The end of the year tends to be a point of reflection for wedding professionals--reviewing the season as a whole while also looking ahead to what may be. It’s commonplace to focus on the key moments and trends shaping weddings themselves, but it’s vital to be mindful of this ever-evolving industry.
So what’s currently shaping next year as we know it?
A shift in language
As more states legalize same-sex weddings, wedding professionals everywhere are taking a good, hard look at the language they use in their marketing materials, contracts and websites. Experts agree that one of the best ways to prepare for the LGBTQ community is to communicate with gender-neutral language, a subtle gesture that will speak volumes to engaged couples seeking services from same-sex-friendly wedding professionals.
Unique opportunities to outsource
Virtual assistants and accountants have been long-time solutions for those looking to outsource ongoing tasks, but these days, companies are launching with the goal of taking over duties often synonymous with the wedding planning process. Just this year, the corporate planners behind BDI Events launched Where Will They Stay?, a hotel room-block procurement service designed for wedding planners, while wedding PR and marketing firms continue to see an increase in interest from those eager to collaborate.
An emphasis on streamlining
A general lack of work/life balance in the wedding industry is nothing new, but now, products and services aimed to meet the unique needs of wedding professionals are readily available to assist with getting organized. Two Bright Lights, recently purchased by The Knot, continues to be a favorite among those with a desire to submit weddings for publishing, while programs such as The AVA Method and Honeybook have launched with the hopes of assisting with day-to-day tasks.
Increase in boutique education
While national industry conferences continue to be popular investments for wedding professionals, more intimate workshops and retreats are coming into the marketplace with the hope of offering tailored education specific to particular types of wedding professionals. Events on the horizon include multi-day events geared towards creative such as the Trouvaille Workshop or The Cultivate Retreat, to conferences such as Pursuit, which attract the very specific market of Christian photographers and creatives.
Building a peer-to-peer fan base
Seasoned wedding veterans are often inundated with questions and requests for coffee dates with entrepreneurs eager to make their own mark. Wedding professionals, from planners and photographers to florists and DJs, are now recognizing that their expertise can be monetized through product development and mentoring programs.
The business of wedding looks different today than it did a year ago, and such will be the case at the end of 2015. Stay on top of the industry by being mindful of these developments as you make your way through next year.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting, based in Henrico, Va. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and self-professed royal wedding enthusiast. Photo by Aaron Watson Photography.