Over two million couples get married every year in the United States, which equals out to be around 6,200 weddings that take place every day. With the average costs of a wedding totaling around $20,000, that is roughly $72 billion being spent in the wedding industry annually. So, the question is, how can your business tap into this gigantic money-spending sector?
With all of the elements that go into planning a wedding, there’s a good chance that your business can help play a part in relieving the stress that is involved with event planning. According to the latest version of The Wedding Report, 80% of people surveyed said that smaller, more intimate weddings were “in” for 2016. This means that your loyal or potential customers could be snooping around your products or services for wedding ideas to make their special day unique.
Here are some non-traditional wedding businesses that can capitalize on the billion dollar wedding industry.
One of the major elements of planning a wedding is what the couple will offer as dining options for their guests, and this is not just limited to their reception event. Dining options will revolve around wedding party luncheons, brunches, parties, get-togethers and get-to-know events for family and friends, and the rehearsal dinner. They will likely research local restaurants and eateries to find out if they allow special or private event hosting, as well as event packages. They could even be hoping that their favorite restaurant also provides catering if they choose to have their event at another venue or the restaurant doesn’t have the space to host an event.
A restaurant can also be an ideal place for wedding-specific events, such as the ceremony and reception itself, or other events such as the rehearsal dinner or morning-after brunch, provided that the space is available.
If you are a restaurant owner and you don’t have the space to host events at your establishment, offering a catering menu for special events is a great way to capture customers who are still interested in your dining options for their wedding or special event. By having a catering menu and catering packages, it helps set your business apart from other restaurants that may not offer these services. This also helps with word-of-mouth recommendations that come from a single event, and help put your business name out there with all of the guests who get to enjoy your catering options. This gives you the chance to expand your reach to a wider audience.
If you own a retail store, you probably have all kinds of unique gifts perfect to market to the soon-to-be wedded couple, including their wedding party, guests, family and friends. During wedding season, consider setting up a wedding-specific display — physically and virtually — and showcasing items that would appeal as gifts or favors, as well as items that might be needed while guests are in town for a wedding.
Clothing and Accessories
Everyone wants to look their best at a wedding! As we get into the season of celebrating love, suggest a variety of options for different types of wedding events, cool and casual, or dressy and classic options that will make your customer feel their best for when they attend the wedding and any wedding related events.
For the Couple
Guests who are traveling may choose to purchase wedding gifts for the couple when they arrive, or may look for additional gifts for other special events as they relate to the wedding. Consider scented candles, photo frames, engraved cutting boards, and coasters to highlight in a wedding-specific display.
For the Wedding Party or Wedding Guests
Items that make for unique or inexpensive wedding favors for wedding guests, such as personalized candies or useful trinkets, are sure to delight their guests. If you carry any inexpensive items in bulk or are able to order them, especially if their use can easily be tailored to a wedding or special event, point them out to couples who are shopping around for wedding favors. A variety of items that can be personalized also make great gifts for the couple to gift to members in their wedding party, as well as any special guests of honor.
Beauty & Spa
If you own a spa or massage parlor, special wedding packages are a must. Offer a trial makeup and hair package so that the bride can get a visual idea of how she’ll look on her wedding day. If she likes her look, she’ll have a reason to come back. Haircuts, facials, scrubs and hair and makeup packages are also essential for the wedding party. And with all of the stress involved with planning a special event such as a wedding, the couple, their families and guests, and members of the wedding party might need a massage or some relaxing spa services! It’s also a great time to let the couple know that they can refer any wedding guests who are in town for the event to come to your business for some pampering and prepping. Out-of-town guests may not be familiar with the area and not know where to go for these services.
Since all of the attention is going to be on the couple for their big day, think about how they can look their best and glow in the spotlight. After you have set them up with pre-wedding packages, consider offering them a discount on a honeymoon bundle to come back and decompress after their big day is over.
For entertainment businesses, there is always the opportunity to promote yourself to the billion dollar bridal industry. Say the couple is really into the outdoors and you happen to run a ski resort — turn that winter ski lodge into a wedding venue in the off-season! Or perhaps they’d like to host a mini-golf or bowling event to give their wedding party the opportunity to get to know one another before the big day, especially if they live in different areas and have never met! Entertainment options allow for a variety of events related to the wedding party and wedding guests! Especially if their guests are in town and not familiar with the area, and they’re looking for things to do before or after the big event. Make sure to promote your business in the wedding season so you’re not losing these potential customers.
If it’s impossible to offer up your space to accommodate a wedding or special event, at least give them a group package on your services, or extend a discount to those who are in the wedding party or family, friends and guests of the couple. Give wedding parties a way to unwind before the big day with group deals on ski resort lift tickets, hosted pre-wedding golf tournaments, or group go-kart racing.
And of course, when planning a wedding, couples are always looking for ways to capture their big day by looking for photographers, a DJ, a florist, and a videographer. If your entertainment business offers these services as well, put your marketing efforts into promoting these for the wedding season.
When hosting a wedding or event, sometimes there is not adequate parking at the wedding venue for all of the guests, or the venue is miles away from where everyone is staying. If you own a shuttle bus service, then you can easily solve their problem.
Transportation services go hand-in-hand with weddings because they are called upon for bachelor/bachelorette parties, wedding guests, or grand entrances and exits for the bride and groom. Think of ways your business can benefit by being the designated driver for special pre-wedding events, the couple on the day of the event, or all of the people who need to find a way to attend the wedding and other wedding related events.
How to Market Wedding-Centric Products or Services
Now that you’ve figured out how your business fits into this billion dollar industry, it’s time to let people know about your wedding products and services. Along with using in-store signage to let walk-in customers learn about your new products or services, get your ideas out in cyberspace as well.
To start, create a landing page on your website that is specific to how your services/products fit into weddings or special events. The content on the page should be search engine optimized with wedding-related keywords. People rely heavily on word-of-mouth, so include testimonials and highlight past events through pictures and videos showcasing how your business has aided in the couple’s perfect day.
Implement forms that allow buyers to submit a proposal of what they are looking for, how many guests they’re expecting, etc… so that you can learn a bit more about them and can follow-up with tailored options. Now that you have their email address, send out a proposal or packages catered specifically to them.
Finally, promote your new wedding packages through your social media networks. Mention upcoming related events or weddings that your business is involved in. Post updates and tips for how engaged couples can use your business to assist in their wedding and all of the events leading up to their special day.
Get Started Today
There are dozens of ways your non-traditional wedding business can get involved in this billion dollar industry; you just need to find your niche. Here are some ways to put some of these suggestions into practice right now:
- Decide on a wedding-specific product or package related to your business and industry
- Work with your web developer to add a landing page to your website highlighting these products and services
- Add optimized content and images on the page about your product or service
- Create a form on your website that allows you to learn more about the customer (how many people are attending the wedding, what the couple’s wedding colors are, etc.) Here is an example of an event inquiry form.
Once you start collecting inquiries, follow-up with your customers and begin to build your spot in the wedding industry.