In the wake of the global pandemic, Emma Deeley, Owner at wedding venue The Tythe Barn in Oxfordshire, shares her tips to future-proof your wedding day.
For many couples, the current pandemic has meant that the wedding they’ve spent the last year or so planning has had to be postponed until next year, or potentially even the year after that. With little certainty around what the long-term impact of the pandemic might be, getting to grips with what weddings might look like in a post-lockdown world is cloudy at best. Brides and grooms around the country are echoing the same sentiments having spent the past months or years committing their time and money to an occasion that was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives. How do you even begin to plan a wedding when we have no idea what weddings might look like in the coming years? Emma Deeley, Owner at wedding venue The Tythe Barn in Launton, Oxfordshire, gives her advice on how to future-proof your wedding for when that day does come.
How to Future-Proof Your Wedding
‘Corona-proofing’ Your Big Day
Before you even begin to think about anything else – get wedding insurance. It doesn’t have to cost the world, but the peace of mind it will give you if anything were to happen will be invaluable. Next, make sure the team you have around you are trustworthy and experienced in their relevant fields. Having a well-connected wedding planner on board will be incredibly helpful in navigating through any potential bumps in the road should they come.
At least some form of social distancing at weddings may be in place for a while, so a key question to be asking your venue is what safety checks they have in place and how they plan to accommodate your guests, along with ensuring that they have solid risk assessments and procedures in place. If you’re yet to book your venue, we’d recommend choosing one that has a large room that can let fresh air circulate throughout the day and with lots of easily accessible outdoor space to allow the wedding party to spread out across the whole day.
Other areas of your wedding are likely to look a little different in the coming years too. We can safely say goodbye to the trend for grazing boards and sharing platters, with individual sit-down meals likely to become favourable once again. 100+ people dancing the conga around the room is also not likely to be a sight that we’ll see for some time. Instead, start to think about unique ways that you can get everyone involved safely, and be conscious of the fact that certain guests may feel slightly uneasy about being in a larger group. Have those conversations early on with your family and friends about what you can do to ensure they feel safe and positive about the experience.
Read More: The Post-Lockdown Wedding Rules
Re-Assess Your Budget
It’s no secret that we’re in a very unstable economic climate at the moment, with many suppliers having been put out of work completely over the last few months. If your wedding has been postponed for a year or two, don’t assume that your suppliers will be able to afford to charge the same rate they did in 2020. With costs likely to rise with inflation in the coming year or two, ensure that you’ve accommodated for this in your budget.
That being said, this is a great time to focus internally and look to your overall budget – have you as a couple been hit financially over this period, or have you found yourselves able to save more money than you would have normally? If you’ve landed yourself in the lucky position of having more money to spend, think about what areas of your wedding you may now be able to afford going the extra mile on. We’d suggest investing in a great photographer and videographer to capture the day and refocusing on your flowers. Going the extra mile to get the next level in suppliers can make the world of difference. Spend time doing your research and find someone who completely understands your vision and is able to bring it all together.
On the opposite side to this, if you’re looking to make your day more budget friendly, rather than hire in a stylist, why not use your time to style your tables yourself and get immersed in the world of crockery, cutlery, linens and favours? These seemingly little styling details can play a huge role in creating a setting that your guests will never forget, especially now at a time where we’re all longing for the day that we’ll be able to share a table with all of our friends and family together at once. Make that moment as special as it can be.
Don’t Fret About Wedding Trends
Our one tip on wedding trends? Go with your gut. If you’d been planning your perfect wedding for this year and have now postponed, sit down and think about whether the pampas grass you’d been dreaming about will still have the same impact in a year or two. This is especially key for couples who may have had to move their wedding to a different season in the year – those coral peonies you had your heart set on won’t be in season come winter, so our advice would be to just start with the two of you. Explore your personal styles and what you love to do together and build from there. Trends will always come and go, but there’s nothing we love more than hosting a wedding that is purely authentic and personal to the individual couple.
Don’t force something into a space that just won’t work either. If your venue is a contemporary barn, bringing in crystal chandeliers is likely to jar and feel out of place. So if you’re feeling unsure of where to start when thinking of your décor, begin with your venue and plan outwards from there. Your venue coordinator will have loads of ideas, so utilise them – it’s what they’re there for after all.
Think About Sustainability
As we’re all becoming more and more sustainable in our day to day lives, you can and should extend this mantra to your wedding plans too. Now more than ever it’s important to champion your local suppliers and small businesses. Ask your florist about seasonal, British grown flowers, or ask your local garden centre to give you some advice on how you might go about growing your own now that you have a little extra time to plan. These practices should all be second nature to your suppliers by now, so they should be very willing to offer you their best advice.
Take a leaf out of Princess Beatrice’s book and dig out your mum/grandma/sisters wedding dress and see how you can tailor it to your personal style rather than buying a brand new dress off the rack. Style your tables with crockery/ornaments from home to make your venue feel more personal or have a chat with your florist about repurposing your flowers throughout the day – this is a simple but great trick to maximise impact whilst making your budget go further.
Embrace The Change
Above all, our advice to couples is to be flexible. We’ve already seen a surge in mid-week and winter weddings owing to the backlog of weddings having to be postponed, and we’re reassuring couples on a daily basis concerned about how this has impacted plans for their big day. Many couples are already beginning to scale back their 2021 weddings to numbers between 20-30 for a more intimate day that’s centred around the couple, booking in for a larger celebration on the following anniversary when it’s hoped the limits on social engagements will no longer be an issue.
We’ve also seen lots of couples opting for outdoor weddings over enclosed spaces where guests can be spread out should they need to, so look for venues that can offer both and will allow you to make an informed decision closer to your date.
Try to look at this time as positive in having more time to spend with your partner and focus on putting all those special details together. This experience if anything should allow you to prioritise why it is you’re getting married in the first place, and focus a little more on what’s really important to you both. The rest will fall in to place.