Marking the start of a new, fresh and dynamic approach to your business for the exciting year ahead? What better time to reflect and be inspired than January!

Trends are ever evolving and emerging and 2018 looks set to be yet another exciting year.

Enhancements on what may have already been popular, a nod to tradition with a tempting twist and new ways to continuously excite and wow wedding guests, we have popped together a little list of what we feel are up and coming trends throughout the new year that you, as either a new or already well-established venue, should be considering.

So let’s make a start…..

Trend 1 – Painting the perfect picture

In the current market, there is one thing our millennial bride doesn’t have a lot of, and this is time.

Couples are predominately opting for online resources to plan their weddings with 41% using the ‘Wedding Website’ as the most utilised planning tool.

With evening and weekend minutes being valued and precious, the venue hunt can seem a daunting one.

Bride holding an antique clock | Kelly Chandler Consulting

According to The Wedding Report 2017, couples make an average of 5.4 venue enquiries with typically only viewing 2.8 venues and are increasingly looking at venues as the ‘all-in-one’ destination for everything.

So, what can you do as a venue in order to keep up with the brides’ demands and wishes whilst seeking the perfect venue?

What can you be doing to ensure you’re running with the current trends and shining like that beautiful diamond engagement ring against your local competitors, all the time being mindful that at a quick glance, you are ‘the venue’ for not only the couple but just as importantly, their family and friends?

There is nothing more off-putting than a venue that is looking tired. Nor are brides wanting to trawl through pages of irrelevant and repeated text. To be sure you’re not losing your audience due to lack of or hidden information, take a fresh and clear approach demonstrating your offering through your website with a concise introduction to who you are, (with even a personal intro to you and your story) and the key information listed in one place for the bride to review in an instant. This is an absolute MUST.

Details of your main areas with wet weather options, capacities both inside and out, civil ceremony information, a selection of striking, wedding focussed high impact shots, sample menus and a clear and sufficient direction on how to get in touch and make an enquiry is paramount in helping your brides paint the perfect portrait of their day.

The response is also key. Always bear in mind the 3 ‘P’s. Be prompt, professional and personal. A bride will be wowed by the little things so really make this count at this first point of communication between one another.

Trend 2 – Personalisation with every detail

With it becoming more and more popular for couples to ‘create your own’ day and swaying further away from a traditional cookie cutter approach, we are seeing this becoming even more apparent through every offering where couples are wanting to take the opportunity to personalise, reflect and share their journey so far with their family and loved ones.

Old black and white framed wedding photo | Kelly Chandler Consulting

Drink stations such as ‘pimp your processo’ have been huge and this year we will see this creativity and fun evolve even further. Alternative ways to present will be key and what better way to be promoting your team’s flair than through your delicious food and beverage offerings.

It’s about thinking outside the box entirely, with brilliant and quirky ways of pairing food and drink whilst guests mingle and munch.

Cocktail trolly | Kelly Chandler Consulting

From shots of local craft spirits and beers, through to couples very own personal alcoholic creations for guests to try even sipping cocktails inspired by their engagement, it really will come down to every fine detail of the day.

Trend 3 – Fabulous Food

Couples are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of local, sustainable produce. There will be a huge surge of this throughout 2018 with new couples looking to continue, promote and support local businesses that the venue may already have established relationships with.

Enchanted and mystical weddings will still be popular, however this season will have a clean minimalist approach with a focus being on quality, taste and refinement.

Fine dining food images | Kelly Chadler Consulting

Modern couples are looking to continue to wow and excite their guests through every element and with this in mind are moving further away from traditions like the set ‘3-course wedding breakfast.’

Feasting and festival style sharing is growing fast! The idea of delicious local foods over platters / boards for all the table to delve in and discuss, offering a true food experience, is absolutely what couples are wanting.  Creating a lasting memory that is something ‘different to the last one’ is what couples are now looking to create. We’re seeing things like Borough Market themed platters, informal, with an opportunity to share and celebrate our Great British produce and surroundings.

Flat lay images of country styled food table | Kelly Chandler Consulting

Trend 4 – Capturing colours and tones

Soft, muted and pastel tones have been very popular up to this point. 2018 will, we think, be a year where the bride may be a little bolder – shifting to a statement colour with neutral hints and undertones. Incorporating earthy hues and textures will still play a key part in many brides palettes, no the ‘greenery’ hasn’t gone away just yet I hear you say. Making your audiences aware you are knowledgeable about these current trends and promoting this in areas you can throughout your venue is important. Whether this is through your marketing material, newsletters or even offerings on your showrounds. This will help your couples envisage themselves at your venue, all the time being inspired and assured that your offerings are in line with what’s currently popular.

Bride and bridesmaid outside chapel | Kelly Chandler Consulting

Trend 5 – Weekend weddings

The destination wedding hit its peak at the end of last year with brides loving the idea of a ‘taste of Tuscany,’ and that ‘European Dream’ on their doorstep minus the headache of flights and remote planning.

Well, a ‘weekend-long’ extravaganza is looking to be the root of every wedding this year, where couples are exploring ways to extend their celebrations, creating that dream weekend everyone talks about, a true adventure for all their family and friends.

This, of course, comes predominately down to you as a venue. Acting as the ‘star of the show,’ its about ensuring you’re able to accommodate and host at least ‘part of’ or the entire experience and this would be by showcasing your versatile spaces and facilities to reassure the couple they are getting value for money and to maximise their experience and their guests’ time with you.

Bride and groom walking down a road with suitcases | Kelly Chandler Consulting

Trend 6 – Alternative marquee options

Alternative marquee options is a relatively new thing on our little continent.  Whilst the ‘teepee’ and stretch tent has been popular and will continue to be throughout 2018, offering an alternative to traditional internal spaces, we are seeing some exciting new versions on offer.

Glass / clear marquees offer infinity views of our breathtaking landscape, pulling in the twinkle of the moonlight as the guests dance into the early hours of the morning.

Long wedding table scapes | Kelly Chandler Consulting

Although not for everyone as can be a little costly, these really are a wonderful option to promote to your couples should you be surrounded by jaw-dropping views and be limited on catering in your internal spaces.

Trend 7 – Wedding chairs

Gone are the days of the dreaded stretched white lycra chair cover. We truly are now spoilt for choice when it comes to wedding chairs.

From ghost to farmhouse, louis to upholstered armchairs in luxury vintage fabric, there really is something perfect for every space / backdrop.

As a venue, it’s being clever what you invest in so that the chairs can be used and sit well within several areas of your property both inside and out. The decision can’t be taken lightly if you are looking at purchasing as a long-term investment. It’s about selecting something that has longevity, both in its structure and style.

Wedding chairs | Kelly Chandler Consulting

Large groupings of chairs for either a ceremony or wedding breakfast can have a significant impact on the overall style / colour scheme for the day. So much so that it’s been known for some brides NOT to have booked a venue purely on the chair options. So considering an upgrade or actively promoting alternatives should purchasing not be an option, is a wise one.

We hope you’ve found our 2018 trend round-up insightful and useful. We’re big believers that trends are trends but they’re certainly not there to be enforced and it’s key to really spend time getting to know and understand the vision of your individual couples and work with them to help create the magic, whether that’s a trend or not.

If you’d like to know more about wedding market trends and look to improve your wedding market presence & sales via improved marketing techniques, then do consider joining my SHINE workshops written especially for ambitious wedding venues and locations. The full details of training on 9th February and 9th March can be found here.

Image credits: Image 1 – Love My Dress –  Photographer – Sally T Photography // Image 2 – Cindys Planet // Image 3 – Love My DressPhotographer – Sally T Photography // Images 4 & 5 – You And Your Wedding  // Image 6 – OneWed // Image 7 – Nannings Catering // Image 8 – Love My Dress // Image 9  – Wedding Wire // Image 10 – Wedded Wonderland // Image 11 – Pinterest // Image 12 – Hitched