Targeting the “older” couple?

Marketing Your Wedding Venue

Marketing Your Wedding Venue

This is a topic I’m asked about by quite a few of my venue clients, as it’s a highly desirable sector to market to. So I thought a post on my tips for making your offering most relevant to older couples would be useful:

First up, who is the older couple?

There’s no specific age range here. Bearing in mind that the average age to marry is around 30, we start to think of people being slightly older at the nearing 40 mark. But this could go well into 50’s, 60’s and beyond. As a wedding planner, I’ve had many clients in their 40’s & 50’s who often introduce themselves as being “a bit older than average”. I think the key is how the couple perceives themselves. If they perceive themselves as older than most, it’s usually because they no longer want some of the key wedding elements that a younger couple might desire.  They might be 50 and not even mention feeling older (and good for them)! I would not assume and pigeon-hole them.

Elderly couple getting married | hugging outdoors | Kelly Chandler Consulting

What are they seeking?

This, of course, will be different for every couple depending on their circumstances. But here are some things to bear in mind with your offering at each step of the process. From your packages, website, brochures and marketing to how you handle couples in the planning:

Reduced guest list size – a lot of older couples opt for a smaller guest list than other couples – so guest list size might typically be more like 40-60 guests instead of 80-120 which is more the norm for a younger couple. This makes smaller venues particularly interested in this age group and understandably so.  But don’t assume. I’ve had couples in their fifties, host weddings for 250 guests, try to make at least some of your marketing material and particularly your images applicable to this age group.

Small outdoor wedding with 12 seats for guests | Kelly Chandler Consulting Small outdoor wedding with 12 seated guests | Kelly Chandler Consulting

Music, dance and kids – with a smaller guest list, couples tend to be less interested in late night events or have an insistence on dancing, particularly if the guest list is small – the wedding might also be more likely to take place on a Sunday or a weekday although that will depend on a lot of factors.  There is often a big difference between a bride of 42 (who doesn’t consider herself “typically bridal” because she has 2 school age kids but still likes to party) and a retired couple in their 60s who would have different needs. Try not to make too many assumptions but instead give options.  Think about promoting what you can arrange, how you can host kids at your venue – children (and large numbers of them) are much more of a consideration at weddings these days. The smart venue will have a plan already for them, rather than waiting to be asked.

Food & Drink – I find in almost all cases where the couple is older than average, food and drink for the wedding celebration is of the utmost importance. This is the area to really focus on and showcase if you want to attract this market. Couples are usually quite knowledgeable about the food they eat, are well travelled, used to fine-dining, have connections themselves in the wine industry and much more – you need to think about how to present yourselves to give this audience the personal attention of  your Chef, the opportunity to really “bespoke” their menu, be able to consult your sommelier about the wines and compile something very special.

fine dining savoury plate and desert plate | Kelly Chandler Consulting Hands holding red wine bottle | styled photo of red wine decanter red wine glass and bottle | Kelly Chandler Consulting

Where are they?

The million dollar question is where are these couples? They are notoriously hard to track down as they typically don’t “hang out” in the usual places that younger couples do.  They are more likely to buy the odd wedding magazine than being regular blog readers and social media users. They generally don’t go to wedding shows and fairs to make themselves known, but they’re more likely to choose a location which they have a connection to either geographically or sentimentally. Venues which serve another purpose (ie. Private members club, gallery, museum) often do well with this age group in being in the right place at the right time in their lives, but I think all venues could do better by being more inclusive of the older couple by showing more images of the relevant age range marrying at their venue and by really focusing on promoting the very finest quality of food, drink and service that is of great appeal.

Who is your ideal type of couple that you’d like to market to? Do you need help to refresh and refine your marketing collateral so that you can reach the right audience for your venue?  Get in touch and I’ll help you bring your unique venue to today’s exciting and modern wedding market.

Image credits: Feature Image by: Next Avenue // Couple: Brianna Siddoway Photography // Ceremony Set Up: Flory Photo + Nirav Photography //  Food/Dessert: Galloping Gourmet // Wine: Helen Cathcart

Kelly Chandler Wedding Consulting helps property and land owners thrive by generating profit from hosting weddings. Kelly and team offer specialist private consulting and group training programmes.

Kelly is a well-respected go-to expert in the business of weddings with a unique grasp of both wedding customer expectations and a host venue's commercial needs.

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