It’s been a busy period over the last few weeks at Elite Marquees towers, as the latest lifting of Coronavirus restrictions saw the commencement of weddings once again.
We won’t lie, we thought we had seen it all over the last few years.
But these last few months have been like nothing we have ever seen before. When the UK-wide lockdown was announced on 23rd March, an abrupt halt was put on weddings in order to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
Up and down the North West – and in fact, across the UK – the pandemic meant that those looking forward to their spring and summer nuptials had been forced to cancel their big day.
For some, it has meant rescheduling the entire day until next year – with all of the financial losses and disappointments this involves. And for others, the Covid-19 outbreak has meant that instead of the big white wedding they envisioned, their special day has instead taken place on video-calling app Zoom, with loved ones scattered across the country.
As a dedicated marquee hire company for weddings, who as we have mentioned, feel we have seen it all over the years. We think we are in a very good position to make a prediction as to how what the future of weddings will look like in the UK.
Please remember they are just predication’s, it’s an ever changing picture for all.
Smaller weddings, or ‘micro’ weddings, had been growing in popularity before the pandemic started. However, we believe many more venues will now be actively looking for smaller wedding packages with a shorter planning lead-time.
Over the last few weeks we have seen a lot more enquiry’s and people searching on our website using the term ‘Simple (40-60 guests)’ which has increased by +19% in comparison to the previous period and +42% on the previous year.
We are very aware that as we exit the pandemic, gatherings are going to be restricted to a certain number, but venues will need to weigh up the costs and profitability of hosting small weddings. We are also certainly not suggesting venues need to be offering a Saturday during the summer season to a couple planning a wedding for 20, but we do think it’s worth looking at how a venue can cater to this possible new market?
We have also seen an increase in searches for people looking at wedding sizes between 60-120 capacity search which indicates a desire for normal gatherings. All this points to an understanding of the possible restrictions that may be in place for some time and of course indicating a consideration to budget and costs.
Weekday weddings have always been cheaper, and this may sway future couples to consider this as a viable option when choosing their wedding date after the pandemic. Especially to those who are looking to organise a wedding at such short notice.
Venue availability is also much more likely when choosing a weekday wedding and with many 2020 postponements filling the 2021 calendar some couples may be open to a Tuesday or a Thursday rather than wait another year. Another consideration for couples might be availability of their most-coveted wedding suppliers, with diaries becoming booked for 2021 they might be flexible if it means working with that florist of having that photographer.
The pressure on registrars is also having quite the effect on wedding day timings for postponements, so by opting for a weekday wedding it might mean the registrars will be much more likely to have available and workable ceremony time slots.
We have very good relationships with 000s of venues throughout the north west, we would be happy to speak to them for you to find the perfect date that fits your big day.
Engagements have still happening throughout lockdown and couples who got engaged over Christmas will have been using the down time to plan their weddings, so what will their big day plans look like now? As restrictions lifted across China and Italy, there was a quick trend of couples marrying immediately and I think we can expect a similar trend here.
For some, it’s the status of being married that’s most important. So some won’t even want to wait until 2021 or beyond to have their big day they may instead choose to have an intimate wedding now with their closest friends and family with a larger celebration at a later date.
For this lockdown period (Sunday 22nd March 2020 to date) there has been an increase of 2,400% for ‘Town Hall weddings’ on Google vs. the same period last year! Could this indicate the desire for an immediate ceremony post lockdown? Of course, this will only be able to happen with the local councils and registrars being available for weddings post-corona and it seems that currently each local district has its own timeline and restrictions in place. A town hall wedding, followed by a marquee reception could be the perfect fit for you if all you care about is simply getting married.
The financial implications of the lockdown and Covid-19 has affected everyone in all walks of life and this will certainly have an impact on the immediate funds available to couples planning their big day. A longer engagement will mean that they can save some extra money to have the wedding they want and most importantly when they want, with the guests they want.
We think this will mean couples getting engaged now, and will be naturally be looking at 2022 and possibly 2023 wedding dates. With 2021 now looking full due to postponements, couples that are deciding on a longer engagement may still feel the need to secure a date and a venue as soon as possible, leaving the rest of their planning to a later point to allow them more time to save.
A longer engagement may also be considered where couples are concerned about the impact on their guests – whether this is a gathering restriction, ongoing social distancing, issues around travel or older/vulnerable friends and relatives not being able to attend.
Venues tend to get a tough time regardless, pandemic or no pandemic, and this has been clear to see with the recent coverage on the BBC. We choose not to get involved with press like this, or to share their views. Instead we do what we do best – we focus on supporting our venues and helping the couples using our relationships.
However, the way venues are communicating and reacting during this time will be noticed by potential future couples. So we hope that venues operate clearly, honestly and with transparency.
All of the venues that we work with tend to lead from the front, this will matter more now than ever. We think couple’s won’t just want a pretty barn, beautiful ballroom or stunning Marquee, they will want resonate with the whole team and venue ethos.
Big weddings will still happen, because boy will we all need a blow-out party on the other side of this! But we firmly believe there will also be a shift and a re-focus to what’s really important – sustainable and considered celebrations.
We think couples will be looking for quality over quantity coming out of lockdown, everywhere you look and every feature you now read about weddings, there’s at least one reference to sustainability in the wedding industry (for good reason) and we can only see this increasing.
Couples are now more environmentally aware, and suppliers in the wedding industry are also increasingly conscious and sustainably pro-active. Over the past few years there have been some real and significant positive changes, with suppliers working behind the scenes to review practices, policies, solutions and products moving forwards. From carbon calculations and offsetting to foam free florals, local and organic produce to ethical fabrics and production process.
We discuss more environmental issues with venues than ever before. This will only increase following the recent months.
And finally . . . A return to tradition
Church weddings have been on the decline for a few years, with couples now preferring either a civil ceremony or a celebrant-led ceremony.
However, over the month of April searches for ‘Church Onsite’ increased on Google by 17% vs. last year, so could the traditional quintessentially English wedding be the order of the day?
With reports around the transmission of the virus being relatively low in open spaces, this may be influencing couples to look at outside options for their big day.
Regardless of what you want to do for your big day during the next couple of years. We have a very informative and experienced team at Elite Marquees. We would be happy to have a friendly, informal, no obligation chat to discuss your circumstances. We have great relationships with a 000s of venues thoughout the North West.
You could still have that perfect day. Pandemic or no pandemic.