How to Work with Wedding Directories & Blogs

Written by Emma Hla
Image by Hannah Duffy Photography | Originally featured on Kelly Chandler Consulting.
Wedding Blogs and Wedding Directories are a great way of reaching thousands of brides and grooms-to-be who need that ‘perfect’ wedding venue.

But then I would say that as the founder of Coco Wedding Venues – the UK’s original style-focused directory.

But don’t worry, this isn’t a sales pitch, folks! Instead, I’m here to hopefully shine a light on wedding venue platforms – from who they are, what they do and ultimately, how you work with and get the most from digital publications.

If you’ve got your Google ducks in a row, then getting yourself on directories is another valuable layer of marketing – layering your marketing is super important.

Here’s why…

It’s thought to take around 6-8 touch points (and growing) before a couple will buy into what you’re selling. A touch point can be any encounter where prospective buyers engage with your business. So, this could be an ad, a post on social media, a Facebook review, an email, a brochure or a venue listing on a third-party website. These touch points add to a story and will ultimately give the buyer confidence in your ‘product’, leading to a conversation and, hopefully, a booking.

Today, I want to chat about the third-party layer in this sales process – the wedding venue directory and, ultimately, how to make the most of that relationship. But firstly, why should you be working with directories?

The why?

As mentioned above, they’re a great layer in your sales process and will ultimately refer couples to your venue. Many platforms and blogs will have thousands of visitors per day, and if it’s a wedding venue-focused website, then a high percentage of these visitors will be in venue ‘buying’ mode.

Established directories will also have high domain authority, meaning they’re considered a good source of information by Google and will appear high on Google searches. This is especially great for venues just starting.

Some directories and blogs are very savvy regarding upcoming trends and industry changes, so being affiliated with the right platform will mean that your venue will reap the benefits of this insight.

Online platforms will also have a more extensive reach than most print publications, so an advert on a digital publication will have a higher ROI. Most importantly, you can track your success easily through Google Analytics or a unique tracking link.

Lastly, there’s a platform to suit everyone out there, which leads me to the first tip on how to work with directories…

Know your client

There are many types of wedding venue directories out there; in fact, there’s a new platform launching each week, so how do you know which one suits you and your venue?

Some obvious choices regarding platforms exist, but I suggest also considering the smaller niche platforms.

The larger, well-established directories will send you traffic and referrals. Still, sometimes, the smaller, focused directories will have a specific audience you can tap into to tailor the referrals you’re receiving. If you feel aligned with that directory, you will probably attract their fabulous like-minded couples who genuinely understand your venue and your ethos.

But here’s the key – who are you selling to? What do they do? What are their interests? What type of wedding will they be having? What’s their budget?

Whilst I don’t believe one type of platform is better than the other, I think you should consider several different platforms to present your venue on. But all should feel aligned with your venue, brand and, ultimately, the couples you want to talk to.

Share the love

Once you’ve chosen the directories you wish to advertise on, don’t favour one over the other.

Think you’re getting more from one platform? It might be because you’re only communicating to that one person/directory, or perhaps you’re spending more money on boosts and additional marketing with them.

Ensure the same updates and information are given to all directories and plan out additional marketing activities with each one.

Understand what’s part of your membership for each platform and ensure you take full advantage of this. For example, if they have an affiliated blog, then submit real weddings, advice pieces or styled editorials! If they have an Event Diary, get your Open Days and Fairs listed! If you have a Special Offer, then make sure this is visible on all listings. However, you might want to consider tailoring offers to track referrals.


Always check in with your listing and review the information you’re presenting; your listing must be up-to-date. It’s pretty surprising how many venues will change their email or telephone number but not update third-party websites!

Keeping your listings up-to-date will ensure couples can reach you, and the information you share will also help qualify your referrals.

I recommend checking in at least once every quarter to ensure correct information. Your galleries and images should also be updated twice yearly – before your peak summer season and again in December, ready for the big engagement season.

After each season, review the images from your recent weddings and pick out your ‘hero’ shots. Updating your listing twice a year with your newest ‘hero’ shots will keep things fresh, provide new content for social use, and, of course, add new Google juice!

A venue recently asked me why they needed to update their images, and for me, it’s about always putting your best self out there.

The nature of venue hunting means you’ll have a constant stream of new eyes on your listings, so it’s not about content being seen before but rather about staying ahead of the industry. Fashions and trends move at an alarming rate, and by renewing your images after each season, you’ll be speaking to current couples looking for a venue that reflects them.

Referrals – the bigger picture

When you join a directory, referrals will come to you in two ways – direct and indirect.

I think it’s straightforward to focus on the direct referrals, and yes, they’re a simple way to track your success on that platform, but do they tell the whole story?

An indirect referral can be just as necessary, but this will show up in your analytics as a direct referral or an organic search referral rather than from your affiliated marketing platforms.

For example, a couple could browse my directory, see a venue they like the look of and then open a new tab to Google search your venue. Your analytics will view this as a Google click-through rather than affiliated with my platform. This is where looking at referrals and statistics more holistically can benefit you and your marketing approach.

Here are three simple tips when it comes to referrals:

  • First of all, treat all referrals in the same way by having a slick and super-fast response process. This can be templated, but always ensure you’ve made it feel personal and written in a tone that reflects you and your venue’s vibe.
  • Don’t focus on just one metric when you’re analysing the success of your listing – instead, alongside key metrics, understand your finder views, page views, and shortlist adds from the platform. This will help to complete that bigger picture.
  • You can have a section on your contact form asking where the couple found you; similarly, ask a couple by email or person on a show round. The default answer may be ‘Google’ because couples absorb so much information when searching for a venue. Still, you might also start to see a pattern if couples mention specific websites.

What’s the average?

Understand the average number of click-through and direct messages per directory. Don’t compare one platform with the other; instead, review the platform’s average stats – how is your venue performing against this? If it’s below average, then what can be done? This doesn’t just fall onto the platform but is a two-way conversation.

What can the platform do for you, and how can you improve your listing/engagement with the platform?

This could be solved by:

  • Updating your listing imagery
  • Utilising all tools available – testimonials, late availability, special offers, or a film.
  • Asking about additional paid boosts

If your venue is underperforming across all platforms against the previous year, then consider other factors that can influence this – the number of engagements that year, trends such as couples wanting to marry in ‘2020’ rather than 2019 and, of course, the current political climate are all huge factors for this year.

What does ROI mean to you?

When you join a directory, return on investment (ROI) will have a slightly different meaning for each one. So, decide what that return on investment looks like and then measure it.

For some directories, you must book five weddings to justify the price. For others, it might be just one booking.

It might be a brand alignment exercise for some platforms, so how will you manage your ROI expectations here? You may have a goal of two features on the blog or become a recommended supplier because you like the couples they attract.

Each directory will have its unique selling point, so understand the ROI per platform instead of applying a generic calculation across all.   

Understand the seasons

If you’ve been working in the wedding industry for a while, you’ll know about the engagement seasons. However, if you’re new to a role or about to launch your venue, this one is for you.

Directories have two peak seasons: late December through to early March and again from July to the end of October. These are key times for couples to get engaged and start the venue searching. You can expect traffic and referrals to fall outside of these periods.

If you’re concerned that your referrals have fallen during May or November, then this could be the natural seasonal dip, so instead of comparing month to month, look at your analytics and compare year to year so that you can see if your referrals are growing or falling versus the same YTD (year to date) period. This is also a good exercise for your website traffic.

Understanding the engagement seasons will allow you to plan your marketing and hit those key engagement times with additional marketing activities.

Have a press folder ready to go!

Listing a venue should be super simple… Whether it’s being done for you or completing a profile yourself. The best way to always be prepared is to keep a press folder up to date throughout the year.

This press folder should contain the following:

  • Your Need to Know details at a glance, such as the capacity for ceremony/reception, marriage license and accommodation information, would be great.
  • Your blurb about the venue – a summary alongside a more detailed ‘story-telling’ version covering all aspects of your venue.
  • A file of professional high-res images (minimum 10, max 100).
  • Photography credits for all images (preferably in the image file name)

Looking after this press folder will make joining blogs and directories super easy, and I promise they will love you even more in return.

Have a master document

Finally – have a master document detailing all of the directories you currently list with.

I suggest including the following details:

  • Directory name
  • Membership dates
  • Price
  • Membership details (length, what’s included, etc.)
  • Additional paid boosts and dates
  • Login details (if required)
  • Your account contact (name/email)

This master document will help you keep all relevant details in one place and can easily be passed on to someone else picking up your role or admin tasks.

What now?

Once you’re listed with a directory, it’s not a done deal that the enquiries will roll in, and you’ll instantly (and magically) convert them to bookings.

When you list with a directory, it’s just part of the sales process, not the whole shebang. Now, you should look at your strategies to see how they play their role in the sale.

Review your in-house collateral, how you respond to enquiries, what your show-round process looks like, and if we roll it back to the beginning when a couple clicks through to your website from a third-party platform, what are they seeing?

Listing your venue in a directory isn’t the end of the story… It’s just the beginning.

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