There was a time when getting married meant gathering your nearest and dearest at a ceremony held in the local church or at the registry office, but when it comes to saying “I Do”, more unusual locations are very much in vogue. TV shows like Don’t Tell the Bride are encouraging couples to think outside the box and many are now searching out more unique locations to hold their special day. While country houses and castles are still in demand, places like museums, lighthouses, former prisons, cinemas and even garden centres are increasingly being sought out as quirky backgrounds for proceedings. So, should your business consider branching out in order to take advantage of the trend?
USPs that could make you great
There are many different reasons that may encourage a couple to choose your business or premises to host their big day. At a very basic level, convenience and budget will play a major part, so if you’re in a great spot with even better transport links and you can offer a competitive wedding package, you could well find you have a place in the market. If you’re a restaurant or pub that’s already known for its great food, hosting wedding receptions could open up a great new stream of revenue for you.
Historic buildings or those with good architecture are naturally appealing, though even the quaintest of cafes could find success if they boast appealing views such as a lakeside location or positioned in the middle of beautiful gardens or countryside. From large, luxurious holiday homes that can be transformed to host the whole day through to campsites offering a range of marquees and accommodation options suitable for all of your guests, for a full weekend.
This variety of options ensures that a range of businesses can and do make money from marriages. Whether you choose to hire out your premises or offer wedding packages, the resulting revenue stream could prove particularly useful in your off-peak periods. This is perhaps why we are seeing more garden centres and even school grounds being offered up as locations to tie the knot.
Adjustments to get ‘wedding party’ ready
Being licensed to hold legal ceremonies is certainly an advantage if you’d like to tap into the wedding market, but it’s by no means a prerequisite. Many couples now choose to have their reception and marriage or civil partnership ceremony in different venues. This means you could market yourself as a venue for a reception, or as a spot to hold private parties for family and friends for those who have married abroad.
To find out more about becoming a licensed venue you can contact your local authorities or visit the government website. If you do decide to apply you will need to be able to identify a specific room where ceremonies can take place as the law still requires a room in a building to hold the license rather than a venue.
Along with ensuring your building meets the necessary safety requirements, you may find that you want to make a few adjustments to make it more inviting to wedding parties. Extra refrigeration and food storage, a power generator and additional toilets will make your venue event ready. Clients may also expect on site parking and facilities such as wifi. Ultimately however, you’ll need to consider how picture perfect your premises are.
Much can be done to transform your chosen venue, with beautiful flower displays and wedding decorations, though offering good lighting is essential for photographing the big day. With this in mind, could a skylight add the wow factor to your building?
Bi-fold doors will also allow a good flow of light and have the benefit of allowing guests to spill in and out to mingle more easily, when the weather allows. If you have an older style building and don’t fancy fitting anything UPVC, Vufold stocks real oak bi-folds that offer a bit of character as well as convenience.
Getting the word out
It can take time to establish yourself as a desirable wedding or event venue, but there are some steps you can take to help you on your way. Getting to know local suppliers such as florists, DJs and photographers is recommended, as networking can play a big part in securing clientele.
You could consider reaching out to suppliers and local press, bridal magazines and bridal blogs and offer to host a shoot on your premises. Social media can also be helpful in getting your name out there, so try taking part in specialist chats on platforms such as Twitter including #weddinghour. Offering discounted packages at launch for events hosted during off-peak season and less in demand periods such as midweek or late winter, as this could also help to raise interest and generate plenty of photos and testimonials that you could use on your website or social media platforms.