Summer weddings maybe postponed this year but proposals during lockdown are on the rise as couples spend more time with each other whilst being furloughed or working from home. The Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster have recorded an increase of 10% compared to last year.
Venue sales manager Rhiân Pressley said “as people have had more time on their hands it seems to have focussed their minds on what and who is important in their lives. Being a larger London venue, we can still accommodate a decent number of people and have protocols in place to ensure people feel safe and secure.”
Couples are also getting increasingly innovative with their proposals. One couple due to be engaged in Iceland had the witty idea of performing the act in an Iceland store as an alternative location. Another couple were due to be in Japan under the cherry blossom, however when those plans were scuppered the fiancé created a treasure hunt in a village where his fiancée grew up consisting of riddles and poems.
Celebrity jeweller Shaun Leane has seen a rise of 25% in bespoke engagement ring work and celebrant Denise Whitehair from The Guild of Cornish Celebrants has also seen an increase in new enquiries. Denise said “with more time spent together, couples are realising the importance of marriage and ensure their loved one is taken care of should something happen. It’s a wonderful thing to look forward to and spend the time planning.”
Denise Whitehair continued “without guidance from the Government some venues are not allowing any weddings this year at all, postponing them to 2021 and beyond.”
Wedding planner Siobhan Craven-Robins said “we are currently working hard to move weddings that should have taken place this year to next, so next year will be very busy with many options already booked up.”
Siobhan, a co-founder of the National Association of Wedding Professionals continued “the Coronavirus pandemic has had a massive impact on the UK Wedding Industry. Nearly four months on, there is some relief to be found with the recent announcement that ceremonies of up to 30 people can take place but we are still treading water and feeling disappointed by the lack of guidance and information forthcoming to help us advise our clients and protect our businesses. We (NAWP) have been actively lobbying Government throughout and recently, sent a document covering all aspects of weddings, the vendors involved, and suggestions for how some semblance of weddings could perhaps go ahead in the short term. Our industry needs to be heard, and we as a professional association, feel it essential that we speak up and try to help.”
Addressing the couples who have had to postpone their nuptials planners Hazel Parsons and Rebecca Edwards have teamed up with the Cornish Celebrants, photographers, videographers and other suppliers to create ‘Get Wed Online’ so that couples don’t miss out on their day and can celebrate virtually with friends and family utilising all their skills and expertise to create a professional, slick event. Already a number of ceremonies have taken place, including a renewal of vows, minimony and hand-fasting, with another due to take place in Cornwall next weekend.
Hazel said “Some couples are having to postpone their wedding for up to two years. By having a virtual celebration, it allows couples to emotionally fulfil their betrothal and enjoy the day together whilst allowing the full-scale nuptials to be realised at a later date.”
Rhiân Pressley, from the Royal Horticultural Halls concluded “it’s quite possible that hybrid weddings will be a continuing trend for those who can’t be there in person and it’s something we can offer couples at both Halls.”
To toast newly engaged couples wanting to marry at the Halls next year, the venue is giving them £1,000 towards entertainment if they book their wedding before the end of July this year.*
With one metre distancing the Halls can accommodate up to 200 guests for a ceremony and dinner, if normality is resumed up to 650 can be accommodated. Planners should contact Rhiân Pressley to understand the latest guidelines.