Has UK wedding planning changed forever?

The pandemic brought many industries to a complete standstill, with the wedding market suffering enormously. Three years on and the wedding industry is thriving again, yet the way couples plan for their big day looks a whole lot different.

Going in and out of lockdown meant that the wedding industry took a huge hit. And when weddings were allowed, the guidelines put in place were baffling at times, to say the least. Fast-forward three years, the wedding industry is back to business as usual. However, Poptop have been doing their research, unveiling data suggesting that the way couples plan their nuptials has completely changed.

A rise in last-minute bookings

Poptop, a renowned UK party planning platform, showcased data displaying changes in how people are planning weddings now that we’re in the aftermath of the pandemic, and in the thick of the cost-of-living crisis. They discovered that couples are now booking entertainment and catering much later than couples did previously, with data showing that bookings with 3 months (and even less) lead time are up 44%. When you learn that organising a wedding typically kept to a lead time of 12 months and above prior to the dreaded C-word, 44% seems a pretty big shift.

How planning for the future has changed forever

The pandemic saw drastic changes, and the wedding industry didn’t exactly have it easy. For the past two years, wedding suppliers have been playing catch up – finally honouring bookings originally made for 2020 and early 2021.

After many postponements came an emergence in couples reluctant to plan anything too far ahead through fear of the unpredictability that lockdowns brought. And now we seem to be over the worst of it all, this newfound approach appears to have been instilled into engaged couples looking to get married. So, how does this impact suppliers?
Well, it means that suppliers, who would normally have dates in their diaries booked out years in advance, are now available for bookings made last-minute. Because of this, couples planning to tie the knot are fully taking advantage of this and organising elements of their wedding at the eleventh hour.

A seismic shift for suppliers

The cost-of-living crisis has also had a substantial effect on the types of weddings that people are planning. Hitched, a site dedicated solely to weddings, highlighted that the amount of money spent on weddings in the UK alone has risen 6% compared to 2021, and is expected to increase even more this year. Rising living costs combined with the cost of planning a wedding means that many couples are now opting for a more intimate, low-key event to make the most out of their budget.
We’re now seeing an increase in couples who are choosing to exchange their vows at home, secluded gardens, and rented holiday homes, eradicating the need to book a venue way ahead of time. By cutting back on lead time, couples can expect to save a lot more money – which is music to many people’s ears. Long lead times are still very much going to be a thing for couples wanting a grander event, however, there’s undoubtedly a visible shift in wedding trends.

The impact of technology within the industry

The ever-decreasing lead time could also potentially be down to how suppliers are being booked. Companies such as Poptop and its ‘instant quote’ feature are making bookings more seamless than ever. Couples can now view a wide range of entertainment available within their area, as well as arrange catering and drinks packages offering exceptional services all at the last-minute.
In a post-COVID world, wedding planning has certainly undergone a revamp, however, there’s been no change in the people’s desire to celebrate a marriage. That wish remains the same – and rightly so! The change in lead time may mean that suppliers have much less notice for booking, but there’s certainly no shortage of business with so many couples out there who are wanting to plan their big day.

There’s no denying that the chaos that lockdowns brought on the wedding sector – but whilst we expected to see cancellation after cancellation, what we actually got was a wave of postponements that pushed plans into 2021 and 2022. In the aftermath of all this, event planning seems to be changing significantly – even huge life events like weddings are being organised more spontaneously than before. This represents a pretty momentous change to the wedding market, but these changes were arguably overdue. No other events sector retains such a long lead time, technology like Poptop’s has changed that, so it’s healthy to see wedding planning following the rest of the party planning industry in planning later than it used to.
Eugene Shestopal – CEO, Poptop


Our goal at Poptop, is to make an event the best that it can be. We’ve teamed up with some of the UK’s most renowned suppliers, inspiring event-planners with exceptional experiences and high-end services. We have a unique ‘Live Pricing & Availability’ feature that enables a simple and stress-free process for anyone looking to organise weddings, parties, or corporate functions. So far, Poptop has helped to plan over 85k events – making us one of the UK’s biggest party planning platforms.