Wedding planning is stressful enough, but throw two years of Covid cancellations and postponements into the mix and it feels like a complete nightmare. An estimated 2.5 million weddings are booked for 2022 in the US, the highest number since 1984, according to The Wedding Report – and the UK is seeing a similar surge.
As a bride-to-be currently trying to organise a summer 2021 wedding, I can personally attest to the fact it feels like an impossible task. You might be able to secure a rare date at your dream venue, but the likelihood of getting your number one caterer, photographer or florist is slim during peak season.
We asked wedding planner Holly Poulter, Founder and Creative Director of Revelry Events, to give us the lowdown about the future of the wedding industry and what we can expect from 2022. Think non-traditional venues, flexibility with dates and plenty of compromises…
Outdoor weddings continue to be popular ©Lex Fleming / Revelry Events
What will weddings in 2022 look like?
2022 will be a busy year for the industry - with so many postponed weddings merging with newer plans, couples starting to plan now will start to feel understandably anxious about their ideal day. For this reason, couples will be exploring new avenues and non-traditional venues. Next year more than ever the focus will be on just being together and having an absolute cracker of a party - good food, lots of drink, good music.
Bold colours and themes, individualism, anti-'normal' - a wedding rebellion born out of adaptation.
And while we'll still see some caution with headcount, with the pandemic giving couples a great excuse to cut their numbers without any blowback, we're also likely to see some weddings get even bigger as they double as family and friend reunions after such a long time apart for many.
Is it too late to book a wedding in 2022?
We're seeing a real mixed bag. It totally depends on what your ideal wedding looks like and where, but we'd say that if you were hoping for a summer Saturday in 2022, you may find availability not in your favour with popular, traditional wedding venues and single-person suppliers, ie. photographers.
However, if you're willing to compromise and push the boundaries of 'the norm', go for a weekday, colder months or lower your headcount to fit into a more unusual 'non-wedding venue' venue then you could be good for 2022! It all comes down to your must-haves, where you're willing to adjust your ideas and how badly you want to get married next year.
Don't panic! There are still amazing suppliers to be found
What is the best month to get married in 2022? Are there any months to avoid?
If you can let go of the idea of a summer weekend, you'll open up a lot more flexibility and availability. 2022 won't see a traditionally quieter season for the industry, as in previous years, but moving away from the warmer months and getting cosy with the idea of a winter wedding might work in your favour for less stressful planning.
Are outdoor weddings a safer bet?
2022 will absolutely see more outdoor weddings than ever, as couples will know that in the unlikely event we find ourselves under more event restrictions again next year there will be fewer obstacles. We also saw how valuable our time outdoors was in the last few years and I think couples want to capture that and get creative.
Lack of venue availability, of fear thereof, will also lead to more couples looking at open-air venues like fields, farms and gardens of family or friends.
Should I avoid booking a wedding abroad? Which countries are likely to be the most popular?
There's still a lot of uncertainty with travel in general in the wake of the double-header of Brexit and Covid, so we think there will be some hesitancy to book anything too soon. However, previously popular wedding destinations for Brits such as Italy, France and Spain will be feeling the lack of tourism of the last few years so could possibly be inclined to put together some enticing offers for the following year, and well-worth keeping an eye on if you're leaning toward a destination do.
Alternatively, we're seeing a lot of couples opt for local weddings with a nod to travel - either in general or a specific place - transporting guests through food, mood and decor to places we've been unable to travel to.
Be flexible with your date and you'll save stress and money ©Natalie Watts / Revelry Events
What are the Covid wedding restrictions at present and are there likely to be any changes?
At the moment there are no restrictions on weddings and events - no limits on headcount or social distancing. The truth is we don't know what's around the corner in terms of government restrictions (we gave up trying to guess back in the first wave), but we'd be surprised if we saw restrictions as bad as we saw in the last year get imposed again.
Suppliers are still being sensible and guests are using their common sense when it comes to social distancing and mask-wearing - despite vaccination rates being high, everyone knows what's at stake now.
What can brides do if they can't get their first choice suppliers on the date they have booked?
Don't panic! There are some amazing suppliers out there who will still be available. Ask for recommendations from your first choices, they may be able to help and suggest someone amazing you wouldn't perhaps find yourself on a Google search. Best thing to do is be open to options, and don't leave people hanging too long after enquiring as things are moving quickly.
What other issues might brides encounter because of Covid?
Supply chain issues could be a concern for the near future, so if you are delaying any decisions on things that will have to come from abroad (dress, any decor) do consider bringing up the timeline.
Costs for food and drink may be subject to change so it's always worth speaking to your caterer or bar team about any choices you can make to mitigate any price hikes. Same goes for flowers too, use your florist's knowledge of what's local and in season to achieve the look you want without your budget taking a hit.
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