Luxury Weddings

The One Area You Should Be Less Efficient In, Starting Today

"The people at the very top don't work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work muchmuch harder.” – Malcolm Gladwell

The one thing that almost every wedding professional can do to immediately improve their customer service and brand positioning?

Stop sending automated email replies.

This is especially true if you work in the luxury market. 

High-end means high touch. The saying, “Work smarter not harder” is well-intentioned, but the fact of the matter is that if you want to command a higher fee for your services, you will need to work both smarter and harder. If you want to position yourself as a high-end brand that understands the nuances of the luxury client, you have to put in the actual effort. You have to actually “touch.” 

Here’s some tough love: automated and canned replies may help you feel more organized and efficient behind the scenes, but they make you look cold and uncaring. 

I’m willing to bet that when you wrote out your core values and mission statement for your business and marketing plans, “cold” and “uncaring” were not traits you included as wanting to be known as. 

Yet thousands of wedding professionals are actively branding themselves as such in the name of efficiency. 

The first name mail merge and seemingly personalized, “Hi, how are you?” greetings don’t fool anyone. Nobody likes receiving automated emails. They’re like receiving unsigned holiday cards in that they convey to the recipient that they are nothing more than a checkmark you need to tick on your to-do list, and not someone you actually care about. 

Tighten corners elsewhere in your business. When it comes to client communication, it is much better to do things the long, hard, stupid way. 

Your advantage is that most of your competitors will read this, roll their eyes, and continue to automate everything. Let them. Focus on yourself and your own company and step up your game.

People almost always hire the person who makes them feel the best from the very beginning of the process. Be the person who’s willing to sacrifice a little bit of efficiency in order to make people feel truly valued, heard, and connected.

PS: Since telling people that you'll reply to them within 48 hours is seen by most potential brides and grooms as too long to wait, you can use tools like IFTTT or Zapier to send you a push notification or text message when you get a new inquiry. This way you or a team member can reply quickly while still maintaining whichever boundaries you’ve set around the rest of your inbox.

5 Facts About Luxury Weddings

It's no secret that the luxury wedding market (defined as wedding budgets of $96,000 or more, not including the honeymoon) is a sought after segment of the bridal industry. Working with couples who have higher budgets not only allows wedding professionals more money to work with creatively, but helps many in the industry build sustainable businesses. When there are only 52 weekends in a year to hold the majority of weddings, being able to charge more for services is a strategic option that many pros try to make a reality. If you're one of the wedding professionals working in or wanting to move into the high-end wedding market, here are five facts about luxury weddings that may be useful as you develop and improve on your business and marketing plans:

1. It's not just the parents who are wealthy. 

1 in 5 (22%) of couples who had a luxury wedding last year have an annual household income of over $500,000. 

2. It's not just mom or dad footing the bill. 

More than a third (38%) of couples having a luxury wedding pay for part or all of the wedding themselves. This means that potential wedding budget money is likely competing with other financial priorities: investments, retirement, a new home purchase, and even taking care of other people (1 in 5 millennials are financially responsible for family members outside of their household).

3. Million dollar weddings are a real thing. 

10% of couples having luxury weddings spent a million dollars or more last year, a percentage that actually increased from 2015, believe it or not. While 10% may seem like a small percentage, it's still a significant number of weddings. The competition may be fierce, but there is plenty of work in this ultra-luxe segment to go after. 

4. Pinterest is (still) the most used social media platform among wealthy brides and grooms. (Instagram is number five. Yes, really.)

This is one of those facts that creatives don't like to hear, but just because Pinterest may not be your social platform of choice doesn't make it any less valuable to engaged couples in research mode. Remember, people use social differently when wedding planning than they do in their daily life. These couples may not be DIYing everything, but they are highly educated and do their homework. They will expect you to know everything about every idea they bring to the table, and they will come armed with research. This isn't a knock against you as an expert, it's them trusting that you know even more than they can possibly find online.

5. High-end brides and grooms read both print magazines and wedding blogs. 

1 in 5 (20%) of brides or grooms started reading wedding magazines before they were even engaged, and nearly half (42%) read wedding blogs before getting engaged. It's a lot easier to read blogs on the down low before a ring is on your finger than it is a magazine, but this group does read both print and digital. With this highly educated group, it's important to make sure that your marketing and publicity efforts aren't narrowly focused to just one platform or media outlet. 

You can learn more about the luxury wedding market and how real couples are making their bridal purchase and hiring decisions by downloading the 2017 Luxury Wedding Market Report from Splendid Insights. You can also download the Ultra Luxury Wedding Market Report (budgets of $500,000+) or choose from over a dozen other wedding market reports

Photo by Nancy Ray

Insights Into the Ultra Luxury Wedding Market (budgets of $500k+)

You asked and we listened! I'm happy to share that the first ever Ultra Luxury Wedding Market Report is now available from Splendid Insights! This report takes a look at the high-end of the luxury wedding market, specifically budgets of $500,000 or more, not including the honeymoon. 

While this segment is small compared to the rest of the wedding market, it is still lucrative and this report is designed for professionals working with these ultra high-end clients, but who have never had access to wedding-specific insights and statistics focused on this niche. Here are a few takeaways from the Ultra Luxury Wedding Market Report:

  • 1 in 5 couples within this segment spend over a million dollars on their wedding, with 8% spending over $3 million. 
  • Nearly half of the couples pay for part or all of the wedding themselves, and this segment tends to skew a little older (fewer millennials than the others, though they are still the majority wedding client in this group). 
  • They are the most educated of the all the budget segments and the heaviest bridal media users – brides and grooms having ultra luxury weddings do their homework and are not careless with how they spend their money.

You can download the 2017 Ultra Luxury Wedding Market Report here. You can also view the other 2017 Wedding Market Reports here, including the Global Wedding Market Report, the Australian Wedding Market Report, the UK Wedding Market Report, the US Wedding Market Report, and four additional wedding budget segments (EconomicalStandardPremium, and Luxury).

Photo by Nancy Ray