While there was a huge number of weddings that were put on hold throughout the coronavirus pandemic, several couples chose to tie the knot in intimate ceremonies – and this has seen a huge rise in second weddings.
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But when the pressure is on to fix the imperfections of your first wedding, a second celebration can be even more difficult to plan. So what are the biggest trends couples want the second time around? Five wedding suppliers have shared their secrets, from dance floors to childcare – take inspiration!
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Living out your pre-pandemic wedding
Imagine planning your dream wedding day for over two years, only to fall at the last hurdle and have to change every aspect of your nuptials to adhere to restrictions? That was a reality for many couples, and Mary Briscoe, Wedding Planner at Weddings by Mary, revealed that's why so many brides and grooms want to fulfil their original plans.
Mary – who is helping a trio of clients bring their pre-pandemic wedding to life – suggested the original format of a wedding ceremony, followed by reception drinks and canapes and finished off with a big party is a popular choice.
Couples are bringing their pre-pandemic wedding plans to life
"What I’m noticing", said Mary, "is that couples who are hosting 'second' wedding celebrations this year are still wanting to remain true to their initial pre-pandemic wedding day with all main elements of the big day, but with little twists.
"I'm seeing that couples are conscious that family and friends, especially those that are now able to travel more freely from overseas without the additional pressures of quarantining, may not yet of had the opportunity to catch up since the pandemic and are therefore much more about focussing their second wedding day not on themselves but on their guests."
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She added that those who chose a civil ceremony are opting for relaxed celebrant-led services, while those who had a religious ceremony want a marriage blessing in a church with choirs and bell-ringing.
"The guests' every taste will be carefully catered for," said Mary, noting that flowing champagne and acoustic music are popular.
Speaking of creating a memorable day for the guests, she continued: "There will be entertainment in the form of garden games to DIY photobooths, and of course not forgetting the evening music that will keep the guests on the dancefloor all night long. Kicking off of course with a choreographed first dance (there has been plenty of time to practice) and there may even be a further surprise or two up couples' sleeves."
Creating immersive experiences
Personalised drinks can help wedding guests feel special
In a similar vein, Melanie Helen from Cranberry Blue Events revealed that couples are striving to create immersive experiences for their guests, from entertainment to personalised drinks.
"After so much pent-up frustration at not being able to celebrate properly over the past couple of years, needless to say, there is a clear focus on the party aspect being the main priority and we’re seeing more and more exciting entertainment options. Alongside fabulous musicians, try to think outside the box to create the unexpected and a more immersive experience for your guests.
"This could be through the use of performance artists styled to suit the overriding look of your day, a full-blown broadway-style moment during dinner or even immersive acts who can interact with your guests throughout the celebrations," said Melanie.
As well as a preference for formal, black-tie dress codes, she added that making guests feel "special and valued" is a key priority. This may include "tailored welcome gifts" or "delivering a personalised cocktail to their room prior to the evening welcome party."
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More young kids are being invited to weddings
It's always a tough decision whether to invite kids to your wedding. While some choose to keep their big day as an adults-only event, many didn't have the option with such limited guest lists over the past few years. Now, it seems as though more and more kids may be coming to weddings, which highlights the need for childcare.
"Safe and Sound has seen a dramatic increase in children under two years old attending a wedding over the last year and a pattern set to follow for 2022," said Founder & Director Stephanie Wallis.
"For the first time ever, there are 'extra' guests who were not on the original list and not because they were just not included," she continued. "A great many of these children belong to the couple getting married or the immediate family. Not only are there all of these children but they are children who have had limited interaction with the immediate family, let alone society as a whole."
Enter event childcare companies who can reassure parents that their kids are well cared for throughout the day so they can have a break from parenting and enjoy the celebrations.
"Over the recent years, pre-pandemic, many couples chose not to have children attending the wedding and if they did, it might be just immediate family only," she said, but this could be set to change with more couples wanting to make memories with their children or those of their family and friends.
"We have also seen an increase in children actually being included on the guest list. Many couples over the last year have told us that they were not going to have any children at all for their original wedding date, but that life has changed in so many ways that this has affected how they wish to spend that day," Stephanie concluded.
Personalised wedding stationery
More couples are choosing scented invites with custom calligraphy
Personalised stationery is having a big moment in 2022, according to Vaishali Shah, luxury cultural wedding stationery specialist at ANANYA.
Despite the fact that parties are getting bigger and better, couples still want their guests to know that they are a special part of their celebration. We're talking scented invitations, personalised menus and custom monograms on the dance floor, to name a few.
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"At Ananya, our couples are having various functions and we are designing inserts for all these events from pre-wedding events such as the mehendi and sangeet (henna and music night) to the wedding day and reception. Custom designed monograms are popular which we are then using across the stationery suite and beyond to the dance floor, DJ and bar areas," Vaishali explained.
"Personal touches include invitations with guest names written in calligraphy and individual personalised menus. We have been asked for scented invitations to match the season of the wedding or the location for destination weddings."
And the whole planning process is also an exciting moment for the couple, for example, with a photo-worthy unboxing of the invitations, which Vaishali said includes stickers or wax stamp seals, patterned envelopes, hand-drawn illustrations and more.
Want music all day? Save money with one entertainment supplier
When you think of a wedding, some of the most memorable moments are the first dance between the newlyweds, and the embarrassing relatives and friends who aren't afraid to make fun of themselves on the dance floor. Of course, that wasn't an option during the pandemic – but it is now!
"We have found that now our clients want to dance more than ever! YAY!" exclaimed Suzanna Aston, Owner of Aston Band.
"Music is such an integral part of any great wedding. It really makes the day! Music for the ceremony, drinks reception, dinner and of course the evening party. Couples are increasingly wanting music from start to finish," she continued.
And when it comes to saving money? Suzanna advised: "Most good wedding bands will be able to provide music for your entire day. Using one supplier for entertainment helps keep the cost down, too, as they will generally offer a package deal."
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