DWP Congress Identifies What’s Hot & Trending in the Destination Wedding Industry

Dubai 23 April 2017—Destination weddings continue to be the fastest-growing segment of the USD 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 this year 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.

Five 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; and the increasing preference for more extended stays.

According to Joe Blackman, CEO of 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 will be an increasing amount of trade uncertainty, and airline tariffs and prices will likely increase. We see more enquiries in Asia, which will 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 many exotic destinations from Thailand, and Japan, to Bali, Maldives and the United Arab Emirates.

Kathy Apostolidis, Director of 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 in now being chosen based on the culture of the land. Narelle Williams – Director of 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 a 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.

“We also see more of a non-traditional approach to ceremonies combing Jewish and Christian or Hindu and Muslim religious traditions to make the ceremony a more authentic reflection of their family heritage and religious beliefs”, points Alison Hotchkiss Rinderknecht, Creative Director, Alison Events, USA.

With the appeal of experiential dining growing expeditiously, there has been an exciting 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 enhances their entire experience,” said Aleit Swanepoel, Founder & Chairman, The Aleit Group, South Africa. JoAnn Gregoli, Owner of 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 embrace “experience” weddings with an African theme. What I love most about these weddings is the beautiful energy that builds amongst the guests when they travel together. Weddings become a three-day event, with pre-wedding BBQs, 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.

“The 4th edition of the DWP Congress draws together the driving forces which influence these global wedding trends that are taking the wedding industry by storm,” explained Mr Ackash Jain, Director, QnA International.

“As the organizers of this exclusive event, our objective has always been to bring together global creative partners who can assist our attending world-renowned wedding planners elevate the experiences they create for their clients while also ensuring they gain a remarkable insight into what the future holds for them. This year’s edition is all geared up to take place from 2nd to 4th May in the Land of Smiles & Hospitality – Phuket, Thailand”, he added.