Indian desi wedding Photo by Anney Patel / © Getty Images

Four Big Trends to Watch for 2015 Weddings

Wedding industry experts look at four top trends affecting the wedding industry in 2015--budgets, same-sex weddings, millennials and Indian/desi weddings

same-sex weddings
1) Same-sex weddings: Are they turning into a major revenue stream?

“Marriage equality has been recognized in the state of Nevada just in the last year so while we haven’t seen a huge influx in business, it’s safe to say that this market will continue to grow. Las Vegas is a favorite destination, so we’ve actually been attracting same-sex couples for symbolic unions for over a decade.”
Celebrity wedding planner Brit Bertino, owner of Brit Bertino, Event Excellence

“More and more same-sex couples have been approaching us for wedding planning services, especially since marriage equality was recognized by Virginia. The couples we’ve spoken with are planning more non-traditional celebrations, and are interested in exploring venues and vendors who may be regarded as ‘off the beaten path.’ Thus far, it has not become a true additional revenue stream for our company, but I expect that to change. As more same-sex couples decide to marry, I’m confident that they will find that a wedding planner will ensure they are truly creating a day that is both unique and memorable."
Wedding planner Kate Franzen, owner of Lovebirds Events

“The growth has been slow to start. Since same-sex marriage has been legalized in California, there has been, of course, an increase but it’s slower than I would have originally guessed.”
Kevin Dennis, JWIC, owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services
National President-WIPA (Wedding Industry Professionals Association)
President-Silicon Valley NACE (National Association for Catering & Events)

“Absolutely this is a true revenue stream, but in Alberta, it's not a new one (Same-Sex marriage has been legal in Alberta since 2005). If anything, the legalization throughout the United States has reduced the market here, as couples aren't forced to travel to get married. I also find the more same-sex weddings we plan and share on our website/social media - the more inquiries we are getting. Couples want to know you are going to take care of them just like any other client. They also want to be confident that you can guide them through some of the differences a same-sex wedding can present from a traditional wedding.”
Callandra Caufield, Chief Wedding & Event Producer, Postcard Weddings

Photo by Jupiter Images/ © Getty Images

How big are Indian/desi weddings?

Desi wedding

2) Are these multi-day, multicolor events moving mainstream?

“Yes, the desi wedding market has opened up for us. Most recently, we planned a wedding for a couple in which the groom’s family was from Laos and the bride’s family was from the U.S. Their palette featured rich shades of bright purples and fuchsia and was paired with fun patterns as well as an elephant motif.”
Wedding planner Kate Franzen, owner of Lovebirds Events

“There is a large Indian population in the Bay area, so we have steadily worked in this market over the years. Our lighting services have been particularly popular and we love transforming a space with the rich color palettes often synonymous with desi weddings.”
Kevin Dennis, JWIC, owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services
National President-WIPA (Wedding Industry Professionals Association) President-Silicon Valley NACE (National Association for Catering & Events)

“More elaborate productions are on the rise with weddings and I have no doubt that the opulence often associated with desi weddings have influenced couples as they make their way through decor choices for the Big Day. Additionally, I’m seeing the popularity of South Asian wedding blogs, such as the Big Fat Indian Wedding, inspiring the general bridal population above and beyond their target audience. Gone are the days of burlap and mason jars- it’s time to make way for jewel tones and lavish details.”
Meghan Ely, wedding PR expert, OFD Consulting

Photo by Anney Patel / © Getty Images

Are bigger budgets back?

fancy wedding
3) As the economy improves, are bigger budgets coming back?

“I have found that bigger budgets are on the rise but I contend that it’s only due in part to the improving economy. What we’re seeing is couples as well as their parents chipping in to pay for the event costs, which will increase the overall wedding budget. Of course with that, come the increased expectations from couples that have often been heavily influenced from sites such as Pinterest, which highlight very bespoke experiences. When they learn what the realistic costs are for the event they envision, they are more likely to splurge a bit to get what they want.”
Wedding planner Kate Franzen, owner of Lovebirds Events

“We are absolutely seeing a comeback in bigger budgets. The DIY rustic-chic look took center stage for quite some time, but we’re now seeing that theme replaced by more extravagant and whimsical designs, which often equate to higher production costs.”
Celebrity wedding planner Brit Bertino, owner of Brit Bertino, Event Excellence

“There is a definite increase in what the average couple is spending with us. We’re finding that they are now more willing to splurge on decor items than in years past. Couples as a whole are doing a great job prioritizing their ‘must haves’ in order to leave a little wiggle room in their budget for fun.”
Kevin Dennis, JWIC, owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services
National President-WIPA (Wedding Industry Professionals Association)
President-Silicon Valley NACE (National Association for Catering & Events)

“I wouldn't say I've seen a distinct increase in bigger budgets for standard sized weddings, however I am seeing budgets increasing in intimate weddings. It used to be that the whole point of an intimate wedding was to keep things really simple - now couples still want the details and luxury, they just don't want to deal with the stress of the large guest list. We're finding that couples want elaborate decor and extensive pre and post wedding activities for a smaller group - say 10-30 guests. For example, we had a couple last year that eloped but still opted to book a high end photographer, have a ceremony on a mountaintop in which they arrived via helicopter. They finished the day of celebrations with a fully decorated in-suite seven-course dining experience.”
Callandra Caufield, Chief Wedding & Event Producer, Postcard Weddings

“When we first began five years ago, budgets were considerably down from years past but since then, we have seen them steadily climb. From what I hear in the market, we’re not quite rebounded to where the industry was 10 years ago, but we’re heading in that direction.”
Amos Traystman, Owner/Guitar/Manager- Matchmaker Band

“Statistically speaking, wedding budgets are increasing every year, and my clients as a whole are finding that couples aren’t necessarily pushing back on pricing as they have in recent years. Couples are older and generally more established than the previous generation, and they are splurging on meaningful elements for the Big Day. We’re still seeing DIY touches but the big difference from five years ago is that the couples aren’t necessarily sitting on their living room floor creating things. Instead, they’re purchasing these DIY-inspired pieces from Etsy or hiring unique rental and production companies, such as Paisley and Jade, to execute their DIY vision.”
Meghan Ely, wedding PR expert, OFD Consulting

Photo by Romodinka / © Getty Images

More on the mighty, mighty millennials

Millennials

4) They want their wedding their way--how millenials are affecting the wedding industry

“We’re finding that this generation of couples is eager to incorporate personalized elements to make their wedding more unique. Custom wedding branding, such as logos, is popping up with more frequency- we’re seeing it on everything from the stationery to the cake topper and reception lighting.

"As of late, we’ve flown in ice cream made specifically at a shop where the bride worked as a teen, which was the ‘star’ of the ice cream bar at the reception. In other instances, we served the groom’s favorite treats in lieu of a groom’s cake. Instead, guests enjoyed a popcorn bar, milkshakes and the always-popular combination of cereal and milk.”
Emily Sullivan, owner, Get Polished Events

“This trend has played out well for our planning team- we have a very authentic and sincere brand and love, abd many of our couples want that same feeling for their wedding day. For years, wedding ceremonies and receptions have been about the production and ‘wow’ factor. Many couples want to be more genuine and by bringing in a very homespun feel, they are able to allow their personalities and love for each other be the focal point of the event.”
Wedding planner Kate Franzen, owner of Lovebirds Events

“Las Vegas has always organically paired with modern weddings, with the majority of our events boasting ‘glitz and glam elements,’ while my destination weddings in Napa and Mexico are beginning to embrace French-inspired designs with a dash of whimsy. Millennials are focusing on personalizing their big day but many of the overriding themes seem to be influenced in part by the region.

"Regardless of the overall look, social media is playing a prevalent role with nearly all of our weddings. Wedding websites are as common as ever but now couples are carefully crafting their own wedding hashtags and incorporating them throughout their details. Guest interaction is at an all time high, with attendees utilizing the wedding hashtag on Instagram and Twitter, sharing wedding moments as they happen. In fact, we’re making it a point to get in on the fun, and love sharing across multiple social media platforms.”
Celebrity wedding planner Brit Bertino, owner of Brit Bertino, Event Excellence

“Millennial couples will change the wedding landscape forever. They are pushing the limits on traditions and adapting everything to fit them. They are the first generation where their parents have allowed them to step away from tradition, and the parents are embracing the individualization as well. They use technology to their benefit, so they are constantly exposed to inspiration and ideas that they can then personalize to fit their chosen aesthetic and personality. Sites such as Pinterest and Etsy encourage creativity and, as such, it pushes vendors to expand our creative reach to provide individual service to each couple.”
Kevin Dennis, JWIC, owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services
National President-WIPA (Wedding Industry Professionals Association)
President-Silicon Valley NACE (National Association for Catering & Events)

“Just being in Austin, personalization and quirkiness is definitely the name of the game, which pairs well with the millennial couple. We have performed at weddings at a variety of unique venues--from working urban fams to downtown vintage cottages that have been converted into bars. There is always a consistent level of class, but the presentation, location and aesthetic varies greatly. Austin’s slogan is ‘keep Austin weird,' and weddings are not immune to this ideology, especially in this day and age.”
Amos Traystman, Owner/Guitar/Manager- Matchmaker Band

“We are certainly still getting couples who want to have a really styled wedding look, often inspired by such popular platforms as Pinterest. More so we are seeing couples who are feeling overwhelmed with the expectation for uber personal, unique, handmade details.

“In the next few years I think millenial couples are really going to grab hold of that need for 'authenticity' with more of a focus on the marriage than the actual wedding. Couples still want a beautiful, classic affair, but being present and enjoying themselves is trumping the desire to spend hours creating unique details.

"Additionally, millennial consumers like to consider all options before making a choice and are used to spending time exhausting all of their options. This behavior has carried over to wedding planning as well. Couples want to see samples of work, read reviews, talk to past clients, and compare detailed pricing quotes. With that in mind, millenials may not make decisions as quickly, as they sift through the mountains of information.

"The social media trend, especially the wedding hashtag, is still in full swing, but again I predict a shift in the next few years as more and more couples are asking guests to join them in a 2-3 day getaway, and 'unplug' for the wedding itself.”
Callandra Caufield, Chief Wedding & Event Producer, Postcard Weddings

Photo by Ciaran Griffin/ © Getty Images

And trends to look for: “We are seeing an increase in the number of couples that are hosting room blocks at smaller, boutique hotels with the hope of staying together in a more private, intimate setting during the wedding weekend. Additionally, including a welcome amenity in each of the guests’ rooms is still a popular 'to do,' but more couples are placing one, thoughtful gift in each room versus leaving an entire bag of things.”
Melanie Marconi, co-founder, Where Will They Stay?

“Wedding blogs as a whole continue to be quite influential and this year, I’m seeing what I like to call ‘the rise of the niche blogs.’ Successful wedding blogs are catering to their own specific audience- whether it be Mazelmoment.com’s focus on the Jewish wedding market, BurnettsBoards.com’s dedication to inspiration shoots, or more hyper-target local blogs such as Tidewater & Tulle and United with Love. From an industry standpoint, wedding bloggers are also going above and beyond for their advertisers in an effort to show value add on for their investment. This ‘you’re more than just a directory listing’ attitude is wonderfully refreshing and I’m eager to see how it plays out.”
Meghan Ely, wedding PR expert, OFD Consulting

See the full story in the March-April issue of Special Events. Not a subscriber? We can fix that—just click here.

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