Planning your wedding online is now an essential process for brides and grooms-to-be: from browsing potential venues to creating inspirational Pinterest boards. In this article we’re looking into how a wedding venue’s online presence is critical to their overall success. We explore current trends and practices in wedding website design and see how this ties-in to our own research.
Finding the perfect place to say ’I do’ is an exciting journey that often starts online. We’re focusing on websites that excel and provide their audience with a great end-to-end user-experience.
Visitors expect a responsive website, to browse at their leisure & on any device. The style of the site should reflect the aspirations of the visitor: they expect inspirational imagery to help guide their decision-making and it is important to express through your site that you understand the bespoke and varied needs of the market.
1. Inspire your audience…
Research tells us that photos and videos are essential at the beginning of planning a wedding. Here’s some examples of trends & practices we love!
Inspirational imagery engages people. Your audience wants to be inspired by realistic wedding photography and you can make the process really easy for the user by adding ‘Pin it’ buttons, so they can add their favourites to Pinterest.
Is there such thing as just a ‘normal’ wedding? Definitely not! We want to see a range of scenery options, from a quirky rustic-chic countryside setting to a beautiful Scottish castle: we want to transport the user to their wedding heaven!
It’s a wedding, right?! An inclusive selection of imagery projects an understanding of your potential audience. We want to see gay weddings, multicultural weddings, destination weddings, traditional weddings, civil ceremonies and more!
Power-up your site search. Can your audience search by postcode, county, miles, radius, venue-size, etc?
Is your search optimised for mobile, so users can search for venues by location? Adding a map view with a breakdown by region/capacity is a really helpful way of engaging with your site visitors and encouraging repeat searches.
It’s all about the Venue!
Authentic, venue-specific testimonials are fantastic – your audience wants to know as much as possible about each potential venue and hearing from real couples who have tied the knot at your venue will help to build confidence. Venue-specific wedding imagery is also important to help your audience gain extra insight into what their wedding could be like and if this can include photography from real weddings then all the better!
Totally dedicated service
A dedicated wedding host (before and on the big day itself) is super-important to your audience. Keeping this information in an easy-to-find location on the page improves the level of confidence your audience has in the suitability of your venue. Even better to include details of the wedding planner/coordinator at your venue to allow your audience to get in touch with ease.
2. Making the short-list
Providing as much information about your venue as possible is a great idea. However, we’d recommend focusing on key details and ensuring that your content is shareable.
The perfect venue…
It’s really important to use a call out of Unique Selling Points (USPs) for each venue. For example: capacity, location, parking, proximity requirements, etc may be the one of the deciding factors for a couple. Making this information easy to find on the page helps speed up the search for that *perfect* venue.
When your audience finds something they love they will want to share it! Whether it’s on a private Pinterest board, via email to their partner, or on Facebook with friends and family: integrating social links is an absolute essential requirement for any wedding website.
Enabling your audience to share images and links easily is key, but you can boost this further with social feeds from various sources, such as Pinterest, Instagram, etc
Authentic weddings to inspire
Truly engage your audience with real wedding imagery, specific to your venue.
Wedding planning & coordinating covered
For venues with their own Wedding Planners & Coordinators, it’s a great opportunity to provide your audience with a profile & expertise (plus reviews if possible!). Images and a personal intro really help to inspire and engage.
3. Decisions, decisions…
To help inform the selection-process of your audience, we’ve found some examples that show some great thinking – put in practice.
Helping your site visitors to calculate the cost of their wedding at your venue is really important. Be proactive and provide basic package / price calculators and example budget sheet downloads.
A selection of sample menus, complete with local supplier information and recommendations really set websites apart from each other. Having this information on your website can positively inform the decision-making of your target audience. Providing links to ‘contact us’ or ‘request a call’ in a prominent area of this page is essential. One step better is to provide a name and contact number for the Wedding Coordinator at your venue.
4. Next steps
If you think the user experience ends there… not quite! Retaining your audience and providing a personalised digital experience is essential for any savvy venue.
Beyond a venue: Providing planning tools or ‘My Wedding’ search capabilities for your clients is really helpful – from checking the schedule of their big day to adding extra fizz for last-minute guests. This is where your online experience can really be taken to the next level.
Checklists: Budget calculators to help track the costs of a wedding are pretty-much straightforward and the norm, but incorporated into an online account with the ability to involve the small details such as table plans, decoration, etc can really push your site ahead of the competition.
Looking forward: Looking to the future we’d love to see a ‘guests planning section’, providing guests to share information, ask questions, book rooms, etc. We’d also like to see personalised tools to visualise how your wedding could look like in a specific venue, with interactive seating & room plans to provide an ultimate online wedding planning experience.