Consumer Confidence returning for Weddings in 2021 & 2022

Consumer Confidence returning for Weddings in 2021 & 2022

This time a year ago we were coming to terms with the concept of a first national lockdown for covid and for the most part everyone thought it would be a couple of weeks in lockdown and back to normal, we all know how that panned out!

When it became obvious that last years weddings were at risk we created our Your wedding and Covid article which with over 750,000 views quickly became one of the most viewed wedding related covid articles on the web, helping thousands of couples and suppliers alike. The situation was very fluid and rules changed in a heartbeat, half of the problem was that nobody could possibly keep up or even begin to plan ahead, ultimately everything for weddings literally came to a full stop…

2021 New Year, New You and New Vaccine, whatever your thoughts on the vaccine there is no doubt that the UK’s program has been responsive and fast and almost all discussion is now focussed on how and when we will see lifting of restrictions with some roadmap to normality announcements expected on Feb 22nd. Everyone hopes weddings could possibly be going ahead safely this summer, optimistically perhaps as early as spring? Time will tell as to when we will see weddings start again, but what we do know is that couples are starting to think about planning again especially for 2022 and 2023.

With hundreds of suppliers at our fingertips most are reporting a definitive uplift in mood and light at the end of the tunnel with increased enquiries and rebooking this could be good news for weddings but this good vibe does come with a couple of warnings that we are likely at the start of a potential other challenge for couples planning their wedding day?

The UK see’s an average of 280,000 weddings a year but government figures suggest that in 2020 over 200,000 weddings didn’t go ahead as planned. and will now flood over in to 2021/22 and 2023

This presents an additional challenge for couples and not just for this year but for potentially the next 2-5 years.

The challenge is two fold, but essentially centres around a substantial change in the marketplace, supply & demand and the economic effects of over a year with no weddings.

Wedding suppliers and venues interviewed are already seeing substantial enquiries for 2022 and 2023 along with a substantial backlog of 2020 weddings still to be rebooked, all of which means that we are seeing extremely limited availability of suppliers and reduced choice for wedding couples now starting to plan a 2022 wedding day.

Compounding this issue is that in all honesty not everybody made it through, we lost some major big names along the way thanks to the economic pressures of operating a business with zero income meaning that there are less wedding suppliers now available whilst expected demand for wedding services will as much as triple over the next 2-3 years.

Secondly that old myth of mention merely mentioning the word “Wedding” and the price doubles is facing a reality check. Realistically the wedding industry as a whole has operated with exceptionally small margins and hasn’t seen any substantial economic growth for over a decade. The economic strains of operating a business with zero turnover during a pandemic along with a perhaps a long overdue realignment of the market place will be further accelerated by the huge imbalance of demand far outstripping supply will affect the sectors ability to continue holding previously competitive pricing,

Much of the wedding industry has already or is planning to increase pricing for 2021/22 onwards, with the overall price of a wedding set to increase by an average of 15-20%.

What this all adds up to is that assuming we can get back to weddings as we love them, the biggest challenges a couple planning their wedding in 2021 or 2022 may face are:

  1. Simply finding that all suppliers, venues are fully booked up for the foreseeable future, or that choice in suppliers is extremely limited.
  2. That the wedding budget takes a substantial hit with your existing budget not stretching as far as it would have previously or needing substantially adding to.
  3. Weekday weddings that used to be a potential area for couples to save venue costs and increase the chances of chosen suppliers being available will see weekday wedding simply become the norm and carry at least the same cost as a weekend wedding.

Will things return to the previous status quo?

Weddings are unfortunately just as liable to economic, supply and demand changes as any other sector, whilst it is likely that the 200,000 or so weddings carried over from 2020 will be clear by the end of 2022 perhaps sometime in 2023, economically the market place was long overdue a correction and its unlikely that the cost of a wedding will fall back to the previous low levels experienced, in addition its likely that Weekday weddings will remain the norm for some time to come. Eventually we will see new investors coming back into weddings, while the annual number of weddings returns to normal perhaps as early as 2024. The gap between demand and supply will lessen resulting in a more competitive market place but this is possibly 5-6 years away before things truly stabilise.

Article Written by: Dom Harness, Operations Director at RandFWeddings and business management consultant

Dom Harness – Photo Credit; https://www.two-d.co.uk/