1. It’s all about the backdrop and scenery.
We asked couples to tell us the top must-haves for their venue and at the top of the list was a “scenic backdrop/locale.” In fact, not only was that the number one must-have, the percentage of couples that named that as a top must-have has gone up 4 points since 2011 from 44% to 48%.
2. They’re willing to spend more than ever for custom.
Couples spent on average $1,300 more on their venue in 2016 than they did in 2015. Add to that, the number of couples that said “willingness to work with their budget” was less of a priority for them — just 23% of couples cited that as a priority as opposed to 27% in 2011. Having “flexibility and options in customizing the space (decor, floor arrangement, etc)” is up 2 percentage points since 2011.
3. The bar matters (a lot).
The number of couples booking full-service premium open bars is up year over year. In fact, the number of couples with a bar at their wedding is up across the board. What’s not hot? Cash bars. Just 9% of couples cited a cash bar in 2016. That’s down from 10% the year before. (Cue the claps!) And signature cocktails have doubled since 2008. Couples want their bars to be totally stacked, and customized to a tee.
4. Also top of the venue must-have list? Use of indoor and outdoor spaces.
The percentage of couples looking for a venue that had both indoor and outdoor spaces has increased 4 points since 2011. And it’s no surprise that the outdoor spaces are topping priority lists for venues. Stylistically, semi-casual weddings are still growing in popularity and especially black-tie weddings are down. Add to that colors like blush, gold and champagne still reign.
5. They need to be able to see it to believe it (photos).
The number one thing couples look for when browsing for their wedding venue online? They’re mostly looking for pictures of recent weddings held at the venue (not empty rooms or diagrams and definitely not a series of couples shots). We know this gets tricky because you’re beholden to the photographers who shoot in your space to provide you with images of your real weddings but the more beautiful, recent real wedding photos of your venue, the better!