There is a decent chance you know someone who had their wedding canceled or postponed during 2020 as the pandemic closed down venues or caused logistical challenges.
According to research from The Knot, 47% of couples postponed their 2020 weddings, including 15% to 2021 or beyond. Another 32% of couples still tied the knot in 2020 but moved their receptions to 2021 or 2022 (7% canceled their reception altogether). What does that all mean? Together, 47% of couples are looking to 2021 and beyond for their wedding and/or reception, not to mention the approximately 2.5 million weddings that take place in the U.S. each year. That’s one reason many are calling 2021 the year of the wedding.
Given that, there are some key trends the hospitality industry should be aware of.
What are Microweddings and Minimonies?
The idea of a microwedding or minomony isn’t entirely new, but the global pandemic brought the idea into the spotlight and boosted the adoption. The biggest trend across the wedding industry during 2020 was small guest lists. According to data from The Knot, 30% of weddings last year had 26-50 guests while 22% had 25 or less. On average, guest lists dropped 50%, from an average of 131 guests per wedding in 2019 to just 66 in 2020.
Even as restrictions ease in 2021, the adoption of smaller weddings could continue.
A microwedding is a wedding with 50 or fewer guests. These weddings have allowed couples to enjoy a typical wedding day (ceremony, reception and all) while working with a smaller budget and a more exclusive guest list. This shift has seen more couples host both parts at a hotel rather than a combination of a church and hotel.
A minimony has 10 or fewer guests and offers a more intimate wedding. In many cases, a minimony is a destination wedding attended by close family and friends. Some couples still opt to have a reception for others at a later date.
What does this mean for hoteliers? It’s important to offer and market a range of wedding packages. Hilton hotels across the United States are offering microwedding packages and, in some cases, hybrids where the wedding is also live-streamed using Hilton EventReady.
The wedding industry totals $55 billion each year, and while it saw a 36% decline in 2020, it’s expected to see an uptick in the coming years. Not only that, but smaller weddings don’t necessarily mean smaller budgets. The cost per guest actually increased from $214 in 2019 to $244 during the pandemic. There is ample opportunity awaiting hotels in the wedding space, but it’s important to follow the new trends and market accordingly.
Don’t forget the wedding receptions
While it makes sense to use resources to target weddings, it’s important, now more than ever, to keep an eye on standalone wedding receptions. Remember the 32% of people who were married in 2020 but plan to hold a reception later? The Knot breaks those plans down as follows:
- 52% in first half of 2021
- 43% in second half of 2021
- 5% in 2022 or beyond
In addition to new ceremonies and receptions in 2021, there will be a number of carryover celebrations from 2020 weddings. And, budgets haven’t really changed. The average reception spend in 2019 was $23,000 and the projected average budget in 2021 is $22,500. One trend that has taken off amidst the pandemic is the idea of ‘sequel weddings.’ While more couples are having minimonies, they’re having sequel weddings to celebrate with a larger guest list later.
Both microweddings and minimonies offer hotels the chance to host both the entire wedding celebration, including the ceremony and small receptions. But it’s important to not lose sight of the opportunity to host receptions and post-wedding celebrations that accompany both traditional, larger weddings and the increasingly common smaller ones.
What the wedding trends mean for hotels
It’s important for hospitality marketers to follow the trends of the wedding industry. No matter the size of the wedding or ceremony, there is a big opportunity in 2021 and 2022 as the industry plays catch-up on the thousands of weddings that were postponed.
The idea of a microwedding or minimony likely isn’t a transient event. While the uptick was sparked by a global pandemic, there are a number of advantages for couples. That trend has numerous side effects including more all-in-one hotel weddings and hotel receptions that follow smaller weddings. Putting your hotel in that picture is a crucial marketing step. A vanity website can help show off your wedding venue and offer dynamic content including photos, virtual tours and video while a social media strategy can showcase your venue.