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Celebrity florist and designer, Larry Walshe, provides insights and expert guidance on post-pandemic weddings for couples finally able to plan their special day. It is no secret that the wedding industry has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, but as restrictions begin to ease, couples are now beginning to plan their much-anticipated weddings and are eager to say "I do!"
Typically, over 278,000 weddings take place in the UK each year, but with 90 percent of couples cancelling weddings scheduled for 2020, there's significant pent-up demand to tie the knot in 2021 and 2022. With little guidance or support given to the £14.7bn wedding industry, celebrity florist Larry Walshe, founder of luxury floral installation company Larry Walshe Studios, shares his expert thoughts on what weddings will look like from 21st June onwards, and how couples can ensure the celebration is one to remember.
"The green light for weddings is a definite cause for celebration after a really difficult year," says Larry. "You may have had to postpone your day (perhaps more than once) or cancel your celebration entirely. Maybe, you've fallen out of love with the idea of having a wedding, believing the pivotal moment of your relationship has lost its shine and excitement... Well, dust off that tiara, grab your vision board and get ready, because weddings are coming back in a big way!
"As a leading London wedding florist, we have spent years at Larry Walshe Studios helping to bring dream weddings to life. From designing wedding flowers, to curating mixed media sculptures and installations, interpreting every vision and creating emotive atmospheres in every conceivable location. But as we start to get back into wedding season, we're seeing couples choosing to celebrate their special day in new ways.
"One thing is for sure – smaller, more intimate weddings can be just as fabulous as bigger ones. It's all about bringing your style and flair to the day and working with suppliers that can recognise and achieve your vision."
Read on for Larry's expert insights and tips to help you plan the day of your dreams!
Consider a weekday wedding
With a backlog of around 250,000 couples awaiting to get hitched in 2021 & 2022, venues and suppliers are certain to be busier than ever, particularly on weekends. To avoid having to delay longer, weekday weddings are already on the up.
A positive of getting married on a weekday is that this may help to lower the venue cost, enabling you to go bigger in other areas such as food, favours or flowers, or enhance the guest experience by having a welcome party the night beforehand, a brunch the day after or simply an open bar for all to enjoy. After many months spent working from home, your guests will be delighted at the excitement of a midweek celebration! A chance to get together on a Thursday afternoon will hold just as much appeal as a big bash on a Saturday. You could even turn it into a long weekend.
Practically speaking, guests will need to take time off work and be proactive with sourcing suitable accommodation, so make it easy for invitees and give them as much notice as possible.
Out of season weddings are just as special
With summer weekend weddings booking up fast, dates in autumn, winter and early spring might be a better choice for availability.
These seasons can provide an equally beautiful setting as a summer wedding. Sure, if you had dreamed of dining al-fresco, a winter wedding may not be the best choice, however, wedding suppliers are very creative and will come up with a range of ways in which you can adapt any initial ideas to work for a different season.
Many flowers are available year-round, so if you fancy a light and romantic look, this is totally possible in November, just as it is in June. Autumn and winter are also host to some of the most beautiful flower varieties, including dahlias and hydrangeas.
There are many styling options to reflect seasonality, so don't jump straight to a summer-only wedding. Yes, you'll need to consider layering up your wedding outfits, bringing in some outdoor heaters or cosy blankets for guests, but autumn and winter weddings can be breathtaking when done right.
And although the weather may not always be on your side, early spring is an ideal option as far as wedding flowers go, with a rainbow of colours and textures at your disposal - think ranunculus, anemones, tulips, lilacs and scabiosa. Gorgeous!
We adore intimate weddings
Micro-weddings have been the only option for those not willing to wait to get wed, however, these intimate events can be just as special as larger weddings and we predict that their popularity will grow over the coming months and years, regardless of the easing of restrictions.
If you aren't sure about welcoming hordes of guests to your celebration just yet, why not have a small and intimate celebration? Just because it is small, does not mean it can't be utterly beautiful.
Some of my favourite weddings have been those of between 20-50 guests. There is something especially meaningful about a small celebration, as you know that your contribution as a designer and wedding supplier means so much.
Having a small guest list tends to mean less money spent on a big venue, so this is your chance to go big on lavish decorations and special touches to really make the day unique to you. It's an opportunity to curate an extraordinary experience that will be just as memorable (and instagrammable!), if not more special than a larger celebration.
Navigate the wedding web with a wedding planner
Are you unsure where to start with your wedding? Have you struggled to liaise with suppliers during lockdown? Unsure which suppliers are still working and/or available? Our number one answer for all of these questions is... hire a wedding planner!
Wedding planners are professionals in their field. From navigating suppliers, making recommendations as to what is best suited to your budget and style, to negotiating contracts and handing all the logistics, this will be the best money you will ever spend. Of course, you still need to participate, but they will take the boring 'wed-min' away to allow you to really enjoy the process.
It's important to have a trusting, positive relationship with your chosen suppliers. They should be giving you fabulous service and if they aren't, move on to someone new. Make sure you feel an affinity with everyone; from the photographer, florist and videographer, right through to the celebrant and your wedding planner. If you fully understand each other, you will get the best result.
Consider sustainability & go paperless
Eco-conscious weddings are no longer niche, and many suppliers cater to non-plastic and paperless needs. This should extend to flowers as well, so ensure these are sustainably sourced and preferably grown in the UK or Europe to minimise the impact on the environment. Quality over quantity, supporting local businesses, and choosing non-plastic options will help ensure your wedding isn't harming the planet. The green wedding and wellness wedding trends have gathered huge pace in recent years, with couples looking for biodegradable confetti, foam-free florals, ethical fabrics and checking suppliers' eco credentials before booking.
Get started now!
If you have spent the last 14 months filling up your vision board and are unsure about how to start – just do it! You and your guests deserve a celebration after all that the past year has thrown at us. Now, more than ever, we have realised the importance of family, friends and celebrating with those we love, so embrace it, design generously, and dance the night away with gay abandon!
For more information about Larry Walshe Studios, visit www.larrywalshe.com