Couples have been warned they’ll face competition for Autumn dates as wedding suppliers report a 720% increase in sales as bride-to-be’s rush to book their weddings following Boris Johnson‘s announcement.
The Prime Minister announced yesterday weddings with a maximum of six will take place from March 8, increasing to 15 ‘no earlier than April 12’ and to 30 people from May 17.
But couples hoping for a full-sized wedding face an uncertain wait, with June 21 given as the earliest date when they will be given the green light – but that didn’t stop brides from resuming plans for their big day – with September to November dates proving very popular.
From wedding venues to florists and bridal dress designers, many industry leaders and suppliers witnessed a rapid, sharp u-turn following the announcement, as the prospect of 500,000 weddings taking place in the next year quickly became a reality.
Wedding decoration suppliers, Ginger Ray, saw searches for wedding decorations peak at 3,054 last night, while Hamish Shephard, founder of leading UK app Bridebook, revealed that the app crashed due to a sharp, sudden rise in traffic – with 23,112 couples logging in.
‘Get ready for the race down the aisle,’ Hamish warned. ‘Couples should be aware they may face a lot of competition for Autumn dates as brides-to-be rush to plan and book suppliers.
‘We saw a 720% spike after Boris Johnson’s announcement and it’s looking like a huge amount of couples will want to get married between September and November. If you have not booked your venue yet, I would highly encourage couples to move quickly.’
Hamish Shephard (pictured), founder of leading UK app Bridebook, revealed that following Boris’ announcement, the app crashed due to a sharp, sudden rise in traffic
Wedding photographer duo Stephanie and Nicole say that they have also seen added interest since Boris’ announcement yesterday
Hamish commented: ‘It was the busiest night in wedding planning history and the app crashed within an hour of Boris’s announcement!
‘We saw a high number of couples attempting to download Bridebook to book their venue in the space of a few hours. Sadly it was too much traffic to cope with – though I am pleased to say we are now back up and running.’
‘It’s not surprising given the clarity we now have for the summer peak wedding season and beyond, with next year being set to see 1,000,000 people get married and 500,000+ weddings.’
According to Bridebook, 735 lucky couples will get married on Monday 21st June. The wedding planning app says weddings are back in a big way, and there’s an enormous amount of pent up demand across the country.
Hamish added: ‘By 8pm three venues had commented on our Slack channel that they had had two booking confirmations. Consumer confidence is up immeasurably finally, and the wedding industry is ready!’
Speaking exclusively to FEMAIL, Bridebook bride Alison Mullett, who is due to marry Glenn Mather, told how she was one of the lucky ones who jumped straight on the phone and managed to get a new wedding date in the Summer, on Monday 26th July 2021.
Phillipa Lepley (pictured), British couture dress designer, says that since last night, they have seen an incredible spike in enquiries
Sue Barnes from LGF says that Lavender Green Flowers has already seen a huge number of brides contact them since yesterday afternoon to discuss confirmations on weddings (pictured)
Alison explained how the first original date for her wedding was Sunday 26th July last year, but that got cancelled. They then tried to do a smaller wedding on that same date, which was pulled.
Following that, they tried for November 22nd, which got cancelled, before finally attempting a small wedding on the date, which also got pulled too.
Speaking of how far her wedding planning had come before Boris’ announcement, Alison explained: ‘We had planned four weddings at that stage – two dates and two differed styles. This is our fifth attempt to get married this year!’
Following the news yesterday, she added: ‘It was totally unbelievable! Even though I didn’t feel like I was anxious about it, as soon as he said June 21st it felt like the most enormous weight had been lifted. I am still really teary now. I just thought FINALLY!’
‘We watched the announcement right until the end to check there weren’t any u-turns and then as soon as it was finished we sat at the dining table and went on the Bridebook app.
‘The app was down last night, so we ended up pulling out all our old excels and pieces of paper starting to draw up plans, until we got back on this morning.
‘We have had to change quite a bit about the wedding over the last 12 months, so we wanted to create a big new picture of the wedding that is now finally evolving.’
Alison says she resumed wedding planning ‘straight away’ – adding: ‘ We had a bottle of pink Lanson champagne ready to go in the hope we would be happy with the news, which we opened straight away!’
‘We went straight to the Bridebook app, but we couldn’t access it so I got all our papers out instead and tried to work through it all manually while we waited for app to come back up.
Speaking exclusively to FEMAIL, Bridebook bride Alison Mullett, who is due to marry Glenn Mather, jumped on the phone to book a new wedding date following Boris’ announcement (pictured, together)
Alison (pictured, with Glenn) says she resumed wedding planning ‘straight away’ – adding: ‘ We had a bottle of pink Lanson champagne ready to go in the hope we would be happy with the news, which we opened straight away!’
‘I took today off work to get ahead and because I just feel so exciting! I have been so busy getting in touch with absolutely everybody – all our suppliers and the venue. Relatives and invites will all come next – that is our plan for tomorrow evening.’
Alison continued: ‘We’re having the whole thing at the venue now as our notice of marriage has expired and the registrars weren’t open to renew it, so now we are getting married at the local church and then having the ceremony at the venue, Venue is Heaton House Farm, in Macclesfield.
I am just SO excited to get back planning! We have managed to put it to the back of our minds for so long and try to forget until we have positive news.’
‘We have a wedding WhatsApp group with family and close friends on, and we messaged straight away – everyone on it was thrilled! We have people planing to come to the wedding from Scotland, Plymouth, Devon and the Midlands – it will just be so brilliant to see everyone in July.’
Fran Everist, Head of Sales & Marketing at leading wedding venue Hedsor House, says that her team were prepared and also waiting for the announcement – despite not knowing if it would be the news they or their couples wanted to hear.
‘Luckily it was positive news for many – the phone started ringing at 4pm yesterday and it hasn’t stopped since,’ she said. ‘Our existing couples are our priority and we will be are working through plans with each and every one of our existing couples them carefully, and new enquiries have started to come in thick and fast today.’
Monty Clevely, founder of Full Monty Events, a boutique wedding and events planning consultancy, was equally as delighted by the news.
‘After the announcement yesterday, I had about 10 brides message and call me saying that they want to resume their planning and get started now that they have been given the green light, which was so exciting,’ she explained. ‘I am over the moon that there is now light at the end of the tunnel and I can get back to doing what I love most – planning beautiful weddings.
‘I am also so happy that brides to be can finally move forward and be excited for their dream weddings to actually happen!’
Monty Clevely (pictured), founder of Full Monty Events, a boutique wedding and events planning consultancy, says she was ‘so anxious’ for the announcement yesterday – but was delighted with the news
A private client of Monty’s told FEMAIL: ‘My fiancé and I are so thrilled that weddings can finally resume at normal capacity come the end of June.
‘We have had to cancel our wedding twice now due to the pandemic and while it was really tough and sad at the time, it’s given us extra time to really narrow down exactly what we want for when we can have our special day!
‘We are so excited to be working with Monty again so that we can go full steam ahead with the preparations.
Wedding gift list companies have also seen a rise:
Wedding Present Company:
‘Last night was our highest night of guest pledges since December 2020, with revenue more than doubling on previous sales in 2021. +46% increase on same day last year. This shows guest confidence is up!
We saw a spike in registrations, up 98% compared to the previous Monday. All 2021 weddings bar one, average guest list size 120.
Flurry of requests to book a showroom appointment when we can reopen the showroom on 12 April.
‘We continue to use Virtual Appointments to get to know our couples and help them get started with the gift list in the meantime.
– 22% increase in users to the website last night
– 10% increase in new users to the website last night
– 24% increase in organic traffic to the website’
Georgie Evans, Wedding Present Company MD (pictured)
The Wedding Shop:
‘There was a 50% increase in registrations compared to the previous Monday and 17% increase compared to the previous day.
We saw twice the number of appointments being booked compared to the previous day
The average guest pledge value was up compared to the same day the previous year.’
‘Logged in traffic up was up 16% compared to the previous day and we saw a spike in registrations at 7pm.
Compared to the previous Monday we were up 40% in logged in users, 35% in sessions and 71% up in page views.’
‘As soon we heard last night’s announcement, we texted her immediately asking for a call today to discuss how best to move forward.
‘Thankfully our wedding venue still had a few dates available for this year, so we immediately confirmed that as our first port of call. Then we gave Monty a call to talk through everything!’
Elsewhere, Kate Beavis, the owner of creative wedding blog and directory Magpie Wedding says that yesterday was a ‘key day’ for couples and wedding suppliers alike.
‘Our bride group have almost stopped planning as they didn’t want their hopes dashed again,’ she explained. ‘Last night felt like a very different story.
‘Our wedding Magpie Wedding Directory (where we showcase amazing suppliers to our couples) had the biggest day every for website hits.
‘We usually get a few thousand a day but last night we reached 18, 000 and today looks to be the same, in fact, double!
Our couples want a sustainable wedding – our Guide To Having An Ethical Wedding was downloaded a record amount yesterday.
‘We are now so hopeful that we can put our wedding shows on again too – couples are itching to come out to meet suppliers, to taste the cake samples, and try on dresses!’
And Nehar Ullah-Donofrio, from Spot On Event, says that have also been a few bookings confirmed since the announcement, which is ‘amazing news.’
She added: ‘I can imagine the venues are very busy though because I myself have allied two venues since this morning to confirm dates and also a few to understand their cancellation policy should there be a change in the rules.’
And it wasn’t only wedding venues and planners that saw an almost immediate demand from brides-to-be.
Sue Barnes from LGF says that Lavender Green Flowers has already seen a huge number of brides contact them since yesterday afternoon to discuss confirmations on weddings.
She went on to say that the announcement has given them the confidence and enquiries are, thankfully after the toughest more diabolical year in the business’s 30 year history, coming back in.
She added: ‘The team are thrilled if somewhat overwhelmed. But we are raring to go!’
And Phillipa Lepley, British couture dress designer, says that since last night, they have also seen an incredible spike in enquiries.
‘Brides are thrilled to be able to resume the process of creating their dress with us,’ she explained. ‘They are quickly booking additional virtual appointments so they can be ready for as soon as the shop opens to have their in house fittings.’
‘It has been a joy to see messages from brides and how happy those who are choosing to go ahead in the next couple of months are feeling.
‘We have an additional large pop up space in Chelsea close to our store to manage the backlog of fittings and viewings required.
We can see twice as many brides in person when safely allowed to do so, this way we can facilitate the large number of brides who have waited patiently and postponed weddings over the last year.’
Stephanie Moran, bridal designer in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, also thinks with all the uncertainty, her clients have finally got actual light at the end of the tunnel with regards to tying the knot, without restrictions.
‘I came to the stage of not booking future appointments so since the announcement I’ve had so many brides that were on ‘on hold’ per se, call and email me before I’ve had a chance to put a plan in place,’ she explained.
Dresses and couture overlays patiently waiting in the window of the closed Phillipa Lepley shop
Kate Beavis, the owner of creative wedding blog and directory Magpie Wedding says that yesterday was a ‘key day’ for couples and wedding suppliers alike
‘From couture clients to alterations and accessories clients, it’s now about planning carefully for the dates ahead to make sure that I can fit it all in as it is vital everyone gets their dream dress; it will be tough, as we have an influx of current and new brides excited about their wedding.’
‘For the wedding industry, this is what we have waited for and we do the job because we love it, so my brides will definitely be walking down the aisle in the dress of their dreams!’
Amy, the owner of Amica Bridal Boutique has equally been inundated with brides contacting them to book appointments to try on dresses or to have their wedding dress altered ready for the big day they’ve been waiting for.
Stephanie Moran (pictured), bridal designer in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, also thinks with all the uncertainty, her clients have finally got actual light at the end of the tunnel with regards to tying the knot, without restrictions
Amy, the owner of Amica Bridal Boutique (pictured), has been inundated with brides contacting them to book appointments to try on dresses or to have their wedding dress altered ready for the big day they’ve been waiting for
Photographer Kate says that almost instantly, she had couples get in touch with jer yesterday evening following the announcement, weeks after their initial enquiry
The Wedding Lawyer
Pranav Bhanot, founder of The Wedding Lawyer and head of Wedding Law at law firm Meaby & Co LLP, says:
‘Since the Government Roadmap last night, we have received approximately 100 enquiries overnight regarding the next steps both suppliers and couples should not be taking.’
‘Whilst there is cautious optimism, there is also a frantic rush to get the weddings organised.
What we have noticed:
1. Couples are using the Government Roadmap as an opportunity to resolve their disputes about refunds with suppliers and adopt a conciliatory approach to wedding planning.
2. Couples wish to move fast as they appreciate peak weekends over the summer months will be subject to high demand.
We have found a surge in consultations, as couples wish to obtain guidance and advice before going ahead with their bookings.
3. Wedding suppliers and couples are asking for us to review new agreements and addendums to existing contracts as a renegotiation of terms and conditions are taking place between the parties following the announcement last night.
4. I have been approached by a venues to ask what the Government announcement means for ensuring they can host a COVID-19 Secure event.’
She added: Many brides who got engaged during lockdown feel that they’ve been robbed of the excitement and buildup to their big day – no dress shopping, hair trials, engagement party or visits to wedding fairs.
‘Their experience has been tarnished. Brides-to-be and their families can’t wait to be part of the bride experience and have something exciting to do together! We will be embracing them when we can reopen. It’s going to be such an incredible time.’
And wedding photographer duo Stephanie and Nicole also say that they have also seen added interest since Boris’ announcement yesterday – although it hasn’t been at quite the spike as other suppliers.
‘It has been the hardest year of our lives – I can’t tell you how much more positive we have been feeling in the last 12 hours,’ they explained.
‘The phone isn’t ringing off the hook yet, but we did see a couple of booking confirmations come through last night and website traffic is up slightly today, so hopefully improvements will continue.
‘We can’t wait to be back photographing weddings again soon!’
Kate Gray, wedding photographer and Owner of Kate Gray Photography, added:
‘It is has been a year of uncertainty for the industry, but the announcement yesterday seems to have given some couples that much needed confidence to commit and book their suppliers.
‘Almost instantly, we had couples get in touch with us yesterday evening following the announcement, weeks after their initial enquiry.
‘It is clear many couples have been sat on the fence waiting for that glimmer of hope for the future, and it seems yesterday provided that.’
Kate is urging couples to reach out to potential suppliers as soon as they can.
She added: ‘We will begin to see a real rush of enquiries, with almost a double season of weddings expected for years 2021 and 2022, as so many couples have decided to postpone or reschedule, and further disappointment could be a real blow to many brides.’