The rise of the micro-wedding and what it means for venues

Some may blame the Coronavirus pandemic for the rise of the so-called micro-wedding but in fact a more intimate ‘big day’ was gaining popularity long before the dreaded Covid-19 was even a thing.
Despite government restrictions on private gathering sizes easing, many couples will have erred on the side of caution when planning their 2021 or even 2022 wedding and consciously opted for a little big day. Nevertheless, it looks like micro-weddings are here to stay as couples revel in their simplicity.

But what implications does this have for you and your venue?

Does a smaller guest list mean smaller revenue?

Clearly, reduced numbers at any wedding party are going to impact upon venues that usually price per head, however all is not lost.


Food for thought…

A bride and groom might traditionally be watching the pennies and keeping a tight hold on the purse-strings when it comes to nourishing their guests. But with a smaller party, they could be more inclined to splash out on their wedding breakfast menu and spoil their nearest and dearest with a more sophisticated and indulgent selection of culinary delights.

Buffets, which are often selected by couples as a means of reducing spend,  have become less favoured in the presence of Covid-19. The increased potential of infection spread by shared serving utensils and likelihood of breathing the virus over food is enough to put anyone off – especially the  venues offering it and the potential repercussions. This makes a sit down meal the best option all round.

The opportunities for up-selling, don’t stop at the food – those popular house champagnes usually selected for the welcome drinks and toast, could easily be switched out for a bottle that brings greater returns. Cocktail party after dinner? Why the hell not?!

Many couples that opt for a smaller guest list are more inclined to indulge in their menu for their special day, so the up-sell is often easier than you might think.



An element of entertainment

Smaller more intimate celebrations can be lovely, though they can lack the atmosphere and energy of a larger gathering that some couples crave.

This may also strike the fear of disappointing their guests into brides and grooms – motivating them to seek a little theatre to make their wedding day as memorable as possible – for all the right reasons.

With this brings a great opportunity for venues to offer couples a unique experience to enrich their day. These might include wine, champagne or gin tasting, cocktail making, dessert sampling or entertainment in another form. All can serve to enhance the atmosphere, and your venue’s profits – particularly if you can generate the activity in house.

This area alone is worth some serious brainstorming within your team and generating or growing your list of trusted suppliers – from whom you could benefit from a commission, for simply putting them in touch.



Smaller numbers and shorter celebrations

Fewer guests to attend to means reduced strain on your staffing rota and resources best allocated elsewhere. Though it is also worth considering that more intimate wedding days often run a much shorter and less conventional course than a traditional wedding of 100 or so guests. With this in mind, it might be possible (Covid restrictions pending) to double up on bookings to increase your venue’s income each day.

Smaller numbers might also mean that smaller spaces within your hotel or venue might suddenly be a feasible location to host a wedding celebration – offering you another opportunity to book multiple celebrations within your venue on the same day.



Review your pricing structure and how you position each tier

It may be a while since your pricing structure has received any major scrutiny but with a change in trends as dramatic as this, now might just be the time to do it.

Apply some clever psychology to your positioning of each package – including an option that is unrealistic for all bar a select few might actually encourage more to buy into the tier below, which may currently be your premium wedding package. Rather than thinking ‘bronze, silver and gold’, think ‘bronze, silver, gold and platinum’

With micro-weddings following a much less traditional format than the usual big day, it’s worth exploring different package arrangements and being more creative with your offering to appeal to your couples’ desires for a unique, experience-rich and memorable day.

Tell us your stories

We’d love to hear how your venue has reacted to smaller party sizes – whether government inflicted or by choice.

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