Destination weddings continue to be the fastest growing segment of the US $300 billion worth global wedding market. Luxury destination wedding specialists speaking at the 4th Annual Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress share their insights on the trends gaining popularity in the destination wedding industry ahead of the DWP Congress taking place in Phuket along with the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Organized annually in a new destination by Dubai-based QnA International, the DWP Congress is the world’s fastest growing B2B destination weddings event in the world.
5 key trends are set to take the industry by storm in the coming months according to these experts:
- The gravitational pull of Asia as a destination
- the emphasis on culture
- the importance of experiential dining and authentic flavours
- the need for exclusive experiences
- the increasing preference for longer stays
According to Joe Blackman, CEO, Collection 26, “With the Brexit situation in the UK, leaving the European Union, I think this may make people specifically from London look much further afield in terms of weddings. During the first stages of Brexit, there is going to be an increasing amount of trade uncertainty and airline tariffs and prices will also likely increase. We are seeing more enquiries in Asia, and I think that well become the next hot destination in 2018/2019. ” “Mexico is becoming increasingly popular too, especially with the peso being devalued currently”, he added.
Popular destinations in Asia cover a vast range of exotic destinations from Thailand, to Japan, to Bali, Maldives and the United Arab Emirates.
Kathy Apostolidis, Director, Events by Nightingales, Australia, also indicated a preference for destinations that differ from the popular retail locations: “Clients are looking for European and Asian locations that are luxurious but removed from the hustle and bustle of popular destinations but at the same time they do want a high level of luxury products and services that they would ordinarily expect in a major city.”
The décor and even the entertainment selected for weddings is now being chosen on the basis of the culture of the land. Narelle Williams, Director, Global Weddings, Australia commented, “From props, to furniture, lighting, table décor, there is a focus on tropical themes, metallic, and innovative gifts for the guests with cultural theme borrowed from the destination”.
“Some clients are also turning to the other end of the spectrum and seeking a “local” village experience filled with the traditions and customs of the local destination,” adds Kathy.
With the appeal of experiential dining growing expeditiously, there has been an interesting turn of events when it comes to the food served at weddings, “We find that guests are more open to experimenting with new cuisines, such as game meat, which definitely enhances their entire experience,” said Aleit Swanepoel, Founder & Chairman, The Aleit Group, South Africa. JoAnn Gregoli, Owner, Elegant Occasions, USA, feels that there is now more of an emphasis on food and wine pairings along with the concept of “farm to table” also being preferred by many couples on their big day.
Experiential travel was the “travel trend” for 2016, and it has had a ginormous impact on the destinations now being chosen for weddings. Echoing similar views Aleit Swanepoel added that many couples are embracing “experience” weddings, with an African theme for example. What I love most about these weddings, is the wonderful energy that builds amongst the guests when they travel together. Weddings become a three-day event, with pre-wedding BBQ’s, cocktail functions and excursions.
Longer stays continue to be a growing trend. “People are paying for guests all inclusive experience so that all their guests can stay in one place; meaning they cover airfare and hotel rooms“ adds Alison. The guests usually tend to increase their stay at the destination and explore the destination at leisure pre and post wedding.
When it comes to décor, “We’re seeing rustic-chic over structured pomanders, we’re seeing loose bouquets more so than strategically crafted ones and finally we’re entering the world of the millennial brides who are more interested in crafting wedding experiences rooted in culture and authenticity.” explained JoAnne Brown, MD/CEO, Celebrations Group Ltd., Cayman Islands.
This year’s edition is all geared up to take place from 2 to 4 May in Phuket, Thailand.