A single Internet Google search of the word “wedding” produces thousands of results for websites geared toward planning the perfect event. Wedding-related websites, such as theknot.com and brides.com, are connected to entire networks of wedding planning guides, blogs, forums, and directories. These sites are a virtual one-stop-shop for anyone planning a wedding. Users can book a limousine, a honeymoon, a ceremony location, and even get advice on how to plan a “green wedding.” With that, there are some definite trends consistent among those sites this year that present new opportunities for operators to cash in on.
·TREND — The “mini moon:” With so many details that today’s brides need to think about, it’s a wonder that anyone can plan their own wedding. Will you have a personal wedding website? What about party favors and save-the-date cards? Where to go for the honeymoon? The “mini moon” is an escape from the doldrums of wedding planning for the bride and groom. According to a popular wedding blog, onceuponyourwedding.com, the “mini moon” should be a 48-hour getaway to a location to escape any talk of the impending wedding — period.
What you can do: Market your company’s “mini moon” package — a wine tour, bed and breakfast hideaway, or spa day, mesh well with the concept.
·TREND — Destination wedding showers and bachelorette parties: The hottest thing this year is an overnight or weekend trip for the bachelorette and her ladies. Yoga retreats, spa treatments, and wine tours are the event of choice for women who want to skip the “ladies night out” cliché. According to theknot.com, brides appreciate the stress relief and relaxation before their wedding days.
What you can do: Cross-market your company’s bachelorette getaway package with spas, salons, and wineries in your area.
·TREND — Post-wedding party time: These days, tradition has taken a turn. Instead of jetting off to a honeymoon, younger couples are extending the excitement of their union into the wee hours of the night at clubs, bars, and restaurants. Theknot.com encourages brides to “spring for transportation with a limo or party bus.” The website also suggested reserving a private room at a local bar or club.
What you can do: Pool your resources with a bar or club in the area and offer a transportation and private party package. Or, put together a pub-crawl for your wedding party that includes transportation back to their home or hotel when the night is through.
Something Old for Something New
Research shows that wedding parties aren’t getting any smaller. “We are seeing much larger wedding parties,” says Jeanne Flitcroft of Great American Trolley Co. in New Jersey. “Entire families are now being included in transportation — parents, aunts, uncles, boyfriends and girlfriends of the wedding party,” she says. The company’s fleet of trackless wedding trolleys is suited to respond to that trend. The vehicles are capable of seating up to 50 passengers. Flitcroft says brides also find the trolleys to be more accommodating. “Instead of climbing into a limousine in a big wedding gown, the bride is able to simply walk up stairs and into a trolley.” In addition to the convenience factor, the trolley service operates just as any other chauffeured vehicle service would. The chauffeur transports the wedding party to the location of the wedding, to the reception, and then home after the event if they choose to use the service for the entire day or night.
According to Flitcroft, what also sets the service apart is that it offers the charm of an old trolley and provides extra photo opportunities of the wedding party in transit and can transport the entire wedding party to a variety of photo locations. They are also large enough to decorate inside and out to coordinate with the theme and colors of the wedding itself. Although they can be open air, the trolleys are also fully equipped with air conditioning and heat so they can be used year-round. Great American Trolley says it does about 300 weddings every year in addition to charter tours and transportation management on the east coast. “Sometimes we even have people call us from California interested in using our service for their wedding,” says Flitcroft. “We have to tell them that’s a bit too far for us!”