Wedding Tips - How to Plan Your 2021 Wedding With Confidence

Caroline Langham

By CAROLINE LANGHAM

Weddings can go ahead in 2021

At last, there may be glimmers of hope on the horizon for weddings in 2021. We have been in a state of uncertainty for far too long now; that makes wedding planning virtually impossible and creates a very stressful and challenging time for you. I know that many couples have already postponed their weddings at least once and some multiple times. Although you desperately wish to be married this year, you are understandably nervous and therefore reluctant to start your wedding planning again.
This blog aims to give you tips and ideas on how to plan your 2021 wedding with confidence in a step by step way that reduces the risk of having to scale down plans at a later stage.

Guests seated at a Covid Secure Wedding Venue wearing face masks and socially distant

Build me up buttercup

In the words of one of my favourite songs, we are going to build you up!
Boris made his announcement on 22 February unlocking weddings fully from 21 June. This is wonderful news, but has been met with a certian degree of sceptiscism in the indurstry – Not surprising oyu might say after the track record we saw in 2020, with U-turns and indecision making wedding planning a nightmare to navigate. 

Now we are looking at ways to plan your 2021 wedding with confidence and hopefully helping get your 2021 wedding planning back on track.

If nothing else, it just feels better giving you an element of control with exact parameters that can address those what-ifs in a practical step by step manner.

Guests waiting for the wedding ceremony sitting in household bubbles in a Covid-Secure Wedidng Venue in the Lakes

Setting your parameters

Ask yourself honestly, what kind of wedding are you looking for. There is a marked difference between getting married, and having a “wedding”. 
The emphasis here, meaning the wedding being the big party celebration with lots of friends, family even colleagues. 

Many couples have now refocused their expectations inline with more modest events, as they have come to the conclusion that getting married is what is important for them. Given that we can now plan along with the re-opening dates announced by the Governemnt – see our recent Coronavirus blog for dates, most couples have already scaled down their expectations and their plans along with them. 

The Wedding Industry is now seeing a scarcity in Venue availability as couples are desperately trying to postpone or re-book  dates for after 21 June. As many venues had already postponed all of their 2020 wedding to 2021 and 2022, and with the 6 months of 2021 already not feasible for large weddings there is a marked shortage of venues, meaning that couples are having to book well into 2023 and 2024 now. 
This is seeing a marked rise in couples looking for smaller more intimate wedding venues, scaling back the numbers but upping the luxury elements.

Table Setting in a wedding barn with warm glowing candlelight and fairy light tablescape

planning your 2021 wedding with confidence

How can you book a wedding now when we are still in lockdown?

We have designed a framework for couples to build their wedding in segments, allowing flexibility to add numbers and elements to your wedding style and size as governments’ restrictions lift. Remebering that the announcmenets are only a plan – We are still faced with the possibility that the planned dates for re-opening may shift once more. So always remain flexible.

How can we build back confidence, you ask?

It is important to talk honestly about your feelings, set realistic parameters, and be prepared to re-align your expectations if again if restrictions tighten agiain. 

Ask yourself, what do YOU want? Many pressures are placed on couples by those around them. If that is oyu then take this as the perfect opportunity to pare it back! 

However, if the BIG wedding is what you want, and there can be no compromise, you will be far better planning your wedding for 2022 and beyond, when hopefully there will be no restrictions to scupper your plans again.

Bride and Groom standing in the Tudor porch at Cote How Lake District Wedding Venue in Rydal

What will make or Break Your Wedding for You?

Let’s start with your desired wedding – What is your ideal scenario? How many guests are you happy to go ahead with? How long do you want it to last? What is Your Tipping Point? When does it become a “deal-breaker”?
Are you prepared to embrace all the restrictions such as social distancing, face masks, household bubbles? 

Apply this logic to all the aspects listed below…

1 Guest Numbers:  In 2020, as weddings were allowed again, they grew from 6 to 15 and eventually to 30, before being reduced late autumn to 15 again. At this time we were, of course, inundated with elopement weddings and outdoor weddings.
In 2021, with better testing and vaccinations, we forecast that plans may get bigger faster, perhaps starting by Easter, and we were correct! 
We can offer elopements form 28 March, small weddings for 15 from 12 April and larger ones from 17 May! 

2 The style of your wedding: Are you happy to have only the legal ceremony, with a few photographs in the grounds. Or do you have your heart set a reception with food and drinks? We offer some amazing simple romance options where you can come to our secure venue for a two-hour wedding then celebrate with family and friends elsewhere.  Please read all about our Lake District Wedding Styles here.

3 Your Wedding Budget: there should be no stigma attached to this question – Be honest about it – It’s not about how rich you are; it’s about how much you want to spend. Bearing in mind, you may already be under more financial strains than usual. It’s ok to keep it low-budget! You may want to blow it on a honeymoon – Totally understandable! 

4 Ideal Date: Do you have fixed ideas regarding the seasons? Does the thought of an off-peak date fill you with gloom, or are you relaxed about this? This is particularly important as dates are going to be rare in 2021… 

A Guides for Brides’ recent survey shows that of the 280,000 weddings booked in 2020, 95% either cancelled or postponed their weddings. 2021 already has 475,000 weddings booked – 196,500 were postponed from 2020. 

Don’t dismiss other seasons against summer. Spring and autumn can often be more stable weather-wise than mid-summer, have more vibrant colours for your photos. More accommodation for your guests. Winter also offers its own uniqueness with crisp, clear days and cosy fires or romantic snow scenes.

White Lake District Farmhouse Wedding Venue with outdoor wrought iron tables and chairs for drinks reception

Our 2021 Flexible Booking Plan

Like many people, we followed every piece of media, Government guidance, blog, wedding directory and venue support group for the last 9 months. We now consider ourselves as being pretty good at reviewing Rules and Guidance, interpreting press leaks, and the subsequent changes it brings about the following day or week.

Wedding Planning Questions:

  • Start with your smallest guest list – this is how low you will go.
  • If small is too small, perhaps consider delaying until late summer or 2022.
  • Have in mind how you would increase guest numbers (if you wish) in stages
  • Think about what is important to you. You could increase the scope of your wedding (add food, drinks, more luxury) rather than more people.
  • Work with your venue. Commit in stages to limit change and committed money.
  • Remember that your venue has no control over imposed changes.

As wedding restrictions lift, talk to your venue, here at Cote How we are adding more numbers up to our venue maximum. We will review this with you and make any adjustments up to 8 weeks before your wedding date. Only then will we request any additional payments for your changes. 

Outdoor wedding picnic for two
Outdoor wedding picnic for two - Photo Simon Hughes

Our mutual promise to each other

Both the venue and the couple agree that the ceremony will go ahead on that date if it can, regardless of whether the reception part (food and drink) can go ahead. This way, the venue is not losing the booking, and the couple gains a more flexible wedding with less stress and more certainty of getting married.

If we set off with the mindset that your wedding will go ahead, as restrictions ease you may get the bonus of adding extra enhancements to your day (if you wish, of course). This is a much more positive approach, bringing less stress and worry and gives you greater financial peace of mind.
What about time to organise? We firmly believe that if you want something to happen badly enough, then it will happen. Four weeks is ample time to sort things if your wedding expands and anything that doesn’t fit in this timescale probably won’t make a difference to your day.
By moving forward in this way, we are making a promise to each other. Your venue gets certainty that your wedding will go ahead, enabling the business to operate effectively. You enter into your wedding journey with expectations aligned and what is permissible, with the opportunity to enhance your day as restrictions unfold.

You make a staged financial commitment that brings greater peace of mind in uncertain times.

Bride and Groom with yew trees behind them in the driveway of Cote How in the Lakes after their Covid wedding in 2020

HOW TO BOOK your wedding WITH CONFIDENCE

Planning and booking may seem impossible during Lockdown, but it is vitally important that you get ahead of the crowds when it comes to securing your ideal venue. Remember it takes time to do the official paperwork and notices. (Min 30 days)

As we have mentioned already, dates and venues will be snapped up quickly. So if you have decided that you do want to marry this year here is the best thing to do:

  1. Find your perfect venue. We wrote a blog about this that may help – How to Find the Perfect  Small Wedding Venue
  2. Ask for a virtual tour and chat – Decide the parameters discussed above. Min and Max etc
  3. Ask about Covid policies and booking fees – We have amended ours to allow for smaller “holding fees” pending show rounds in person which we will resume from 12th April when it is safer to travel.
  4. Ask about the cost of “holding” this date.
  5. Get in touch with the registrars who will perform the ceremony and book that now. Your venue will advise on the ceremony time required.
    Our handy blog – How to Book Your Wedding may help here.
  6. Book your “Notice to Marry” This is vital, and can only be done in person at your LOCAL registry office. You also need to have BOOKED your venue as all this information is taken at the interview. Handy PDF here
  7. Arrange your “in-person” tour at your venue when possible – Book a Show Round
  8. Complete your venue booking and pay the remainder of the booking fee once happy with the plans. 
 
Bride and Groom seated at their wedding breakfast in a slate wedding barn with a window, flowers and soft lighting

want to know more?

Of course, many other questions may need addressing, and they are probably best answered on a chat face to face.
If you would like a show round or a quick chat with me to go over your story so far and we can discuss how to plan your 2021 wedding with confidence. Start by making a simple online enquiry here

White house and slate Wedding Barn at Cote How in The Lakes

More information...

Thank you, I salute you for reading to the end of this rather long blog. If you found it helpful or know someone who would benefit from it, please tag and share it.

If you have enjoyed reading it that’s fab, thank you, but please let me know in the comments below. 

You may also find these blogs useful:
Ten Ways to Plan an Amazing Covid Wedding
How to Plan the Perfect Small Wedding
How to COVID Proof Your Wedding

Bride and Groom by the River side of the Rothay River next to Cote How Lake District weddings
White Historic Farmhouse wedding Venue with Nab Scar mountain behind it
Canapes and Proseeco toast set out in household bubbles in Covid-Secure Wedding Venue
Outdoor seating barn wedding at Cote How in the Lake District

PLANNING YOUR 2021 WEDDING WITH CONFIDENCE

PLANNING YOUR 2021 WEDDING WITH CONFIDENCE

Venue: @cotehowlakedistrictweddings
Guides for Brides Article: Covid-19 When will wedding returns to normal?
Photography By: Rachael Joyce
Featuring Couples married here in 2020:
Rosie and Sam
Jayne and Chris
Flowers by: Lily Lou’s
Charcuterie: The Stonehouse Smokery

plan your 2021 wedding with confidence
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