How Wedding Planners Can Target a New Generation
The wedding planning industry is constantly in flux! This can be attributed to new wedding trends that pop up regularly, but it has much more to do with new generations and their approach to wedding planning. As a certified wedding planner, this is great news. It means that your job is never, ever boring, and that you get to work with a variety of different demographics and personalities.
In order to effectively target a new generation of clients, you’ll need a solid understanding of who these demographics are. Join us as we list a few types of clients that you’ll encounter as a wedding planner and describe how to market your services to them. Be sure to take note of specific demographics in your own area so you can target your services right away!
When we say “older couples”, we’re not referring to recently engaged seniors (although this is a demographic of its own!). Fifty years ago, it was commonplace for women to be married in their late teens and early 20s. Nowadays, however, there are more brides over 30 than ever before – many women are putting their career and independence first, and choosing to wait longer to tie the knot.
This shift may seem small, but it will have a direct impact on your wedding planning career, due to the fact that these brides are savvy. They’ve had years to master the management of their finances, and know how to shop around when it comes to big-ticket items such as houses and cars. Your job as a wedding planner is still hugely important, but you won’t be dealing with naïve, uninformed couples any longer. This couple knows what they want, and are not likely to be swayed into off-beat decisions when it comes to their big day.
Where to find them:
Knowing where this demographic of newly engaged couples resides is a necessary first step. Typically, you’ll find career-oriented couples living in an urban area, rather than a rural one. Cities tend to be much more career-focused, so if your bride has climbed her way up the corporate ladder, she’s likely done so in a metropolis. New York City is an excellent location to target, as it offers a variety of different neighborhoods with newly engaged couples actively searching for the right wedding planner!
How to target them:
Take some time to research the websites and locations that brides-to-be (and grooms) over the age of 30 would be interested in. Understanding the lifestyle of this demographic will help you deliver a strong and powerful marketing message – consider advertising in a local lifestyle or social magazine to get your brand out there, and even join an association.
Also, make sure that your website and social media presence deliver a serious punch in terms of the services you provide, your contact information, reviews from previous clients, and photos from weddings you’ve worked on. This demographic will be scouring websites just like yours and looking for a wedding planner that suits their specific needs, so make sure you are accessible at all times and put your best possible foot forward.
When it comes to breaking traditions, millennials take the (wedding) cake! The term “millennial” was coined in 1991 by historians Neil Howe and William Strauss, who defined the demographic as those born between 1982 and 2004. Because these years are so far apart, there is no one “type” of millennial couple – some will be in their 30s when they get married, while others will marry younger. One commonality is that they’ll likely be on a strict budget, so it’s your job as a wedding planner to be mindful of how much they can spend. Make suggestions throughout the wedding planning process that help keep spending down.
The most important takeaway for wedding planners who want to target millennial couples is to remember that there are no rules. They are creative and original and will want to rip up the wedding rulebook in favor of destination weddings and personalized elements.
Where to find them:
Millennials are the largest generation in history, with about 80 million people falling within the category. While many millennials aspire to live independently in a city (and many do!), there is a huge concentration of the older group of this demographic (25-34) in the suburbs of states such as Massachusetts, Virginia, and California. Of course, these suburbs are up-and-coming, but they’re still not city centers. The younger group of millennials (20-24) are more likely to reside in small college towns. This is a wide range, so you’ll need to do further research if you want to determine the best, most concentrated location of millennials.
How to target them:
This is a generation that is constantly plugged into YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest. They are highly visual, and use these channels to connect with their loved ones and friends. In order to best target them, you’ll need to hop on the technology bandwagon (if you haven’t already) and create accounts on all of the platforms mentioned above, and then keep them meticulously maintained. Keep in mind that this generation will want to be actively involved in the planning of their wedding (remember: they’re creative and love to break the rules!), so one idea is to create a wedding package with a huge collaborative component. Let potential clients know that you’ll work with their Pinterest boards, DIY ideas, and unique vision to come up with a wedding full of personalized and memorable touches.
We’ve said it before – the wedding industry is constantly in flux. As a result of marriage equality is the standard throughout much of North America, wedding planners are working with more and more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) clients.
This is an exciting time, and it’s likely a new concept for you as a wedding planner. Even more so than with millennials, engaged same-sex couples will break traditional wedding rules. Having an open mind in your role as a planner is absolutely essential! You’ll need to be flexible to your clients’ needs and vision, and not make any assumptions about how they want their big day to look – they may want it to be traditional after all. You’ll also want to make sure that all of your sub-contractors are on board with working at a same-sex wedding. This will keep the couple feeling completely happy and at-ease on their wedding day!
Where to find them:
Unlike older couples and millennials, this particular demographic doesn’t have one specific location. Same-sex couples live in rural areas, suburbs, and cities, and are all different in terms of their career and lifestyle goals. In Canada, for example, the province of Ontario has the highest amount of same-sex couples, and half of all these couples are concentrated in five of the country’s largest cities.
How to target them:
As with older couples and millennials, keeping your website and social media presence strong still rings very true. Same-sex couples will be using the same avenues as other demographics to find the right wedding planner, so packaging your wedding planning services accordingly and maintaining a strong online presence is huge. One important item to keep in mind is that this demographic is quite vulnerable – they need to know that they can trust you, and they need to feel welcome when they find your services both online and in-person.
So how can you establish this trust early on? First, make sure everything your potential client sees is gender-neutral. This includes all your marketing materials, contact forms, and the photos on your website and social media. Be sure to use terms such as “brides and grooms”, “all couples in love”, or simply “couples”, as these are all-inclusive and will establish a positive vibe right away.
Plus, ensure that the photos on your website and Facebook/Instagram/Twitter include same-sex couples, so this demographic can see for themselves that you’ve planned same-sex weddings before. Don’t be afraid to get out into the community, as well – attend marriage equality association events, connect with other wedding planners who work with same-sex couples, and share guest blogs on appropriate websites. These are all great ways to make an excellent first impression, and to get your name out there as a wedding planner!