Header image credit Richard Skins Photography
Hi! I’m Alex, and I run The Tailors Singing Waiters. Like most suppliers, we’ve been commiserating with our couples, and moving all of our bookings to next year (and sometimes even 2022!) Since we get to know our couples very well as part of our work, we’ve also been hearing about all their stresses and worries about next year… it’s been heartbreaking.
So I got to thinking. How will this huge change in all of our lives, affect wedding plans for next year? Even if we do go back to complete normality, will there be a fundamental shift in how couples plan their day, and what’s important to them? With some more time on our hands than usual (understatement of the century!!!) we decided to take on a piece of epic research, and find the answers to these questions and more – so that brides and grooms would feel less alone in their worries, and to help the wedding industry understand how weddings might change from 2021 onwards. We surveyed over 500 UK couples that are currently planning weddings, and there were some very interesting findings… read on!
Firstly, let’s talk about how couples feel. Couples still due to wed in 2020, understandably, were feeling down about their day, with 67% of them feeling negative or deflated. However, there was much more optimism with our 2021 couples – whilst 47% did feel anxious, deflated or stressed, 44% did feel cautiously optimistic or excited. This was before the most recent lockdown announcement however, which I suspect may have changed these figures – out of our couples, those booked for February / March are now considering postponing in case they can’t have all the guests there that they want.
Which leads me onto priorities. We asked couples what they valued most before COVID-19 – they told us:
1. Having all our loved ones in attendance
2. The vows and ceremony
3. Making the day unique to us a couple
When we asked them what were the three most important things to them now, the top two priorities remained the same – but number 3 changed to ‘Making our guests feel loved.’ Now more than ever, people are realising how important family and friends really are, and couples want to use the most important day of their lives to show loved ones just how much they mean to them.
When pondering the survey questions, I did ask myself – how long would postponements go on for? At what point would brides and grooms start compromising their ideal day and ‘settle’ for a wedding with restrictions? Turns out, most couples would be willing to compromise in some way, shape or form, but it’s different for everyone. Only 11% of couples would wait more than a year longer for their complete ‘dream day’ with no compromises. Additionally, our survey found that most couples were waiting to get married before either having a baby, or moving house or changing job. I wonder if this delay in weddings will cause a slight population delay as a result…or whether couples will decide to do things in a less traditional order, if things continue much longer like this.
When it comes to money… do you want the good news, or the bad news? Well, it’s clear that some couples have suffered where suppliers and venues are unable to reschedule with them, and where insurance companies haven’t paid out. But on the whole, couples who have postponed to 2021 have managed to keep their venues and haven’t lost money as a result. 41% of couples have had to change at least one supplier – but luckily, 80% of them were happy with their replacement booking. In fact, out of all the couples that have had to postpone, 48% of them haven’t lost money at all, and of the ones that have, the vast majority of them have lost minimally (under £5K, our lowest bracket.)
As I’ve mentioned, it’s been clear that the restrictions on guests has been a dealbreaker for a lot of couples – and it’s easy to see why. A wedding day is all about sharing your love with those you care most about. This won’t change any time soon. 93% of 2021 couples are planning on having over 50 guests on their day – and 35% of them are still planning to invite over 100 guests. Back in September when this survey was taken, only 21% of couples next year would consider a service now, and a party later. This may have changed with recent events, but it’s still clear that a traditional format wedding is a dream most couples won’t easily give up.
For me, I found a lot of solace in these survey results – it was clear that people are willing to wait, and to fight, for the day they’ve hoped and planned for, whenever that may be. And since me and my team personalise our surprise performances to be all about the couple and their guests, I also breathed a sigh of relief to know that our act, which makes guests feel loved and makes a day unique, will have a place in next year’s wedding market. It’s been a hard year for all of us suppliers – not just financially, but we get such a sense of happiness from watching our couples tie the knot and have an amazing day. But it’s comforting to know that our resilient couples will bounce back from this, and will appreciate their day so much more for the wait. Keep dreaming, keep planning and stay positive. We’re all in this together – and your day is going to be worth it.