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Kelly Garbarino

Kelly is an expert in digital marketing, driving demand, and building successful, profitable businesses. Her work with hospitality and venue property owners is focused on helping them understand how to optimize their strategy and define their brand to accelerate revenue. Through her first-hand experience as an innkeeper and event coordinator she brings a holistic view on the industry.

We’re only halfway through 2020 and it’s been a rollercoaster year already, to say the least. But if you want to still be in business next year, pull that rearview mirror off and focus on where the wedding industry is headed, and not what it used to be. While this year has certainly brought its share of hardships, it has allowed us to have some incredibly meaningful discussions, showcased in White Stone 101 Master Classes.

We’ve had the honor of hosting two game-changing classes for wedding professionals; Diversity & Inclusion in Modern Wedding Marketing, featuring guest speakers Liene Stevens of Think Splendid and Jacqueline Nwobu of Munaluchi Bride Magazine, and How to Reach Tomorrow’s Wedding Couple with The Knot and WeddingWire.com. Below, we’ve rounded up our top takeaways from these classes to help with your wedding marketing strategies for 2020 and beyond. Access to these full Master Classes is free to anyone in the hospitality or wedding industry, so we encourage you to watch and share! Watch all our Free Master Classes on WhiteStone101.com…

vintage wedding cookies bride and groom

1. You’re Not Selling Cookie Cutters

Unique, boutique, authentic, curated… these are terms woven into your target market’s vernacular, and they should be in yours too! They don’t want pre-packaged, cookie-cutter, or mass-produced for their lunch – much less for their wedding! Ditch the term “packages” and use a term such as “collections” to convey that their event can be tailored to reflect their style. They’ll want to negotiate, but most couples will be willing to pay more for truly unique experiences.

Women enjoying spa day before wedding

2. Extend the Celebration

Couples are realizing smaller guest lists mean more budget for multi-day, extended celebrations with their closest friends and family. This is a prime opportunity for wedding venues with lodging available, and a chance for families to have an unforgettable experience together. Make sure to include this option when marketing your wedding collections!

multicultural wedding bride and groom

3. Showcase Diversity & Culture

Our country is made up of a rich tapestry of cultures and races, and it should be celebrated! However, truly being inclusive does not mean just including a few token shots of minority couples. Today, 20% of millennial marriages are interracial, so make sure your portfolio is reflective of this. Visually communicate that you welcome them to incorporate any unique cultural wedding traditions in their ceremonies – even if they are just doing it to make their parents and grandparents happy. Couples want to see themselves reflected in your marketing, and by being inclusive you will cast the widest possible net for your services.

gay lesbian wedding cake topper

4. How You Say It Matters

Although we know couples love swiping through photos and binging videos, they do still read! Make sure that you are using inclusive language in your marketing that makes everyone feel welcome. This includes terms such as bride(s), groom(s), couples, partners, or spouses.

blended step family at wedding celebration

5. Don’t Forget The Paperwork

Don’t risk alienating potential clients right before they sign on the dotted line! Make sure to review your information request forms and contracts so there is not a disconnect between your marketing and sales process. Non-traditional and blended families are quickly becoming the norm, so make sure to use flexible and inclusive language. For instance, nix the standard Mr./Mrs./Ms. and make space for stepparents. You should also endeavor to keep forms short and to the point, only collecting the truly necessary information for each stage of the sales process.

wedding planning on smartphone

6. Mobile Is Where It’s At

For the majority of the wedding market, Gen Z and Millennials, mobile is where they live. They do an incredible amount, if not all, of their wedding research on their smartphones. Today it’s not a matter of having a mobile-friendly website, but it should even rival the experience of the desktop version.

woman sending messages on smartphone

7. Need for Speed

From the speed of your website to your inquiry response time, faster is better. Today people expect near-instant gratification with the average attention span only lasting 8 to 12 seconds. And it’s not just about the potential wedding couple. If you want to rank well on Google in 2021, it is going to be imperative that your website has a snappy loading speed. Be sure to set up auto responses on your social media accounts too, if they happen to find you there instead.

Happily Ever After Wedding Sign

Ready to take your marketing to the next level? White Stone Marketing has helped thousands of small hotels, inns, wedding venues, and restaurants achieve record profits over the last 25 years. Request a FREE Diamond Report by filling out a short form and one of our seasoned marketing consultants will do a custom analysis of your digital marketing and give you immediate action items you can implement to help your business.