instagram, especially that grid, because we don’t get huge amounts of engagement.

However I’ve been saying for a long time, Instagram is like your shop window. People come and browse it and they’re looking at it to get inspiration, to see your previous work. They’re not necessarily following you. They’re not even necessarily going through and engaging or commenting on your posts. But it’s important that you have an up to date shop.

Window. So if you are not keeping your Instagram grid looking amazing, you haven’t got it full of those, wow, images, the best things in your portfolio, or you’re just not keeping it up to date. It’s not doing you any favors when it comes to people deciding whether or not to make contact with you. So take a look at your Instagram.

If I was to land on your Instagram page today on your grid, would I get an amazing response? Would I see you for what you do? Would I see your best work? Would I get a really clear indication of who you’re for, what you’re doing, what your work looks like? Is it going to encourage me to want to go further and make contact with you?

One in two people, 51 percent of Gen Z couples are saying they’re looking at your Instagram, so you need to pay attention to this Instagram is still a big player. Now, I love that a lot of the things in this report are backing up the stuff I’m already saying, but the next one is something I have been going on about all year and I will keep talking about because it is still controversial to some.

When asked about what the most important aspect is and what the top selling point is of suppliers with couples, guess what came out top? Price transparency. We know people want to know about prices. Why are we still hiding them? Price transparency is increasingly important. And if you still don’t have your prices on your website, you are making a mistake because you are likely to be missing out on couples.

Unless you’ve got a very clear reason not to, I really think you should have them. I’ve got a whole episode you can go back and listen to about price transparency. But this research is telling us people want to know prices. They want to be able to look at what your prices are, look at other people’s prices.

They want to understand what they’re getting. for your price as well. Things like why not have prices at a wedding show because people don’t understand what they’re looking at. I was having this conversation with some of my members. One of my members at the wedding show that she did this weekend had a board with her prices on it.

She said that she got amazing feedback. People loved the price transparency. Couples want to know how much you are going to charge, what you’re going to be charging for. So make sure you’ve got prices on your website. And if you haven’t go back and listen to that pricing. episode because I think it will give you some ideas about how you can showcase your prices and why I think it’s important.

But prices is definitely something that people are interested in this year. Now, while we’re on prices, there’s another thing that came out later on in the report that I want to refer to because when we talk about pricing and people wanting to be. Understanding your pricing and pricing transparency, one of the things people worry about is being compared and that couples will go for the cheapest option.

Now later in this report, they actually asked couples questions around their deciding factors for photographers. Now although it was photographers, I believe again that this probably does cover all aspects of the industry. I imagine that the results would be similar. They just. don’t ask for every single supplier type, but they asked what the biggest deciding factor was for photography.

When they chose their photographer, personality and being comfortable with the photographer outweighed price. So when it came to a deciding factor, people said the personality of the photographer Feeling comfortable around them was more important than their price. So although they do want price transparency, they want to understand how much things cost.

It doesn’t mean that they’re looking for the cheapest offer because they want people that are going to do a good job for them, and that may mean paying a little bit more. So. Don’t fall into that trap of thinking by being price transparent people go for the cheapest option. That is not always true. And again, this report backs it up because it’s saying that when people were choosing photographers, they looked at personality and feeling comfortable with them over price.

So don’t let that put you off. Okay. The other thing that’s coming out quite strongly when it comes to theming. And again, this came out in the report. It also came out in the 2024 trends session that I had for my members with publicist Megan Eli is that more and more important to couples is personalization on the wedding day.

So they really want things personalized. They want to be different from their friends. They want little personal touches on their wedding day. So if there are things in your business that you can offer a personalized service for, then Consider talking about them more. Perhaps it’s an add on, perhaps it’s a premium offer, but personalization is increasingly important.

People want things different. They don’t want just what everyone else has had. They want little personalized touches, maybe personalized name cards with their monogram on, perhaps little personalized gifts for each. Yes, all sorts of things that you could think of, but have a think over your own business.

What personalization elements can you add in? What can you talk about that shows that what you do sets them apart from the crowd, makes their day a little bit different and more personalized to them? Are there certain things? A lot of what I’m seeing myself from weddings I’ve been invited to recently is on my RSVP.

I’m being asked questions about my favorite songs, my favorite love songs. Presumably that’s going to help personalize the playlist from the DJ at those weddings. So think about the little elements you could. talk about where personalization comes in because we know it’s important to couples this year.

Okay, another part of the report that I found quite interesting was they survey people about the day of the week that they get married and this year the day of the week that is seeing the biggest decline is a Saturday. So, Obviously, Saturday is still far and beyond the most popular day, but it is going down.

So this year, for the first time, less than half of weddings were happening on a Saturday as part of this report. So why is that? Well, I think firstly, Saturdays are very popular and they get full up. So quite often people have to look at other options. The other thing that I am seeing quite regularly is a lot of venues are doing weekday offers.

And I think this is smart on the venues part. Now I understand that it’s still the same venue and still the same place, but they understand that couples would prefer to get married on a Saturday. So therefore, if they can’t offer any more Saturdays, a way to fill up their spaces in the week where they can make extra money is by offering weekday packages at a lower rate.

And I know quite a few couples this year, again, I’m going to their weddings. They are getting married on weekdays because it saved them a huge amount of money. Now there’s a A controversial question here around whether you as an individual should charge less for doing a weekday wedding because it’s still the same amount of work.

This is a personal decision. However, I am seeing some success where people are putting out special weekday rates only available off peak or only available on a weekday because they are filling dates in between their peak dates and therefore making more money. That’s a personal decision. I don’t recommend saying it’s a big deal.

Discount, I recommend putting it together as a special week day package. There’s a lot to be said for the way you talk about these things, but it’s working in the venue space. So therefore it may work in your space as well. Again, I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t do this. This is a real personal decision, but we know that more and more weddings are starting to happen on other days of the week.

So if you want to pick up some of that extra work, it’s important to either talk about the fact you do weekday weddings or look at ways to attract some of those couples. So, when it came to challenges, one of the sections of this report was asking couples what were their biggest challenges when it came to booking their suppliers, booking their venues.

And, a couple of things jumped out to me. Now, the first one we talked about already, the biggest challenge was pricing, so lots of things around pricing, price transparency, not knowing how to understand the prices. I think by now we’ve covered that off and we know that needs to be there. The second biggest challenge though was overwhelm.

I think this is a really interesting one. So lots and lots of couples said that they found choosing their venue, choosing their supplies really overwhelming and I understand that because they go on a directory or they go to a wedding fair and they meet all these different suppliers and then they can be bombarded with information and it can feel overwhelming because they want the information but then they can’t digest it.

So have a think about your own process and how overwhelming what you do is. Now I am not saying please don’t hear this wrong. I am not saying that you should contact them less because if you want to make the sale that’s not the strategy we need to go for. However, I do think we need to present them with information that is a lot less overwhelming.

So look at the emails you send. Are you sending huge long emails with big attachments with loads of stuff for them to read through? Because if you are the chance are they’re not reading through it. Alan Berg talks about this a lot. I’ve got a great training from him in my members lounge about responding to directory inquiries and about keeping it short and sweet, just a couple of sentences, one basic question, because that’s easy for them to digest.

So look at your emails. Are you sending them huge amount of information? Are you making the process for them to work with you super complicated? Are you making them have to jump through lots of hoops in order to get in contact with you? or even to book you. And a question I keep asking in my stage talks at the moment is, would you be able to explain your own booking process to a seven year old?

Because if you can, it’s probably simple enough. But if you can’t and it’s too complicated, half of your couples probably aren’t reading it. They’re becoming overwhelmed. So think about how you can simplify your system. Things that I advocate for are like putting a three step system on your website everywhere.

So this is how to work with us. First of all, do this. Second of all, do this. Third of all, do this. Make it really simple and easy for them to understand. Keep email replies short and sweet. Give them one very clear call to action and just check that you’re not overwhelming them with loads and loads of information that they just can’t digest and understand.

The simpler you can make it, the easier to understand you can make it, the more likely you are to convert them into. Okay. So remember that big challenges are pricing and overwhelm. Okay, some other things that came out of the report were where couples found their suppliers. Now I think we probably know this information, but just to recap, 59 percent of millennial couples that were spoken to said they used Google, 55 percent said social media, and 44 percent said word of mouth.

So they were the three most popular options. Google social media word of mouth. Now, first of all, we need to pay attention to the fact that Google is first, because I feel like still lots of you are neglecting Google. Are you being found top on Google? Do you have a website that is SEO optimized? If I am looking for florists in my local area, are you showing up?

Because if that many people are looking on Google for their suppliers and you’re not in the mix, you are missing out. On potential work, take some SEO training. If you don’t already have it. I always talk about Sarah does SEO and her amazing training. Some of you have been through it recently. If you want a link to that, she now has an evergreen version of it.

Her live version is done, but message me and I can send you the link to it. We need to be paying attention to Google. 59 percent of couples said they use Google to find their suppliers. If you’re not showing up on Google, you are missing out. Then of course, social media, which I think we all spend a lot of time on and we’ve talked about already.

And then thirdly, word of mouth. We know that word of mouth is a powerful form of marketing. We know that it works. So therefore we need to make sure we’re empowering our couples to talk about us sending them gifts. A venue I worked with recently has started sending them a beautiful card with an illustration of their venue on when they get.

when that couple books their venue to say we’re excited to celebrate your wedding with us. It’s working really well, the couples are sharing it on social media, they’re pleased about it, they’re talking about it and that really helps down the line with word of mouth recommendations. The same in our supplier networks, make sure you’re going to networking events, make sure you’re in a great networking community like the members lounge where you can get to know people and recommend each other.

on. It’s really, really important. So pay attention. Google number one, social media number two, word of mouth number three. Okay. There were two other things that came out and stood out to me in the UK wedding report this year. The first one was this messaging around sustainability. So they asked couples whether or not they were making sustainable choices for their wedding day.

They asked them what sustainable choices they were making, and the report found that sustainability efforts are definitely growing. More and more couples are interested in ensuring they have some of these things in their wedding. Again, this backs up the things we’ve been saying for the last year, so it’s Good to see, but couples do care increasingly about sustainability.

So are you practicing sustainability within your business? Do you have options which are more sustainability friendly and are you talking about it just because you do it? If you don’t tell anyone you’re doing it, they won’t understand. So the biggest thing was people using dried flower confetti rather than paper confetti.

That was a huge percentage of people, but there were other things as well. More eco conscious choices when it came to booking local, when it came to choosing. pre loved items, all of these kind of things. So we know sustainability is important. Are you paying attention to it in your business? Are you understanding how you can run your business more sustainably?

Are you looking at options for couples? Are you making sure that you’ll keep you on top of these trends and offering them as an alternative? And most importantly, are you talking about it in your marketing? Because if you’re a balloon company that only uses balloons which are better for the planet, for example, make sure you’re telling people all of the time because otherwise they’ll make an assumption that you’re not.

And then the final piece of. information that came out of that report was around destination weddings. Now, this isn’t for all of you, but I know some of you will want to know this, but actually it found that more couples are starting to consider destination weddings than ever before. The number is on the rise here in the UK.

Italy was still by far the most popular destination, but there were a lot of other destinations in the running as well. But the biggest thing was that Over 30 percent of couples said they were considering destination weddings. So if this is a space that you either work in or want to work in, it’s good news for you that the market is growing.

So make sure you’re in the right places, sharing your messages. And I think thinking about what we talked about before, things like overwhelm and price transparency, making sure you’re giving this information clearly to people so they know that it’s not too complicated or overwhelming to book a wedding abroad.

Talk to them about how you can take away that overwhelm, how you can make it easier for them and how it looks. Price wise as well. I think that there was a load of great stuff from that report. As I said, you can go and read the whole report yourself, but I think there are little things in there that all of us can reflect on and think about as we go into 2024.

The main message though is that all of the things that I’ve been talking to you about over the last year are backed up by this report, which is great news because we know we’re all going in the right direction. And that’s why it’s important for us to keep on top of our education and upskilling. So by listening to the podcast, you’re doing your business a favor.

Okay. The second report I looked at was a much shorter report, but it was from the not. based out in the U. S. and they did a little report that came through to my email all about proposals and I actually thought this was really interesting to think about a different aspect of the wedding process. Now when they asked their couples, 70 percent of their couples said that they are taking some kind of wedding planning action.

Even before they get engaged. So that could be following people on social media, starting a Pinterest board, starting to research their venues, even when they’re not engaged, because they’ve probably talked about the fact they’re going to get engaged soon. So what does that mean for us? Well, first of all, it means why not consider putting out some engagement content on your platform.

If we know people are looking before they get engaged, we can talk about engagement. We can talk about that stuff because we know that people are interested in it. The other thing that came out of that report was that 25 percent of proposals now hire some kind of wedding supplier to be part of that event.

I think this is a huge shift. When I got engaged back in 2009, which feels like a lifetime ago, it was literally just like one person and another person in a couple quietly getting engaged somewhere in a park. It wasn’t this big thing where we had photos and all the rest of it. However, nowadays, the proposals are getting bigger.

People want to do different things. People want to remember them. So things like people booking a photographer or videographer to capture the moment, the rings are getting more. Intricate and personalized planners, proposal planners, proposal spaces in venues, proposal celebrations with family. All of these things are becoming more and more popular.

So is there something in your business that would lend itself to that proposal market? Is there a little piece of income there that you’re missing out on because you’re not doing anything for proposals? Is there an additional package you could add on? There may be ways you can make some additional income for your business from this growing trend of more intricate and detailed proposals.

I promised you a whistle stop tour through those industry reports. I’ve gone through, done the work for you and picked out some of those highlights I think you need to pay attention to. The big things for me are that Pricing is still a huge topic of conversation for 2024. We need to be transparent in our pricing.

And that thing about overwhelm is really important too. And finally, remembering that people are looking at your services and your products on social media, on Instagram, they are doing their research before contacting you. So you need to make sure your whole house is in order and everywhere you’re online is showing the best version of yourself and your business.

If you need help with anything when it comes to growing your wedding business, you know where I am. Reach out to me. You can find all of my details in the show notes and I’ll see you next week.

Becca xo

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