Header image credit: Nottingham wedding photographer Twig & Vine Photography
In the years after the second world war, weddings were low key, frugal and intimate. But I’ve seen family photos of weddings from those years, and they’re beautiful, treasured family heirlooms. They’ve come to mind many times over the last year, as so many couples have had to postpone and downsize the dream weddings they were hoping for.
Here in the UK we’re lucky to have much more personal wealth than our great grandparents did. The Covid pandemic won’t affect our wedding spend in the same way war did in the 1940s. It has caused us to reconsider the size and scale of our weddings though, and the folks at Slater Menswear have shared some insights into what Covid means for the future of weddings.
Back in October, Hitched reported that 71% of couples planning their big day last year postponed their wedding due to COVID-19.
Thankfully, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for many couples due to the announcement that lockdown restrictions in the UK will be loosened in the coming months. In anticipation, suit specialists, Slater Menswear, have researched the toll that 2020 has had on couples planning their weddings and what ceremonies in 2021 and beyond may look like.
What will future weddings look like?
Weddings have looked very different in 2020. Between safety concerns, fluctuating guidelines and financial difficulties, wedding ceremonies have been a far cry from the dream blowout event that many couples have planned.
What’s interesting, however, is how 2020 will affect the future of wedding ceremonies. As many soon-to-be brides and grooms have postponed and made adjustments to their big day, we can see patterns in what weddings will look like in 2021, 2022 and beyond.
After a year of disappointed couples being forced to cut down their guest lists based on Government restrictions, it has become riskier to plan the larger weddings that we’re accustomed to.
Rather than gambling with the possibility of uninviting guests or losing deposits if more guidelines are put in place, more people are investigating the possibility of a more intimate ceremony.
By comparing Google search results from January 2020 and January 2021, we can see that there was a 62% increase in searches for ‘small weddings’ and a 15% increase in searches for ‘small wedding ideas’. Whether it’s a way to save money on their budget or to simply avoid disappointment, the data suggests that more people are opting to have a smaller ceremony than in previous years.
Intimate wedding venues
It’s not just the number of guests that we’ve seen shrink; more people are also choosing to opt for smaller venues too. Of the 71% of British couples that are rescheduling their nuptials, 1 in 5 are opting for a micro wedding; celebrating with 20 guests or fewer.
This is partly due to a rising trend in 2020 of couples planning ‘sequel weddings’. This means they can officially tie the knot with a small handful of guests while restrictions are in place, then plan a bigger bash at a later date to invite those who couldn’t originally attend. In fact, Hitched found that nearly two in five couples surveyed had already begun planning their second event.
The effect COVID-19 has had on wedding planning
Slashed guest lists — The UK guidelines have changed the restrictions on wedding guests during the pandemic a number of times, ranging from 30 guests to just six (including the couple). This has caused wedding planners to readjust their guest lists to allow the ceremony to take place.
Reduced budgets — COVID-19 has impacted many people financially, meaning that not all couples have been able to stick to their original budget. Hitched found that nearly 1-in-5 couples (23%) have needed to cut their budget to a more reasonable one.
Venue closures — Unfortunately, there are fewer ‘dream wedding’ locations available now than there were before the pandemic. Nationwide restrictions have taken their toll on venues, and a lack of income has caused many businesses to close permanently.
Additional safety measures — For those who are choosing not to reschedule their big day, extra safety measures are needed to make the event COVID-safe. This can range from hand sanitiser stations to social distancing.
Honeymoon cancellations — International travel is still one of the most wavering industries affected by the pandemic. With the rules surrounding air travel, countries on the no-fly list, and self quarantining, most couples (78%) are choosing to postpone their honeymoon until post-pandemic.
The English Wedding view
We’ve been sharing micro weddings since waaaay before covid. And look – they’re not new, and they’re bloody wonderful.
We’ve always believed 100% in the romance of elopements and ceremonies with only a handful of guests. Couples choose them for so many reasons: simply not wanting to be the centre of attention for a crowd of 100 is a legitimate cause to elope! Smaller weddings can be perfect for couples with young families, with small family circles, or with divorced parents… or for anyone at all who chooses to do things their way.
Micro weddings have been around for longer than Big Weddings. We love them even more.
On another positive note… suit sales soar!
Despite the serious blow that the coronavirus has dealt to the wedding industry, it seems that many people are optimistic that 2021 may see things return to what we’d normally expect. Only 4% of couples surveyed have rescheduled their wedding date to 2022, meaning many believe that this is the year for their big day.
With the government’s coronavirus exit plan announcement on February 22nd, businesses and vendors are already seeing a surge in wedding interest.
Mark Slater, Suit Buyer at Slater Menswear has said:
“Our suit sales are growing each day with more and more brides and grooms feeling optimistic about the planning of their upcoming nuptials. However, comparing our sales from the 22nd and 23rd to the 15th and 16th of February up until 3pm, Slater Menswear’s suit revenue is up by a whopping 41.14%.