On November 17, 2014 Wayne Gurnick joined a panel of distinguished event professionals at Meet the Masters, an event by International Special Events Society – Greater Los Angeles Chapter (ISES-LA).
Lisa Hurley from Special Events Magazine moderated the panel and asked Wayne: “Weddings have been taking place for many years. Look at the past and the present, where do you see the trends for weddings going in the future and what changes have you had to make within your business to keep up with the changing trends?”
Wayne: So much has changed in the wedding space… I want to talk about three trends that I consider to be very important.
First, weddings are increasingly planned and paid for by the bride and groom. This brings different, less traditional sensibilities to the process and opens the possibilities for greater creativity. It also means that the hosts do not have much experience with event planning and etiquette, which requires coaching, guidance and more handholding. There are also budget considerations and that phenomenon called DIY.
To respond to this, I’ve made changes in my business. I’ve become a confidant, a therapist and a life coach – and I have adjusted my pricing to accommodate the increased time needed with each client. I’ve had to refine my approach to appeal to different audiences and generations. And opportunities for creativity are exploding – it’s much more than colors, flowers and linens. I’ve had to embrace DIY but up to a point. Lets face it, friends and family can not deliver the way that professionals can and I explain that to my clients.
Second, social media has become an important member of the bridal party – providing tips, ideas, recommendations and advice for all things wedding. The trouble is that all this information can be overwhelming and paralyzing. As wedding professionals, we have to inform, educate and de-clutter our clients’ perspective to help them make decisions that are right for them.
Technology is not my strong point – ask me to design a ballroom or coordinate a ceremony and I can do it with my eyes closed. But now, in addition to all the knowledge that I have about weddings, I’ve had to learn about social media – Pinterest, twitter, Facebook, and of course, Yelp.
The third trend that I see is that weddings are becoming a competitive sport. How long before wedding planning is part of the Olympic Games?!
There are two aspects to this. On the consumer side: couples are seeking out new twists, new elements, taking their cues from celebrities, movies and high fashion to personalize their wedding and put a stamp of uniqueness and individuality. They want the bragging rights of being the first to do something cool and different.
Another reason why I call this a competitive sport is that the grooms are getting involved too. They want creative clothing that is unique and different, just as each bride wants for her gown. Man caves, whiskey bars and other masculine touches are becoming more common. I’ve had to adjust my language and designs to include creative verbiage that appeals to both sexes.
The second aspect of competition is on the business side – there is a growing number and diversity of service providers in every aspect of the wedding space. Everybody wants a piece of the wedding business. I am constantly expanding my core group of service providers, spending many more hours researching and interviewing new providers to understand their capabilities and road blocks.
I have mentioned to you several ways that things have changed but as you all know, many things have remained the same… Clients still want value for their dollar, and they can’t possibly anticipate how quickly the wedding goes by after all the months of planning and it is my job to make sure that at the end of the day, I have helped them to create lasting memories.
Panel of Masters included: