The impact the pandemic has had on couples and the wedding industry

As plans are in motion for the country to come out of lockdown we take a look at what the future holds.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 8:53 am

There is light at the end of the tunnel for engaged couples.

Prime Minster Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown has meant that couples planning weddings at the end of the year may get the wedding they want rather than the wedding they feel they have to have.

Weddings will resume with only six guests from March 8, increasing to 15 guests from April 12. On May 17 it will increase to 30 and weddings are set to reopen without restrictions on June 21.

Celebrant Claire with Stacie and Russell wedding Picture: Jenny Rutterford Photography
Celebrant Claire with Stacie and Russell wedding Picture: Jenny Rutterford Photography

These dates will be reviewed at five-weekly intervals.

The impact has been fair reaching from the couples who have had to postpone their big days to photographers, venues, caterers, cake makers and florists.

Claire Bradford is an independent celebrant at Creating Ceremony.

Based in Worthing she creates and conducts bespoke ceremonies for love, life and loss predominantly weddings and funerals.

Celebrant Melaine

She said: “The pandemic has seen a shift in my work: weddings all but stopped last year.

“Usually, I do both weddings and funerals throughout the year, interspersed with occasional other sorts of ceremonies. I like the balance - it’s like Yin and Yang. Since the pandemic though, I have been doing drastically fewer weddings and lots more funerals. Whilst it’s absolutely a privilege and an honour to conduct funerals, I do really miss the weddings side of my work.”

Usually Claire conducts 20 to 25 weddings a year but in 2020 she did only one.

She added: “I’m seeing a lot of couples getting a bit bored with it all and feeling like the excitement has gone out of the day too.

Picture: Unsplash

“To those couples, I often suggest that it’s better to move it by a whole year than a few months, then they have the chance to get excited about it all again without the cloud of Covid hanging over them (hopefully).

“We humans have celebrated our unions for thousands of years and all of this has demonstrated that we will carry on doing so come what may.”

During this time Claire has launched an online celebrant training course, which has been really popular.

Celebrant website: www.creatingceremony.com (@creatingceremony on FB and Instagram). Training website: www.celebrantcourses.com

We asked our readers about their wedding plans on Facebook.

Here is what some of you said:

On Hastings Observer Facebook: Theresa Chambers: “Have gone from June 2020 to March this year now June next year.”

Laura Jenner: “Supposed to be September last year, now September 2021. If I have to cancel again I’m not bothering.”

Katie Burnett: “After a 15 year engagement the one year we decide to go ahead and do it, A WORLD WIDE PANDEMIC OCCURS!!!!!!! Was July 2020 rebooked for July 2021 but looking more like 2022.”

West Sussex County Times: Sophie Gochmanska said: “We have postponed again and hope by 2022 it will go ahead 3rd time lucky.”

Worthing Herald: Andrew Milner said: “As a wedding DJ like a lot of other suppliers last year was very difficult. Couples are postponing for the second or third time in some cases, most are taking no chances and have moved to 2022/23 or cancelling all together.”

Hannah-Eléni Goble: “Not prepared to postpone as just want the family that are still here to be able to see me get married before it may be too late. It’ll still be a special day no matter what.”

Gemma Victoria Smith: “Postponed from end July 2020 to end July this year. Absolutely devastating but I will do it again if I have to. I’ve been dreaming of my big day my whole life and I’m not prepared to compromise and leave people out. It’s going to be my dream day or no day.”

Emma Scott: “Cancelled twice already, may and August 2020, due to get married in May but still undecided on what to do. Feel for all of the suppliers and people that make a wedding, a wedding.”

Emma Tindley is the designer and owner of Emma Tindley Bridal Boutique in East Grinstead.

She said: “The pandemic has disrupted business by mainly making it a juggling act.

“We have had to reschedule appointments on numerous occasions and make dresses within a very short time frame, but overall it’s given us a bit of time to create new collections for the boutique, decorate the boutique and instal a new shop front. We have remained busy with enquiries, so it’s been an interesting year and still a very positive one.”

Emma Tindley creates bespoke and classical designs to boho, soft and floaty styles and jumpsuits.

She added: “A wedding is a hugely stressful event to organise and I think we have to be mindful of the stress faced by many couples today. It’s not an easy decision to postpone a wedding.

“I married my husband 16 years ago and had planned a big marquee wedding for 80 guests, but after attending a friends intimate Italian wedding I decided it was just fabulous and I wanted the same. So from 80 guests I ended up with just 20 guests and an intimate chapel wedding with a six course dinner afterwards.

“It was the perfect day and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Figures from the Offices of National Statistics for England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland states that 278,599 weddings occur every year in the UK.

Over 260,000 weddings were postponed due to the pandemic in 2020.

UK Weddings Taskforce provides formal and effective representation for all UK wedding businesses by engaging with Government, media, workers and consumers.

It estimates that 278,000 recently engaged couples are also planning to marry from 2021 onwards: when added to the postponed weddings from 2020, circa 475,000 weddings are in the 2021 pipeline and 349,000 are in the 2022 pipeline.

Melanie Savill is a celebrant at Lemonade Ceremonies, Chichester (www.lemonadeceremonies.co.uk)

She has found many couples have scaled down their ceremonies or outdoor events.

Melanie said: “Several couples have chosen to have small elopement style ceremonies in gardens or at the beach.

“These are just as beautiful and meaningful as the larger ceremonies, but they don’t suit everyone.

“I think that this has really highlighted the importance of the ceremony itself and means that more couples are choosing celebrant-led weddings.

“This means that the ceremony is not a dictated script or limited by location, but is written specifically for the couple and gives them the freedom to have a truly memorable day in a location of their choice.”

Melanie adds that she has also seen an increase in the interest for vow renewals as couples have had the time to reflect on their relationships and want to share their anniversaries and future plans with friends and family.

The UK Weddings Taskforce is urging businesses in the weddings sector to follow updates and guidance via: ukweddings.orginstagram.com/uk_weddingsorg/twitter.com/UKweddingsOrg