Restrictions on wedding numbers have put a spanner in the works of the UK wedding industry, though despite the challenges, couples have shown a remarkable ability to adapt their plans. When restrictions were lifted at the end of June 2021, some 50,000 weddings were planned for the four weeks following. On a whole, the UK Weddings Task Force forecasted that there would be approximately 470,000 weddings in 2021 and 350,000 in 2022. Although the current global health crisis is again causing some couples to postpone their Big Day, it isn’t standing in the way of those who are determined to stick to their original date. The following trends can be said to be dominating the current wedding scene.
Smaller Weddings are Back
When restrictions on guest numbers were lifted in June last year, the micro wedding trend took a bit of a backseat, though the current situation is once again boosting the popularity of more intimate events. The UK government has stipulated that some weddings and venues—including those opening
between 1 am and 5 am, serving alcohol after 1 am, and having dance floors—should carry out C19 status checks. For some couples, the solution to these restrictions is a smaller wedding that adapts to rules in their particular country or area. Recently, it was announced that weddings in Wales would be limited by each venue’s socially distanced capacity, with all guests being required to take a lateral flow test. Of course, these rules are constantly changing, so couples choosing to stay on the safe side are choosing venues that can easily be adapted to social distancing and other measures.
Outdoor Venues are Taking Over
The trend for outdoor weddings has become firmly entrenched over the past few years. Weddings in natural settings are not only safer but also make a
perfect backdrop for wedding photos. From farms to gardens, parks to luxurious estates, there are a host of beautiful outdoor spots that are ideal for romantic events. Popular choices include The Lost Orangery in Wiltshire, which measures a perfectly manicured garden and beautiful terraces, Temple Island in Oxfordshire along the River Thames, and Fforest—a 200-acre farm surrounded by rivers and woodland. Outdoor weddings are easy to embellish, with marquees, lighting, outdoor arches, and gazebos all making ideal additions to a picture-perfect event.
City Weddings that Are Out of the Box
A wedding may be small but it doesn’t have to be sparse. Trendy urbanites are celebrating their UK weddings in unique urban venues such as museums and city halls. Just a few of the UK’s most original reception venues include The Natural History Museum in London, the Garden of Eden in Liverpool (perched on the majestic Shankly Hotel), and Cardiff City Hall in Cardiff. Those opting for a simple ceremony, meanwhile, are looking to places like the Edinburgh Registry Office, with suites that seat between 60 and 70 guests. This venue offers beautiful views over Edinburgh’s iconic Princess Street. Those wishing to save can then celebrate their reception at The Elephant House, famed for being the spot where J.K. Rowling wrote her Harry Potter books.
Weddings Go Green
Sustainability is the buzzword in the events sector and weddings are no different. Blue & Green reports that around 70% of newlyweds are embracing sustainability and indeed, this trend goes hand in hand with that of outdoor weddings. Features to watch out for include wedding buses for attendees, the use of plant materials to replace plastic confetti, and the purchase of conflict-free and lab-grown diamonds and gemstones for wedding jewellery. Receptions are also taking on a whole new look, with couples opting for potted flowers instead of cut ones for table décor, organic and vegan cuisine, recycled crockery and cutlery, and paper straws. Couples are also seeking providers with a proven track record for environmental responsibility. Resorts and venues that rely on natural energy and have water-saving measures in place are being chosen over those without a published sustainability policy. Such is the importance of eco-friendliness that some traditional wedding
symbols are being replaced with greener versions. For instance, some brides are opting for artistic paper flower arrangements or sewn cloth flowers instead of cut flowers for their wedding bouquet.
Online Shopping for Wedding Attire
The online fashion industry is booming and this is as much for everyday and party wear as it is for wedding attires. Shops like David’s Bridal have a vast array of wedding dresses, for instance, running from as little as £100, and Catherine Deane also has dresses starting at a low £195. Of course, both also have high-end dresses for those with a higher budget. Some UK couples are turning to designers in Italy and Paris, thanks to services such as detailed, personalised guidance with aspects such as style and measurements. Some boutiques, like Grace Loves Lace in London, offer the services of an online stylist, with brides creating a shortlist then (if they wish) heading to London to try their chosen designs in person. Another trend in wedding fashion involves wearing pre-loved wedding dresses. Vintage, heirloom, and second-hand dresses have made a big comeback, with some UK sites being dedicated exclusively to used wedding dresses.
Millennial and Gen-Z brides and grooms are meaning-centred and they see their wedding day as a perfect way to express themselves. From themed receptions to photo booths with disguises and fun signs, right through to quirky reception treats like doughnut walls, there are many ways in which couples are adding fun elements that say something about their hobbies, tastes, and sense of style. Some couples are even choosing to create DIY favours for guests to take home. Just a few ideas include homemade preserves, USB drives with wedding playlists, and small painted canvases.
Around 70% of weddings were cancelled at the start of C19 but, bearing in mind the variable nature of the current global health situation, many couples are no longer willing to postpone their celebrations. Trends taking over the scene include smaller, outdoor, and sustainable weddings. The average wedding emits around 14.5 tons of CO2, making the interest in sustainability one of the most useful trends in recent years.