POST COVID-19 Pandemic Insight Survey For Destination Wedding Industry

One World One Voice

Our Perspective And Interpretation

 

Two months back, we started the #InItTogether campaign with a mission in heart to unite the industry that has come to a standstill in an unprecedented time like this. Probably one of the hardest hit – the wedding industry is down to its knees and working together to find solutions during and post COVID-19 to sustain and grow.

As a team behind the world’s biggest B2B platform for the destination wedding industry and with an unparalleled reach to worldwide wedding experts, we curated the “One Voice One World” survey that can serve as a combined voice of extraordinary wedding professionals and crème de la crème planners and creative partners to share their opinions and come to a consensus unanimously.

Having covered 1500 wedding professionals from planners and designers to hotels and tourism boards and the amazing creative partners such as visual artists, florists, digital experts, catering, entertainment experts, cake designers and many others from 70+ countries, this survey allowed us to share with you the current market sentiments and make your voice heard!

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to our DWP familia connections – planners & vendors for giving their valuable inputs in creating this report.

We are excited to share a sneak peek into the survey results with feedback received from the industry based on the enquires from couples they are getting and their analysis of how the industry will recover once the pandemic is over.

 

57% Of Wedding Professionals Believe That Couples Will Opt For A Destination Wedding Once The Pandemic Is Over

      

57% of respondents feel that couples are sticking to their destination wedding dreams or waiting for the situation to get better in the next few months for their postponed wedding to host the wedding in the last quarter of this year or 2021. Couples want to get married in their dream destination but are waiting to hear what will happen when the countries are open. As Percy Sales, Founder of Percy Sales Events from United States shares “I have clients ready to go. It will be much smaller as some guests will still have hesitation in traveling.” Similar sentiments coming from Brazil from Natalia Bonavita, Founder of DUE B Eventos & Concierge – “Destination Weddings will continue to grow. Destinations that cross oceans and borders will be avoided immediately, however, I believe that people will not stop traveling with their friends and family to celebrate”.

Bruce Russell, a UK-based wedding planner further adds “I believe people will continue to travel but pending any restrictions, it may affect the size of weddings.  There may also be a shorter lead time to not be penalized for any postponement or cancellation in case of future pandemics.”

Maya Saliba, Director of Catering, Four Seasons Resort Dubai predicts “I would see a trend of destination weddings continuing at maybe a smaller scale.”

“We still receive lots of requests, but couples try to gain as much time as possible before committing to a deposit.” Adds Katerina Ntini, Wedding Team Manager, Rocabella Santorini, Greece

With the uncertainty quite high on when will all this get over, approximately 33% of the respondents have shared a mixed feeling towards the demand for destination weddings.  “Still, the new travel regulations and accommodation not clear, also the venues and vendor’s pricing policy are not set yet. Everything will depend on how fast things go back to normal.” Says Sarah Almughamis, Kuwait-based wedding planner &Founder of Q8 Planner.

“It depends on the policies between countries and the quarantines imposed in each country. The difficulty in traveling will be the key to this.” Says Paola Herrera, Co-Partner, Atipica from Spain

“I think there will be several different scenarios:
1. The sentiment of family and friends being together will be strong. No matter the destination.
2. Weddings that would otherwise have been delayed will happen sooner due to introspection during the lockdown.
3. At the same time, some couples might be attracted to the allure and adventure of a destination wedding now that they have realized that life is short.” – shares Tracy Degoumois, Events & Special Projects, MANTIS Collection from South Africa

A roadmap from countries on the loosening of restrictions and a clear guideline on how many guests are allowed and travel guidelines can help the wedding industry to move forward.

 

Love Is Not Canceled

84% Of 2020 Weddings Have Been Postponed, Not Canceled!

 

 

The virus couldn’t kill love. It’s just a bump in the road, not the end. With a stunning 84% of weddings being postponed, it is a huge sign that we will see more destination weddings once the pandemic is over. The below sentiments of a few wedding planners confirms the same.

“Most of the couples prefer to postpone their wedding and are still being positive that everything will be back to normal soon.” Shares Hativani Kharmanjara, Weddings & Events Manager from Belmond Jimbaran Puri Bali

“Luckily all my destination clients have postponed to next year – none have canceled.” Shares Cristina Verger, Founder of Cristina Verger Event Planning from the United States

“We have spoken to all our clients, it’s best to postpone than cancel, most of the items for their events have been purchased or booked, concepts have been drawn, designs have been made, we have assured them that we will come back better and stronger, they will have one hell of a wedding.” Adds Bryan Tachie-Menson, Founder of Whitechalk, Ghana

“90% have been postponed indefinitely as every family and couple is watching how countries and continents are faring with the spread of this deadly disease, how well is the challenge being contained and handled by all and when will it be safe to travel or have grouped for celebrations. 10% are opting for a small home or virtual weddings with the permitted number of guests.” Shares Rachna Chadha, Founder, CEO, Designer, BAQAA Glamour Weddings & Events

“All our summer weddings have been postponed and the guests are still waiting for a directive from the government end about numbers and safety issues to rebook again.” Emphasizes Brenda Babcock, Founder, Brenda Babcock Celebrations, Italy

“A wedding was postponed beginning of September (instead of June) and we have a couple who has confirmed their wedding at the end of October but is waiting to see how the situation will evolve.” Says Laurence Vernet, Head of Events & Sales, Hotel Le Bristol, France

 

57% Of Wedding Professionals Believe That The Wedding Budget Will Decrease By 30%

 

With the economy taking a hit and people losing jobs, it’s perceptible that the spending capacity of clients will decrease for a certain time until things get back to normal. Couples will try to organize the event under a more flexible budget.

Anne Mulvihill from Fete in France tells us “I think some vendors may be willing to decrease prices just to get by in the short term but then prices will start to rebound. TBD on the economic effects of VAT etc to see if governments will need to increase taxes to pay for COVID relief.”

Laura Darwent Weddings & Events from Trinidad and Tobago reminds us of mindful consumption. “The decrease in the budget will be directly related to the number of guests – and I do feel like the days for 400 guests are done for the next few years, looking more like 80-150 guests. A lot of people have also lost their jobs so each situation will be different and we planners need to be mindful of that.”

Spending capacity for couples for weddings varies from country to country. For some nationalities, the wedding spend is not restricted to the couple, it also comes from their parents/family saving for the wedding since the bride or groom’s childhood. 34% of respondents feel that the budget will remain the same.

“Total budget may decrease but with the restriction on the number of guests in the future, the per guest average spent would increase.” Believes Ankit Bhargava, Founder, Regal Weddings from India

“For Destination Weddings, costs will not change, people usually know what to expect when traveling and for the majority of them a destination wedding, besides the exotism it’s also saving by reducing the guest list.” Adds Fabrice Orlando, Founder, Cocoon Events, Morocco

“I see a mix of both. Some couples that still want their dream wedding and going big, and some that prefer to be more toned down. It depends on the personality.” Concludes Ceci Johnson, Founder of Ceci New York

 

Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way

88% of Planners Are Positive About Their Weddings In The Last Quarter Of 2020

 

 

Although the situation is quite like ‘wait and watch,’ 88% of planners are clinging to the brighter side of it and are going ahead with their plans for the last quarter of this year. The planned weddings are destination but domestic.

 Jessy Karam from Strawberries & Champagne, Lebanon adds “We are hoping to still be able to make the weddings of the quarter happen. We have weddings confirmed in Lebanon, south of France, Marrakesh, and Dubai.”

“We have 4 Major Weddings plans from October 4 till End of December, Morocco, and Russia.” Shares Fabrice Orlando, Founder, Cocoon Events, Morocco. 

“I have one in Arezzo – Italy; one in NY – USA and other in Siena – Italy.” Says Simone Tostes, Founder/ CEO, Aonde Casar, Brazil 

“So far our clients till August got postponed to end 2020 or 2021, but clients from September onwards are still ongoing. We have weddings in Bali and New Zealand.” Adds Hartawan Iman Santoso, Managing Director, Riviera Event Organizer, Indonesia

 

 

Social Distancing Is The New Norm

Outdoor Weddings Will Take Over Indoor Weddings – 60% Of Planners Believe!

 

Many variabilities decide on this factor. Now with social distancing in the picture, outdoor weddings with larger spaces will be preferred more. Charm De Silva, Director, Magical Moments Wedding & Event Planners, Sri Lanka tells us With Social distancing rules, outdoor weddings are becoming more attractive.”

“I believe couples will be looking for outdoor options in the countryside or beaches” shares Virginia Klautau, Director of Catering & Special Events, The Miami Beach EDITION, USA

17% of respondents say ‘both’ considering the weather conditions might change. Samantha Goldberg, TV Personality and Celebrity Wedding Planner from the USA shared similar sentiments. “Right now it’s a nice mix of both indoor and outdoor venues. Or tent on private property. The questions about insurance and COVID do come up. I think clients are starting to show more care in planning and a way out as well.”

“Open spaces and fewer guests are gonna be the New Trends. Exactly as happens On a Destination Wedding.” Sums up Roberto Cohen, CEO, Roberto Cohen Cerimonial, Brazil

 

We Want It All

Couples Will Not Compromise On The Number Of Ceremonies Says 61% Of Destination Wedding Professionals

 

61% of wedding professionals tell that couples will not cut short on their ceremonies and will prefer to have all the rituals be it rehearsal dinner, reception, or traditional dance ceremony. Couples want to live their big day and why shouldn’t they! The numbers speak for themselves. Mushtaq Ali, CEO of Celebrations, from India, tells us “Since social distancing is the norm and invites have to be extended, the total invites will have to be split as per the minimum government norms and hence all the functions will be necessary.”

“I don’t believe many will cut the time of the wedding but I believe they may cut the number of guests they invite.” – Sums up Jessica Hay, Founder, JHay Creative, UK & Micheline Diab, Founder, Giritaly from Lebanon

“Destination weddings, in my opinion, will remain as always a 2-3 day affair. There is too much international travel involved for just a 1-day celebration.” – Cristina Verger, Founder & Wedding Planner, Cristina Verger Event Planning, USA

47% Wedding Connoisseurs Said That They Will Not Offer Discounts/Incentives To Clients To Work With Them

 

Professionals are pondering about how to attract clients as the demand vs supply gap is going to be unstable for a while. Providing discounts and incentives are some of the ways to establish more connections. While 53% of wedding professionals said that they will offer some kind of incentives, 47% said that that they will not.

“I have been advocating for increased flexibility since day 1. I believe we should be able to act dynamically and adapt without compromising quality. A combination of pricing discounts and feature giveaway should do the trick.” Suggests Elie Azar, Founder & CEO, ParAzar Productions, Lebanon

The industry unanimously agrees on offering incentives or adding value with more services than offering discounts as the right step.

“We will not be offering discounts, however, we will not be increasing our rates as per our normal annual practice.” Adds Evelyn Mills, Founder, Marriage Maestros, Hong Kong 

“I think incentives are better for business than of a discount. We don’t want to devalue our time and expertise. I have had my company for over 3 decades…We merit our worth on the extra things we include which is more time. Or the time they wanted such as using my services as a licensed Reverend- They can save $800-$1500…So this provides value. I have a few other planners who can offer this as well. We do offer a discount for not paying with credit cards…We also now offer as part of our packages insurance with a 3rd party. This seems to be the best deal we have had yet!” Shares Samantha Goldberg, TV Personality and Celebrity Wedding Planner, Samantha Goldberg and Co, USA

“We are not offering any discounts, however, we are being extremely flexible and giving 2020 couples the priority to choose new dates, new venues, or even new concepts in 2021 without any additional fees.“ Adds Jessy Karam, Founder, Strawberries & Champagne, Lebanon

“This may have to be the only way. I hope we don’t have to be in a discounted world but due to the devastating situation I think we all have to be innovative about ways to give the client added value vs discounting.” – Ceci Johnson, Founder, Ceci New York, USA

 

Three-Quarters Of Professionals Believe That Weddings Will Downsize!

 

 

Olivia Buckley from Ireland agreed on this point. “Yes, we will see fewer guests possibly because of social distancing measures.”

Safety would be the utmost factor responsible for the celebrations to continue. With that, we might see fewer guests attending the wedding.

“Yes the overall feeling right now is that guests will prefer fewer attendees, we anyways saw the trend moving towards intimate weddings from the last 2 seasons this just adds on to it.” Emphasizes Ekta Saigal Lulla, Partner, Weddings by ESL, India

“No, but for the 2020 weddings (last quarter – if any) it will be a big question mark what the guests will think and do. This was the main reason for the international couples to postpone to 2021 rather.” Tells Timea Varga-Kovacs, Owner, HungarianWeddings.com, Hungry

Catherine Sherry from Wow Weddings Italy shares similar beliefs. “Invites will be the same however we do expect there will be a fear in some guests to travel. It will wholly depend on confidence in the market.”

“We will see smaller weddings in terms of guest size. As couples have seen their incomes drop, large weddings at home will shrink. It’s time to promote that smaller more intimate affairs on a tropical paradise as the best way to celebrate love and life.” Shares Stella Chanioti, Founder & Wedding Planner, Stella & Moscha Exclusive Greek Island Weddings, Greece

 

 

Weekends Will Remain The Choice Of Couples As Preferred Days Of Weddings- 75% Of Professionals Believe!

 

 

 

It’s no secret that weekends take the cake for the preferred days to get married. But with most of the weddings being postponed, will the couple’s preferences change due to non-availability. Flexibility in choice of days could rule the game.

“It will still be weekends but more couples may be open to weekdays as a lot of postponements are happening that may take up all the Saturdays. Couples may also be looking into Saving thereby choosing a weekend wedding.” – Jewel Odeyemi, Wedding Planner, Touch of Jewel Events and Designs, USA

“This is a tricky question as in our current state we are not working. So having a weekday wedding such as a Thursday or Friday are doable. However, we will eventually get to a new normal, and Fridays are becoming increasingly popular to book. Especially if a couple chooses a destination wedding such as the Bahamas. The typical wedding is over the weekend. However, we are finding couples are open to weekdays as it has benefits far higher than any discount for booking on a weekend. Even booking on a Sunday is still increasing in the booking. There are great financial benefits for one. Other vendors will also shed some cost as well…You will not find most couples at min 70% will shoot for the weekends no matter the cost they make it work!” –  shares Samantha Goldberg, TV Personality and Celebrity Wedding Planner, Samantha Goldberg and Co, USA

“Destination weddings work best when they are not competing with local wedding demands for weekends so Monday to Friday is the highest demand.” -Adds Catherine Sherry, Wow weddings Ltd, Ireland

However, with local weddings competing more with the destination, 16% of respondents feel that due to the unavailability of dates and reduced budget they will prefer weekdays. Thelma Morales from Guatemala, Davis Paulette from The Bahamas, Yvonne Akpomedaye from Nigeria believe the same.

For certain wedding professionals dealing with Chinese/Asia/Indian couples, auspicious dates (regardless of whether they fall on weekend or weekday) will continue to be still popular. But there is a growing trend now of “Har din Shubh hai ( Every day is auspicious) in India to ensure postponed weddings can be accommodated comfortably.

 

 

Survival Of The Fittest

76% Of Respondents Believe That The Destination Wedding Industry Won’t Be The Same Again, But It Will Bounce Back Higher With New Ways

 

People want to celebrate; they want to feel loved again. Although it won’t be the same as before, professionals believe that the destination wedding industry will bounce back stronger.

“I believe it will take years to come back. Countries are moving through the pandemic at different paces and will have differing levels of success. I think traveling will generally decrease a bit as people are currently testing just how effective online communication can be. Also, I imagine some international relations will change permanently, making certain countries less accessible than they used to be.” Believes Jasmine Drlung from Jasmine Rae Cakes, the USA.

“I think no, but if the vaccine is discovered soon the weddings and events could be normal again, but I think with more technology.” – Simone Tostes, Founder, Aonde Casar, Brazil

“It depends on where the destination weddings are coming from. We might see in decline in the number of attendees. I suspect we are heading for a rough spot that will be followed afterward by a major rebound towards better days.” – beautifully sums up Elie Azar, Founder, ParAzar Productions, Lebanon

“Couples will need some assurance for the possibility of travel. Once this is confirmed, couples will opt for destination weddings. The destination wedding decision is correlated with the possibility to travel safely under complete sanitary conditions.” – says Micheline Diab, Giritaly, Lebanon

When there’s a wound, all it needs is time for healing. “I believe destination weddings will make a large comeback! Hold tight and market! Shares Jill La Fleur, Owner/Creative Director, La Fleur Weddings & Events, United States   

This is not all – the wedding community has shared some valuable insights and amazing tips which we will be sharing next week on the blog so stay tuned.