We've Had an Update | cocoweddingvenues.co.uk

We’ve Had an Update

Written by Emma Hla
It’s safe to say 2020 has been one heck of a ride – for all of us.

As we head into a brand new month (and autumn would you believe!), I hope you are still all doing OK, your friends and family are well and your future wedding plans continue to fill you with joy and excitement.

Our Platform

If this is the very first blog post you’re reading then let me say hello properly… My name is Emma Hla, I’m the founder of this digital wedding platform and I’ve been doing this gig for almost 7 years now.

I am completely obsessed with wedding venues.

It’s usually the first big decision you make as an engaged couple about your wedding and from this foundation you build your incredible celebration. Whether you choose a grand country house, a chic city bar or a tipi in the middle of a field, you are all important to us and we absolutely want to help you in that search.

At the end of last year we had decided to embark on a complete refresh of our platform – both from a design and a tech perspective – to ensure we continued to deliver a unique and second-to-none venue search experience. Then the pandemic happened.

Like everyone, we’ve been impacted both financially and emotionally during the last few months.

However, we wanted to ensure we emerged stronger than ever ready to start a new chapter, so the hard work has continued behind-the-scenes and I couldn’t be happier to announce our brand new platform is LIVE and available for all to see.

Built for you

The changes we’ve made have been heavily influenced by you thanks to the amazing feedback from our survey earlier this year. We’ve also taken on board important discussions around inclusivity and how we can ensure our users can find venues that suit their specific requirements.

Design

I have worked with the same designer since the very beginning and it’s always such a pleasure creating together.

We love our logo, so this has only had a minor tweak. The key icon signifies a lot, from unlocking your perfect venue to opening new doors as a couple, so we couldn’t (and won’t) say goodbye to this.

Our look continues to be editorial look with a clean, crisp vibe but we’ve kept the warmth and heart of our platform in the updated colour palette (big fan of beige and taupe right now – give me all the browns!).

Apart from our updated look we have made some changes across the site so let me show you around a little…

The Venue Finder

The Venue Finder should feel very familiar but we’ve completely overhauled the way the search tool works. We’ve separated out the Venue Type and added in Features where you’ll find your key requirements – have a little play around and get to grips with it all. I think you might like it.

We’ve kept the Quick View function on the Venue Finder as we know how much you love this, but we’ve also added various instant pop-outs for the galleries and special offers/late availability meaning a more simple, fluid interaction with the Venue Finder. Dip in and out of various venues without feeling overwhelmed or losing your focus.

We have once again built the new site from scratch, using the very latest in software meaning our site should feel lighter and speedier.

Listings

Our venue listings have had quite the dramatic makeover and I hope it will be a really useful and valuable browsing experience. We listened to everyone’s feedback and you will now find top level info such as pricing in pride of place.

All venues now have the option to add in their top 5 most frequently asked questions, just to help answer some of the initial queries you might have.

We’ve also added in a ‘From the Blog’ section which means you can explore a venue in more detail if they’ve been featured here.

We’ve made the venue listings even more visually inspiring with a prominent peek inside the gallery and if a venue has shared films you will now be able to see their selection here and click out to their Virtual Tour.

All of the above can be navigated quickly and easily by a secondary menu, only seen on listings.

Favourites

We’ve replaced the previous ‘Shortlist’ function with a ‘Favourites’ page – here you can save your shortlisted venues, features from our blog and upcoming open days. No login. No passwords. No private data stored by us.

Equality, Diversity + Inclusivity

Whilst we were going through the design and development stage of our rebrand, there was a movement that swept the world. A movement that made us stop, look inwards and reflect on our sphere of influence.

We recognised there were changes we needed to make as a platform that serves within the UK wedding industry. Across our platform and threaded into our communications to venues, you will now see our core values around equality, diversity and inclusion. As members of our curated collection, we invite our venues to uphold these values too.

On our Contact Us page, you will also spot an email address which we invite couples or industry to use at anytime. We welcome your thoughts, experiences and voices. If you ever want to share a search experience that perhaps could have been better, maybe something that’s missing from the venue finder tool or you want to discuss a collaborative project please do get in touch.

Feedback

That feels like a very short summary of changes considering the many months we’ve been working on it!

However, please do stay a while and take a look around – feel free to let me know what you love, or indeed what you don’t love.

If you spot any bugs then we absolutely want to know so we can squish them (in the nicest possible way). You can find me at emma@cocoweddingvenues.co.uk or on our various social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

On our Contact Us page we have a handy little form you can use to say hello too!

Thank you

Thank you to all of our venues and readers who have continued to support us with your loyalty, love and kind words throughout this period of uncertainty. You mean the world to us friends.

I’d like to end by writing a note of heartfelt thanks to some very important people;

  • Victoria, for once again completely understanding the brief – the last 7 years working/designing together have been the best
  • Ceri, for always helping me to find my voice
  • The extended Coco team – Roger, Joby, Lottie, Jenny – you are all kinds of amazing and a fabulous support
  • Zeleka + Maria, for your honesty and constant support of our platform
  • Sonia, for our deep dive intensive session that quite frankly made my head spin (but in a good way)
  • Vaishali, for kick-starting important conversations and giving me the confidence to know what to do
  • LaToya + Ajay, for being so generous with your time and knowledge (I could have talked to you both all day long!)
  • To all the couples who gave us their time, thoughts and super constructive feedback on our 2020 survey

Finally, thank you to my husband for being patient, kind-hearted, loving and the most incredibly talented man ever. I love building things with you – our home, our life and this website.

As the UK’s original style-focused, editorial wedding venue directory it’s important to us we are leading from the front – providing a venue search experience that’s second to none.

I really hope we’ve managed to achieve this with our latest version of cocoweddingvenues.co.uk.

Credits

Image Matt Horan Photography

Venue Aswarby Rectory

Flowers Number 27 Floral Design

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