2020/21 Brides – A Letter From Our Hearts (Why We’re Not Going To Tell You What Your Wedding Has To Be Like)

Ideas

Darling readers,

We have absolutely no doubt that over the past few weeks, you’ve been reading content that’s all about telling you what your ‘new normal’ (sigh) wedding is going to be like. We’ve observed these suggestions and read through the articles and in response to this, we want to explain why we’re never going to tell you what your wedding has to be like, as we all attempt to move forward through this crisis and exit a lockdown with enforced social distance measures.

Firstly, it’s just not our place. Love My Dress has always been proud to showcase weddings of all styles. This won’t ever change. We’ve never told you want to do or how your wedding should/could look. Trends don’t interest us. Your wedding day is, and always will be yours to define and style in whatever way you want to.

Secondly, we’re acutely aware that we have a role and responsibility here at a time when brides, grooms and couples in their thousands are desperate for support, reassurance and guidance. Simply showcasing a raft of articles like ‘how to have a socially-distanced wedding in 2021’ – it isn’t helpful right now.

Whilst we acknowledge the sense of escapism that comes with browsing these blog pages – us publishing suggestions that offer more false hope and conjecture than they do realism, also aren’t useful at this sensitive time.  What’s useful is considered, well-thought out content that’s been sense-checked by experts, and not just created to fill gaps in a publishing schedule, or to boost traffic through lazy, click-bait inspired titles.  When we publish anything, we want you to know that our suggestions and ideas are possible, practical and can actually work going forwards – that we’ve considered the content and its impact and influence on you through the lens of compassion and empathy. We’re not here to tell you what your wedding has to, or could look like now, in our socially distanced world. Because it’s your wedding and only you get to decide how it’s going to look and indeed feel on the day.

Here’s something we can tell you however, an update on what we’ve been busy doing behind the scenes, all in an effort to help you get the wedding experience that each and every one of you deserve.

Earlier this month, we ran a survey in collaboration with Occasion Queens. The survey ran for 7 days (1st-8th June), and looked at ‘The Future of Weddings’. Initially we only shared it within our respective closed Facebook groups for brides, but in the final 2 days of the survey, we shared the link to Instagram. In all, we received 1339 considered and thoughtful responses from brides right across the UK. Over 560 of you took the time to share detailed feedback in the free text box at the end of the survey too. This has blown us away! We genuinely cannot thank you enough for the time and trust that you place in us. All of your comments have been read and we literally mean each and every single word. We’ve poured through every response this past (almost) two weeks – hours and hours of reading and absorbing it all. All of you have been listened to. Everything you told us is important and nothing at all has been ignored or overlooked.

This has been so valuable and thought provoking to have insights from so many couples in such a difficult situation. Thank you to the couples who gave their views and the team that worked so hard to collate and analyse to feed back to the industry. I really hope couples who didn’t feel supported previously, now feel like they are beginning to be heard. Ashleigh, Pink Palms

We’ve also held focus groups with a number of utterly amazing women whose weddings were/are still due to take place in 2020/21 – and who were happy to open up and tell us more, to let us question them about their plans. I have to be honest, it was pretty heart-breaking to hear some of the things these women had to say, but that uncomfortable level of work is critical at this time. So, so important. We need to stay informed so that we can help you in the best way possible. You see, it doesn’t matter what social distancing measures a wedding venue or supplier might put in place, or how stringent their COVID-19 secure policies are – if you, the bride, the couple cannot envisage your wedding taking place amidst these measures, then, there is no wedding. This work is vital and we are 100%, wholeheartedly committed, as are our many colleagues across the industry.

Brides, grooms, couples – we hear you. We are listening to everything you’re telling us. And we take our role as custodians of the information and insight you are sharing with us extremely seriously. Your views, and thoughts, your wishes and desires – they matter more than anything else. We carry this information with great care, and are sharing it with our colleagues in the industry in order to help them move forward as they work hard to recover from this crisis and prepare to host beautiful and magical celebrations full of joy once more; that’s venue owners, planners and stylists, photographers, designers, florists, caterers – and all and every other kind of  supplier that you can imagine.

Over the past week, we’ve shared the highlights from our recent survey with our industry colleagues, so that they can understand what is most important to you all right now, and act on this accordingly. In truth – a lot of what we had to pass on to our colleagues was hard for them to hear. They, we, you – we all want weddings back as soon as possible.

I want to say a huge thank you to Annabel, Tamryn and Nina for today’s presentation of the Survey results and data. What an eye opener it was in terms of really understanding what brides and couples are thinking, feeling, and experiencing right now as their wedding day dreams are being affected by the ongoing lockdown -and which through targeted and thoughtful questioning helps me as a supplier to really understand their pain points and all the ways they’re struggling with their situation. This survey has brought such clarity to me and I’m truly grateful that it was conducted in this honest and practical way. Yvonne Beck, Wedding Celebrant

But we hear loudly and very clearly that you all want ‘your’ wedding – the wedding you have been planning all along, the vision you’ve played out in your head ten hundred times already. Not a wedding that feels like a compromise or cop-out. Not a socially distanced wedding or ‘new normal’ wedding or post-COVID-19 wedding.

The Future Collective

Together with Nina Beer of Occasion Queens, we have established a group of passionate, talented and inspirational wedding suppliers to explore solutions. Collectively, we represent a team of creative and lateral thinkers and suppliers from every corner and aspect of the industry, from venues through to cake makers and everything in between.

We want to examine all possibilities that lie ahead and how these ideas can be safely and joyfully brought to life for you, so that when weddings can be held again, you can have full confidence in your day and experience all the joy you imagine your wedding day will bring. We’ve called this group of passionate and dedicated peeps, ‘The Future Collective’ – which is in its infancy right now, but you’ll be hearing much more from ‘TFC’ very soon.

Our survey results, that’s your feedback, views and concerns, will heavily influence how we move forward with TFC. We want you to feel confident about your plans and excited about your wedding. We know that’s so hard right now and we hate that you all find yourself in this situation of limbo and uncertainty. We understand that many of you are in the grieving process right now, perhaps without even realising it, as you adjust and respond to all the disruption that has and/or continues to mess with all your original carefully laid plans.

A Note on Grief

There are five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (Elisabeth Kubler Ross & David Kessler). It’s tough to look at those words and imagine ourselves as both brides, grooms, couples and business owners, being somewhere on that scale, but most likely, the vast majority of us are.

Everyone’s situation is unique, and our response as a media platform and industry needs to take that into account too, before we start churning out the guesswork and hypothetical ‘this is what your wedding is probably going to look like after coronavirus’ features.

So do not feel guilty in anyway for feeling grief, sadness, frustration, anger, fear and the whole gamut of emotions if you are facing postponement of your wedding. Your wedding matters, very, very much. We‘ve said it before and will say it again: weddings represent the very essence of everything we are missing right now; joy, celebration, family, friends, togetherness, hugs, kissing, closeness. But it’s about so much more than this too, like your hopes and dreams for starting a family being brought to an abrupt end, your plans to move house or get a new job or pay off debt being dashed. Perhaps for religious reasons, you need to be married in order to be physically able to live with one another – there are many other reasons why you might grieve for the loss of your wedding on the date you had planned it, this year. You have every right to grieve for these losses without any sense of guilt and our hearts go out to all and any of you impacted in this way.

Right now, we don’t know when weddings will restart. And we don’t know what weddings will look like when they do. This is gut-wrenchingly hard for all couples and wedding venues/suppliers alike.

What we do know, is that we’ll never tell you what your wedding has to be like.

It needs to be yours, plain and simple.

It is encouraging to hear that moving forward wedding can be approached as more of a discussion rather than a set of ‘what you can and can’t do rules’. Adeela Fethi, Fauxevermore

We’re not here to tell you what to do, we’re here to listen and talk

We at Love My Dress and Occasion Queens and everyone working in the wider industry, we want your wedding to be yours, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure that they are.

We will continue to listen and gather feedback from you, dear brides, grooms and couples, to feed into the incredible work being done by our industry to recover from this crisis and restore the joy and celebration we’re all missing. We’re here, we’re listening and we’re doing everything that we can to help. Please know that. And please know that the entire wedding industry is with us too.

So don’t expect any click-bait style articles or 2021 trend pieces from us anytime soon. Our jobs now are all about hearts and minds; listening, learning, encouraging confidence and exploring solutions together, from a 360 degree perspective – with your input being the most important input of all.

With love,

Annabel and Tamryn (Love My Dress) and Nina (Occasion Queens)

Annabel

Annabel
View all Annabel’s articles

Annabel is the founder of Love My Dress. She lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, two daughters Eska and Leanora and three dogs. She is passionate about photography, supporting women in business and in life, and is in her element being surrounded by nature and the countryside.

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