The Zionsville Chamber of Commerce is looking to capitalize on a trend toward smaller weddings by positioning the town as a boutique destination for marriage ceremonies.
Allyson Gutwein, executive director of the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce, wants to make sure there’s a wedding party in town all year long. Aside from the festivities that come with such an event, Gutwein said her attempt to encourage more couples to plan their activities in Zionsville is really a way to drive local tourism and economic development. That’s why the Chamber is now acting as a clearinghouse for local wedding-related florists, venues, musicians and other related businesses before hosting the first “Get Married in Zionsville” wedding show later this month.
“Bringing people into the village of Zionsville in groups of 50, 75, 100 to dine and stay works as a business engine,” Gutwein said. “We’re targeting that boutique style of wedding. People want all of the amenities of a beautiful wedding, but in a small setting with an upscale feel.”
The Wedding Report, a wedding industry research company, found that 335 weddings took place in Boone County in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available. The average Boone County wedding cost $30,929 that year—a price tag that was $10,500 more than the statewide average.
Gutwein is hoping the wedding show on April 17 will focus that spending and the associated activities on Zionsville as a place to host those events, whether they draw in visitors or draw out locals, means more “heads in beds” and a boost to the local innkeeper’s tax.
The pandemic’s restrictions on gathering sizes accelerated a trend in smaller format weddings, Gutwein said, and Zionsville’s quaint downtown village has the proper fit for that style.
“More and more, brides are considering who they invite because they know they need to keep numbers smaller, or people may not feel as comfortable traveling as far,” Gutwein said. “We know this is an economic engine we need to foster.”
The first Get Married in Zionsville bridal event is expected to feature more than 40 local florists, musicians, bakeries and other vendors. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and tickets are available for $10.
The event itself will still feature hallmarks of the pandemic. Masks will be required, and Gutwein said the Brick Street Inn’s format at 175 S. Main St. will allow for guests to socially distance by choosing one of two showrooms on either side of an open-air courtyard.
“It gives people the opportunity to visit vendors at their comfort level,” she said.