The wedding industry has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus lockdown. If you're sobbing into your dress and despairing about when you'll be able to walk down the aisle, you're not alone – a staggering four out of five UK couples reportedly postponed their weddings in 2020, and countless more have done the same in 2021.
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Thankfully, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. On February 22, Boris Johnson revealed his road map to ease lockdown and brides-to-be breathed a collective sigh of relief at the news normal weddings will be allowed from 21 June as long as coronavirus cases continue to fall.
Key 2021 wedding dates from Boris Johnson's lockdown roadmap:
- Step 1: 8 March - weddings continue to be limited to six attendees
- Step 2: 12 April - weddings of up to 15 people are allowed. Hospitality opens up again
- Step 3: 17 May - weddings of up to 30 people are allowed, coinciding with groups of 30 being able to gather outdoors. Indoor hospitality venues reopen
- Step 4: 21 June - weddings return to normal, with no limit on attendees. Lockdown fully lifted and social distancing measures abolished
2021 will be the wedding industry's busiest yet - so don't delay
One thing's for sure – there will be a rush to tie the knot once all of this is over. Wedding planner Holly Poulter, Founder and Creative Director of Revelry Events, spoke to HELLO! about the future of weddings. If weddings get the go ahead this year, Holly preidcts that: "2021 will be the industry's busiest yet, with even the off-peak, normally quieter weekdays and months booking up with not only 2020 postponements, but also couples who would have been planning a 2021 wedding anyway", Holly warned.
Whether you've just got engaged or you've postponed your big day – we reveal what wedding season will look like in 2021. Read on to find out how you'll be affected…
WHEN TO REBOOK YOUR WEDDING FOR
Will I be able to have a wedding in April and May?
It was recently revealed that weddings wouldn't quite go ahead as expected this spring, despite Boris Johnson's roadmap. The UK weddings Taskforce discovered that ceremonies and receptions will, in fact, only be permitted in places of worship, public buildings and outdoor settings that are already able to open.
The large majority of the UK's licensed wedding venues which fall under 'indoor hospitality', where 71% of weddings typically take place are not included in this category, meaning that brides and grooms-to-be who hope to tie the knot before 17 May will need to amend their location plans accordingly.
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Should I opt for a mid-week 2021 wedding?
Holly explained: "This will mainly be driven by availability. With so many 2020 weddings being postponed and prioritised by venues and suppliers for their dates in 2021, it will leave newly-engaged couples struggling for peak weekend dates.
"Weekday weddings were on the rise before all this as couples realised the value for money benefit, especially with venue hire fees. After such a mad year, we can imagine more guests will find it easier or will be more happy to take time off during the week to go to a wedding of someone near and dear. So we don't think this should put anyone off off-peak dates!"
Should I avoid a destination wedding abroad in 2021?
"2021 will definitely see more local or UK destination weddings due to the uncertainty of travel this year, but we don't anticipate this will be a long-term slump. Couples have long seen the value for money of getting hitched abroad, doubling up a wedding and a honeymoon, and taking advantage of beautiful places that don't need making any more beautiful.
"We're hoping that out of the way venues in the UK will see more interest, with city couples venturing out to Scottish Islands and Cornish beach hotels where they might not have done before, to get somewhat of a destination wedding feel."
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Is it better to rebook my wedding for 2022 to be safe?
"It's a really personal decision since, for many, waiting another two years to tie the knot is just too far off. But for those in no rush, it's worth considering. Pushing it all back to 2022 will open up more availability for your suppliers, your guests, and you get to spend all of 2021 chilling, because you'll be the most prepared couple ever."
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How can I cut down my wedding guest list?
"If ruthlessly cutting the guestlist is a daunting prospect, stick to some cut and dry rules. Parents and siblings only, no plus ones, no kids. It will make it much easier to explain to those who didn't make the cut.
"In terms of letting people know, you can relax in knowing that people will be much more forgiving given the circumstances and most guests might assume this might happen anyway and be prepared to receive your un-invite. Just let people know it wasn't an easy decision but that you 100% plan to celebrate more widely when you can.
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"Consider ways to make people feel involved if they couldn't be with you on the day itself - you could live-stream the ceremony, send care packages ahead of time with wedding favours and heartfelt notes, courier them a piece of cake after the day!"
WHAT WEDDINGS WILL LOOK LIKE
Will I still be able to have a big wedding after coronavirus?
"For many couples, this crisis has shifted their priorities and the focus is now more on an intimate gathering with their nearest and dearest, and it will be hard to get over the mental hurdle of being around big groups. But for others it's shifted it in the other direction - it's more important than ever to them to have a massive wedding because this year showed us just how much we took it for granted.
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"Smaller weddings were trending in the last few years anyway, as couples started to actively choose to reduce their headcount way down in order to invest more in each person, rather than spread their hard-earned money further across 150 people.
"Finances will also play a big role in this. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that in most cases, reducing your headcount reduces your spend. So if couples have been hit particularly hard by this crisis, but they don’t want to hang about to earn more money for a wedding (they just want to be freakin’ married!), then perhaps we’ll see smaller budgets and smaller numbers because of it."
The relaxed vibe of sharing platters at dinner looks set to change
Will I be able to have a formal meal at my wedding after lockdown?
"One particular trend that was on the rise in the last few years was a shift from formal, plated food to more relaxed family-style, sharing platters. This had a great communal vibe, which couples were loving. But now, will we see a shift back to plated meals again? Will the worry over germs prevent couples from wanting their guests to share serving spoons for their roast potatoes? Possibly.
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"Will evening and dessert buffets suffer the same fate? We don’t think so, but couples will have it in the back of their minds and will want to minimise any worries about touching things lots of other people have touched - we might see fewer things in jars (looking at you sweet stations), less shared serving tongs or forks, maybe even food station attendants for those more vigilant couples."
Should I avoid having a dancefloor at my wedding due to coronavirus?
"We might see less of a focus on 'everyone on the dance floor' and maybe more cabaret 'sit and enjoy' dance floor entertainment. Or for those who are still determined to boogie, we might see more of a priority on larger spaces and ensuring there's plenty of ventilation and space for all those elbows."
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What will be the new normal for weddings in 2021?
"There will of course be a new normal when it comes to weddings, with corona trends that will stick around long-term - receiving lines, seating fewer households on tables, suppliers wearing masks and gloves, more hand sanitiser in general! But since these are sensible things to do in general when it comes to hygiene, we're hopeful for this new normal!"
What should I wear to my low-key wedding?
A smaller, less traditional wedding in the age of COVID gives you the opportunity to rip up the rules and start again. If you've always hated the idea of a full tulle skirt or the formality of wearing a veil, there's never been a better time to embrace a more low-key wedding dress - or even a jumpsuit!
Plus with less people attending, there's no need to blow the budget on the wedding dress, meaning a more casual, relaxed vibe is ideal. We've rounded up some of our purse-friendly favourites below.
Embellished Blazer, £100, ASOS
Jumpsuit, £470, Halston at Net-A-Porter
Elecia Fringe Wedding Dress, £250, Phase Eight
Don't forget that face masks will be compulsory for the next few months at least. Treat your face covering like you would any other accessory and go all out with sequins or his'n hers masks.
Katie May Disco Ball sequin face mask, £23, Revolve
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