Lavish, over-the-top weddings with extensive guest lists are a thing of the past, at least for the near future. Post-pandemic couples are opting for smaller, more intimate events to celebrate their big day, either with a micro-wedding or a minimony; elopements are also on the rise. While this downsizing of events has certainly impacted the hospitality industry, hoteliers can adapt their offerings to cater to these safety-conscious couples.
What are micro-weddings and minimonies?
Recently, terms such as 'micro-wedding,' 'minimony,' and 'sequel wedding' have been seeing heavy search volume in Google. But what do they mean and how can you attract brides looking to host these types of events?
According to The Knot, a micro-wedding is just as it sounds: a small-scale ceremony and reception of roughly 50 people or less. Rather than postpone their nuptials, some couples are saving their date while drastically cutting down the guest list instead. However, this does not necessarily mean a decreased budget. Many brides are choosing to spend more per guest on things like food and favors, while others are opting to pay for their guest accommodations.
On the other hand, a minimony is a much smaller event for just a handful of people, with the sole focus being on the exchanging of vows. Minimonies are typically held with the intention of hosting a larger ceremony and reception at a later date. This future celebration in called a 'sequel wedding' and typically looks like a more traditional, large-scale wedding. Minimonies often include only immediate family or even just the bride, groom, officiant, and witness.
What can you do to prepare your space for these new small-scale events?
While massive ballrooms and event venues are no longer needed for these smaller ceremonies, hoteliers can still utilize these spaces to provide couples with a setting that will suite their needs. Using partitions to shrink a room to the correct size is the easiest way to transform the space. This is also a good time for hotels without a traditional event venue to get in on the game.
In a survey conducted by the American Marriage Ministries (AMM) at the start of the pandemic, 82% of officiants surveyed said they saw a rise in the "use of non-traditional wedding venues, suggesting flexibility when it comes to venues and ambiance." Think creatively about spaces on the property that can be used for a small ceremony with just a handful of people.
Below are a few ideas to get you started:
- Perhaps there's a plot of grass or outdoor seating area that can be transformed into a small yet beautiful ceremony space with over-the-top florals.
- An outdoor pool deck is another space that can be easily converted into a unique reception area with string lights and floating candles.
- Restaurants can serve as intimate reception venues for smaller parties with customized menus, floral arrangements, and special linens.
- Allow couples to dress up a small room typically reserved for meetings with unique decor and (if possible) provide AV equipment for live streaming the event for those who are unable to attend.
Now, more than ever, technology is playing a key role in these smaller celebrations. In the same survey mentioned above, 21% of officiants reported an "increased use of technology" as the most significant change in post-pandemic weddings. According to Natasha Anakotta from AMM, "In addition to the growing popularity of smaller weddings, we're seeing a lot of hybrid weddings - where couples supplement intimate ceremonies...with an online guest list. This way, they can maintain a safe environment for their small in-person ceremony, but loved ones can tune in to share in the celebration from afar." Ensuring your venues have the proper AV equipment will be a strong selling point for couples who plan to live-stream their nuptials for their digital guest list.
Hoteliers likely have several couples who are considering their options when it comes to a previously planned wedding. According to Elaina Anthony, a wedding and events planner based on the East Coast, brides are looking for creative ways to save their date rather than postponing their nuptials. "It is hard to predict what next year will bring, but with optimism I and many couples are planning to host their larger weddings as originally planned in 2021! We do so with the knowledge that things may change at a moment's notice so back up plans with back up plans are a must these days."
Rather that pushing the celebration to a future date, work with these couples to adjust their upcoming nuptials to better suit their needs while (hopefully) keeping the same budget. Your on-site event planners should offer unique ways to transform the venue and ensure safety. They may also suggest hosting a minimony now with a plan for a traditional-sized wedding in the coming months; consider offering special rates for couples who choose to host both events at your hotel.
How to market these nano-nuptials
A picture is worth a thousand words and imagination is a powerful tool. If it is in your budget, it could be beneficial to hold a staged photoshoot that shows brides the possibilities for hosting their big day at your hotel or resort. Dress up the different venues with seating, a few simple floral arrangements, and other décor items that demonstrate the potential for a romantic and special event. Use this imagery on your website, social media, and paid media campaigns.
To go along with this imagery, it is crucial to optimize your website with the wedding-related terms being searched for by couples. Keywords such as "minimony" and "micro-wedding" have seen massive growth in the last few months and should be sprinkled throughout your website in a thoughtful manner.
Another option to consider is offering customizable wedding packages for couples who choose to host their big day at your hotel. If hosting a ceremony or reception on-site is just not an option, another idea is to partner with a local events venue and offer special room rates for their couples (and vice versa).
The goal is to increase visibility of your hotel for couples looking for somewhere to host their big day. Highlighting safe and unique options on your website and optimizing your content is the first step.
For more than 20 years, Vizergy has served the hospitality industry with leading marketing technologies, knowledgeable talent and exceptional service for clients worldwide. The company deploys complete travel life-cycle marketing solutions from conversion-optimized website design to award-winning digital marketing programs, reservation solutions, media planning and execution. Vizergy's platform is touted as the #1 digital marketing system – easy to use, turnkey and SMART, and continually enhanced with tools to help hotels compete and maximize revenue. At Vizergy, hospitality marketing is not only our mission, it's our sole focus.