If you were planning your wedding this year, the good news is that it can now go ahead. Sadly though, your nuptials almost certainly won't look like the wedding you were dreaming of pre-lockdown.
Under the new guidance for England released on Monday, small wedding and civil partnership ceremonies are allowed to go ahead from July 4th but only when they can be done safely and follow social distancing guidelines.
The government's new guidelines for weddings say:
Ceremonies should be kept 'as short as reasonably possible' and limited as much as possible to just the parts that are legally binding
No more than 30 people should attend
Everyone should follow the 2m rule if possible, or 1m with extra safety measures
No food and drink should be consumed as part of the event
Hands should be washed before and after the exchanging of rings, and the rings should be handled by as few people as possible
Singing, shouting or playing music at a volume that means people have to raise their voice should all be avoided. Instead of singing, recordings are suggested
Speaking during the ceremony - for example saying the responses to the vows - should not be in a raised voice
Playing instruments that are blown into should be avoided
When singing or chanting is required, only one person is allowed to and the couple or venue should consider installing a clear screen
Venues frequently used for weddings should mark the floor with tape or paint to help people maintain social distance.
The government advice also suggests changing traditional wedding layouts to avoid face-to-face seating, improving ventilation or using face masks.
The requirement to follow the 2m rule – or 1m with extra precautions – will likely rule out the tradition of a father walking his daughter down the aisle, unless they live in the same household.
The maximum number of 30 people also includes everybody at the ceremony. That means the couple, witnesses, officiants, guests and suppliers such as photographers and caterers.
So, how will that impact the way we budget for our wedding?
We spoke to Rebecca Goodwin, co-founder of The Dress Tribe – one of the UK's top bridal outfit matchmakers – about how their clients are prioritising spending for their big day in 2020 and beyond.
Wedding budget: what couples are spending on right now:
Couples who are deciding to go ahead with weddings this year are massively focusing on quality over quantity in regards to their investments.
The types of memories brides will have – from an intimate wedding in comparison to the larger scale weddings they had planned – are going to be very different.
The moments captured that will stand the test of time through film and photography will be much less diverse as there will be limited space and a limited range of activities to work with. Whereas at a 'pre-Covid' wedding there may have been multiple locations, large banquet feasts, lighting and musical changes.
At the moment, those looking to go ahead with their 2020 weddings are mainly looking at utilising their outdoor spaces. This means garden weddings will be big.
Enhancing the wedding experience through investing more in a good wedding photographer and a garden suited wedding dress (perhaps one that includes a simple change such as the use of a removable overskirt or a danceable jumpsuit) are decisions that are being made.
These elements will truly capture the personality and uniqueness of a couple, ultimately celebrating their love despite the scaling down of the whole day.
Couples now also have more budget to spend on these choices as their guests lists are being cut down from 100+ to a maximum of 30.
Another area brides and their grooms are planning on increasing their spend on is upgraded honeymoon plans. Whilst the uncertainty of travel is still real, couples going ahead with small scale weddings are making the decision to plan ahead and go luxe once travel restrictions ease up.
Wedding budget: What couples getting married next year are spending on:
The brides that are waiting until next year are ready to make their plans bigger and better than originally imagined; a bigger guest list, better venue and one hell of a dress (or two!).
As with the rest of the world, brides are becoming increasingly sentimental about being reunited with their loved ones and creating new memories. Across the board, bonds have strengthened. This has absolutely pushed many of our clients to update their guest lists and extend the invite to friends whom may not have been featured on the original guest list.
There is a real rush in setting a date and booking a venue. We are expecting double the amount of weddings to be organised next year so securing those in-demand July and August dates and venues is a priority.
The Dress Tribe has seen a 25% increase in brides using the platform. This is a sign that lockdown has given them even more time to get inspired and bring to life their bridal fuelled fantasies.
On the aesthetics side of the bridal industry, 2021 brides now have another 12 months+ to get ready for their big day. This gives them a good window of time to get their beauty regimes and treatments booked in, allowing enough time for recovery and ensuring that they will have that much desired bridal glow.
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