The events sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, with many events that had been in the pipeline for months being cancelled, and the same has happened with weddings.
Many couples have had to put the long-awaited “I do!” This has led to the cancellation of suppliers and ancillaries (farmhouses, caterers, photographers, videomakers), dresses, and a long etcetera.
Couples who have not been able to wait until 2022, which is when a new normality is expected to begin, have had to reinvent themselves and have zoom weddings or micro-weddings with 15 people.
We interviewed Cristina González, Head of communication in Spain at Bodas.net, a leading website in the bridal sector, with its international office in Sant Cugat del Vallès.
How have you lived the pandemic debacle at bodas.net?
In 2020 there were approximately 80% fewer celebrations than in 2019, according to a survey conducted by Bodas.net to more than 1,390 companies in the sector at the end of 2020 and 2,500 couples. However, of all weddings, only between 5% and 9% of weddings were cancelled, all others were postponed to a new date. Furthermore, 8 out of 10 couples who decided to postpone set a date for 2021.
What was the feedback you received from your suppliers regarding wedding cancellations?
More than cancelled weddings, we are talking about postponed weddings, as only between 5% and 9% were cancelled, all the rest were rescheduled.
Like all sectors, the bridal sector has experienced some difficult times throughout 2020 and early 2021. During all this time, there have been no specific and stable periods or clear protocols to allow weddings to take place. For this reason, Bodas.net joined with associations from all over Spain, businesses and affected couples to make a joint and public petition to the Spanish Government last March.
In Spain, approximately 165,000 couples get married every year and a direct business of 3,500 million euros is generated.
The wedding business includes multiple activities and does not belong to a single sector; it is included in other sectors such as leisure or catering. Even so, just registered on the Bodas.net website there are already more than 48,000 companies that work for weddings, so there are many companies, professionals and families directly affected, in addition to the nearly 200,000 couples who expect to get married in the coming months.
This is why we believe that it was of the utmost importance and urgency for the government to establish specific periods and measures so that the sector could continue to work, as has happened in other sectors.
Are your suppliers adapting to the current situation, and do you know if they have changed their rates?
The rates, as in any sector, are one of the things that can change year after year, regardless of the current situation.
Many couples are setting their new wedding date for 2022, partly so that the situation is more controlled, do you think they will be able to be cheaper than before?
A large proportion of the couples who are setting their wedding date for 2022 are couples who got engaged in 2020 or early 2021. In the last survey we conducted at the end of April, only 14% of couples said they had a wedding date for 2022.
In terms of budget, in a survey conducted by Bodas.net in February on Spanish couples who got married in 2020 or with an initial date in 2020 and postponed to 2021, more than half (55%) said that the current economic situation generated by the Covid-19 had not changed their initial budget. We remind you that the average cost of a wedding in Spain is €20,500, according to the Libro Imprescindible de las Bodas, written by Bodas.net in collaboration with Carles Torrecilla (professor at ESADE) and Google.
Will smaller, intimate weddings continue to boom?
The number of guests has had to be adjusted to the capacity limitations of each place and time. Even so, as far as the banquet is concerned, and taking into account that they are usually large and with outdoor facilities, as well as having qualified staff to ensure everyone’s health and safety, the adjustment of guests has not been so extensive. Of 1700 couples planning to marry between May 2021 and April 2022, 74% expect to have more than 76 guests at their wedding, with 50% believing they will have more than 100. The average number of guests at a wedding in Spain is 130, according to El Libro Imprescindible de las Bodas.
Despite capacity restrictions, couples still prefer weddings with many guests. Only 15% will be micro-weddings.
There is talk that there is a shift towards choosing other days of the week to make costs more economical, are you noticing this new trend?
The favourite day to get married is still Saturday, although the trend is for more and more weddings to take place during the week (Monday to Thursday), according to a study by The Knot Worldwidet. This is something that was already beginning to be seen in recent years, but which the current situation has precipitated by the readjustment of postponed marriages. This is undoubtedly a trend that will allow for more choice in the calendar.
This readjustment of dates has also meant that couples who have become engaged in recent months will have to set a wedding date for 2022, as the agenda will be very tight. As a consequence, if in previous years Spanish couples needed an average of 12 months to organise their wedding, now this preparation time is extended to 18-24 months. This extension in the organisational timing will allow couples to take much more care and spend more time on the details they want for their day.
Tell us a little more. As wedding experts, what do you see weddings looking like in 2022?
Fortunately, with the end of the state of alarm, the advance of vaccination and the predisposition of professionals and couples to adapt the links to the circumstances, the prospects are good for the coming months. According to the latest survey carried out by Bodas.net at the end of April among couples who have a wedding date for 2021, 8 out of 10 say that they will get married on the date set. Moreover, of these, 70% say they are sure or very sure that the wedding can take place on that day.
Everything suggests that weddings, although adapted to the circumstances, are back to stay.
Nothing is going to stop the desire to get married, despite the fact that there are going to be changes, both in terms of capacity, guests and the way of relating, everything points to 2022 being a very tight year in terms of dates and we are finally going to be able to make up for lost time. Here’s to the bride and groom!