If you’re of a certain age (the millennial sort), it’s likely your 2021 summer schedule is jammed full of rearranged weddings, hen dos and stag dos that the coronavirus pandemic did its best to ruin. In a lot of instances, you’ll notice these events have been significantly downsized – your mate’s mega stag weekend in Krakow is now an all-day affair in Manchester, or the girl who’d always dreamed of a big wedding has moved her exotic nuptials in Santorini to a much more intimate affair back home.
The question is, has the coronavirus and lockdown palaver really ruined these “downgraded” wedding events at all? As we step back towards normality, we’re likely to see the concept of the small wedding not only stick around but do so en masse. There are several key reasons why.
The cost can’t be ignored
Money shouldn’t matter when it comes to love, but it certainly does when it comes to weddings. Money Saving Expert reports the average cost of a wedding in the UK is currently around £18,000-£32,000, a truly staggering figure that begs the question: how on earth do people – many of whom earn less than that a year – afford it?
The answer lies in a number of key areas, namely some debt, parental help and long-term, careful budgeting. Even with the best financial approach in the world, the cost of a grand (or even fairly modest) celebration is tough to stomach. But it has to be done, right?
That seemed to be the mentality for most engaged couples in the UK until a certain global crisis forced them into emergency action. Instead of delaying a grandiose event until a later date, many couples plumped for a £500 celebration rather than a £50,000 one and found that they still had an amazing day – and £49,500 more to spend on the rest of their lives.
The forced adoption of the smaller wedding has opened many people’s eyes to the reality of the wedding industry all along – that we’ve been forced to overpay by the bucketload for a day that can be replicated with virtually zero material investment. Because of that, many won’t return to the debt-ridden norm of larger marriage celebrations.
They are malleable
Big weddings come with expectations, traditions and assumptions, not to mention tight booking windows and services attached. If you need to make changes, they’re either impossible or expensive to put in place, and it can be tough to truly put your own stamp on an event that largely relies on the planning and skill of others.
Small weddings come with fewer strings attached, less fuss, less formality and less restriction. If you want to make it a certain crazy theme, you can do easily. If you need to make last-minute changes, they’re much simpler to implement. If you need to cancel the whole thing and rearrange, suddenly it becomes financially viable to do so.
This versatility and flexibility should not be underestimated, and for those who want to let their creativity run free on their wedding day, there’s no better blank canvas than a small celebration.
An intimate occasion
It’s easy to get swept up with what a wedding should be, and that can lead you to build an event based on expectations rather than what you want. One of the common themes of a big wedding is loads of guests – everyone from your ex-boss to your third-to-last ex gets an invite to the reception, but how much do you honestly benefit from having them there? The answer is probably not much, and the sentimental truth of a good wedding day is that it’s best shared with the people who mean the most to you and have helped you get where you are now.
A small wedding allows you to create this more intimate setting guilt-free and comes with a whole lot less responsibility than if you were planning the catering for 300 people. That makes the build-up easier and the big day likely more special, so what’s not to like?
A small wedding isn’t for everyone. If you still dream of that fairy-tale day with hundreds of eyes on you and your partner, there’s certainly nothing to say you shouldn’t go ahead and make that celebration a reality. What we have seen in the past year, however, and will continue to see in the next few, is that small weddings are for a lot more people than previously thought – for a variety of very good reasons.