It’s been over three years since ‘Covid-19’ first consumed the globe, when terms such as ‘lock-down’ and ‘social distancing’ dominated headlines around the world, however, it may be surprising to hear that the pandemic’ effects are still impacting those working in the wedding industry - causing a noticeable ‘slow down’ in wedding announcements, enquiries and bookings which can be felt all the way from wedding venues to wedding florists.
‘Slow down’ - You can’t be serious?
There may be some, who work within the wedding industry, reading this either sceptically or scornfully, declaring, ‘I see no ‘slow down’ in my business’, and this may be true - for the time being. However, businesses within the wedding sector in the UK and other neighbouring European countries are starting to report the same noticeable drop in engaged couples looking for their services, with the UK only just starting to see this similar pattern emerging. With like for like enquires dropping by over one third when comparing March 22 to March 23, (stats.uk).
Why ‘Slow Down’ Now?
Despite the current economic situation and cost of living crisis being an easy way to explain why a stream of newly engaged couples might be drying up. This ‘slow down’ is, unfortunately, the delayed result of Covid-19’s catastrophic impact on stopping couples simply meeting each other and dating, the very essentials necessary in the lead up to becoming engaged and married.
For instance, when Covid-19 first exploded into the public domain, countries made the difficult decision one by one to lockdown, limiting the population from being able to do the very thing that comes naturally in humanity, socialising and meeting people.
In turn, this led to an approx 24 month period, due to lockdowns being used on and off throughout that time, where potential couples would have found it increasingly difficult to meet in person and sustain some kind of relationship. Let us not forget that it was the leisure and hospitality industries, which were often the subject of stringent government closure notices during lockdowns.
You can’t stop people falling in love though?
Although some may say that Covid-19 surely couldn’t be behind a downward trend of newly engaged couples, many of the statistics being announced paint a very clear picture that the pandemic is directly responsible for this ‘drought’ of engaged couples looking to get married within the next 12 months.
For example, whilst it’s true over 25% of couples meet through dating apps such as tinder, Grindr, etc. It is also true that only 1 in 10 couples will chose NOT to live together before getting engaged, (hitched, 2022). Meaning that whilst it is possible couples may have ‘met’ online during the pandemic, the chances they would have been able to move in together easily throughout 2020-2021 is fairly slim.
A delay in being able to move in together, will in turn, delay a couple announcing their engagement, bearing in mind millennials make up approx 68% of couples getting married, (hitched, 2022), and millennials average approx 24 to 36 months living together before getting engaged - this is before the 12 month average time millennial couples will spend planning their wedding, (stats.uk). You can soon see very quickly just how a stagnation in the wedding industry could be fast approaching your wedding dependant business.
So what can be done about this stagnation?
Well it’s extremely difficult to predict how long, or damaging, this stagnation period may last, it varies greatly on numerous factors which are difficult to ascertain. For instance, how the pandemic may have changed behaviours to take greater chances and risks, known as the ‘YOLO mentality’. Additionally, as businesses are increasingly subjected to the economic strain the cost of living crisis has placed on their ability to maintain a steady and healthy cash-flow, more wedding based businesses than ever are turning to ways to financially incentivise couples to take the plunge now and benefit from cheaper deals and packages.
In summary, whilst this might seem a very gloomy prospect for those of us working within the wedding sector, you can also see it as a golden opportunity to persuade couples to purchase your services now, (deposit based), with the outlook that they will be able to spend time planning their wedding and securing vendors along the way at cheaper rates and packages.