What’s happening to all those cancelled weddings?

Photo by Dermot Byrne Photography – www.dermotbyrnephoto.ie

As we head into May and uncertainty continues to be the order of the day for couples planning a wedding, we were very interested in an article that appeared in the Sunday Times of April 26th, which spoke to a number of suppliers in the wedding business and asked them for their take on what’s happening.

While the situation is changing almost by the day, I thought it might be helpful to share the gist of it with you. A rough paraphrase of the findings are set out below.

  • First and foremost, it’s going to be a very busy winter in terms of weddings, as ceremonies planned for the back end of the year are joined by weddings moved forward from spring or early summer.
  • For the most part, wedding venues and suppliers in general are working very hard with couples to create extra space in the calendar for weddings that need to me moved. This will definitely mean that more couples will be getting married on midweek days – those favourite Fridays and Saturdays simply aren’t available. This applies both to venues and to suppliers including wedding entertainment.
  • A midweek wedding may well make more financial sense in a whole host of ways. It’s usually cheaper to book a venue in midweek, while guests travelling in from overseas will probably get better value fares when they avoid the weekends.
  • The Humanist Association of Ireland had more than a thousand weddings booked for 2020, but 320 of them have been pushed forward to the end of this year, 235 to 2021, and a further 30 have been cancelled indefinitely.
  • A lot of couples are waiting for advice from the government as to when it’s safe to have their wedding celebrations. This is very responsible behaviour, but is sadly leaving people in something of a limbo as we await absolute clarity on when groups of 100 or more can mingle freely again.
  • Some couples are looking to book a date at the back end of this year – but just in case that proves to be a non-runner, they’re also looking to reserve a second date early in 2021 – just to keep their options open.
  • What were originally intended to be big weddings may now end up being smaller in scale – to keep the risk of spreading the virus to a minimum. And whether we like it or not, Covid-19 will still be alive and well in the second half of this year, and potentially long into 2021.
  • While many venues and suppliers are struggling right now, demand has not disappeared into the ether, so we can expect a huge glut of weddings as soon as the flood gates are opened.
  • As a general rule, all weddings up to the end of June seem to be cancelled, and couples are reviewing the situation on a weekly – and even daily – basis.

Photo by Dermot Byrne Photography – www.dermotbyrnephoto.ie

While the points above need not absolutely influence your decision to ‘stick or twist’ in terms of your planned date, it’s interesting to see the way other people are thinking – whether on the part of couples or suppliers.

One other point that I’d add myself is the need to stay in touch not just with your suppliers – but also with your guests.

They are going through very uncertain times too, so the more you can tell them about your plans, the easier it will be for them to be ready for a potential new wedding date.

And on a final note, I can guarantee you that the vast majority of suppliers – including your wedding entertainer– are not in the business of turning business away.

After a period of doing nothing for months, they’ll be only too willing to be as flexible as possible on acceding to your new planned date.

I hope you get some sense of direction from the above, and remember that this will not last forever.

We Irish have been very good in tackling the menace of Corona virus, and there is very definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

Stay safe, stay well, and stay hopeful.

Shane Black
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