Churches are considering allowing Sunday weddings to help clear a large backlog that has built up during lockdown.
Over 12,000 weddings have been postponed or cancelled in recent months do the pandemic.
Indoor gatherings of up to 100 people are expected to be permitted from July 20th; however, upcoming nuptials are likely to be very different to what we are used to.
On Lunchtime Live this afternoon, wedding planner Sharon McMeel said many weddings may take place outside of the traditionally popular months next year.
“What we are seeing is a huge amount of people have moved to say March of next year or April – the months that wouldn’t necessarily be big wedding months,” she said. “They are getting their Fridays and Saturdays in those months.
“Now we have the options of the Sunday which to some people would feel like a midweek date but if you can get the bank holiday weekends, it acts like a Friday or Saturday which is fantastic.”
She said social distancing will be the “biggest change” on the wedding scene in the coming months.
“Some venues are asking, if you have a guest who doesn’t drink maybe, to put them on dancefloor duties like the old days when the priest used to keep [people apart],” she said.
“The fact that venues can open and take 50 people or 100 people, whether that is indoors or outdoors is one thing but the actual social distancing is going to be the biggest and hardest thing for people to get used to.
“That will change the amount of people at a table; that will change whether you can have dancing or not – some venues are not permitting it. Others are permitting it but it will need to be spaced out, they might choose a bigger dancefloor area, things like that so you can give people space to enjoy the day but you are all spaced away from each other.”
She said one solution for couples may be to ask family members to self-isolate in the weeks before the big day.
“If your wedding is coming up and your family and friends want to have that with you, the solution may be for those people to be quarantining for those two weeks before your wedding,” she said.
“It’s not ideal but if you want to be able to come up with a solution for these problems, we are going to have to look at slightly different ways to doing things.”
Ms McMeel said couples will have decide if they are comfortable with doing things differently or would prefer to wait and see what happens with the pandemic.
“Depending on the couple, they won’t want to go ahead with it unless we are back to the stage where we can hug each other coming out of the ceremony; where we can congratulate each other properly, where we can do the Siege of Ennis across the dancefloor – all the good traditional moment we would have,” she said.
“Part of us is hoping that we will get back to that and that we will be able to get back to that soon and it will depend on all the things we are doing up until now, including travel,” she said.
“But part of us will have to maybe look at change. We will have to look and see is this something we will just have to accept? Will we either have to accept that we will have larger weddings with the social distancing element and think about how do we make that fun? How do we things differently?
“Or will we go more towards the smaller weddings where people are doing that at home now; they are doing smaller groups of family where they know the little clusters of family are COVID free so they are happy and comfortable with those people being together and being able to dance together and being able to hug and being able to enjoy what we are used to celebrating.”
You can listen back to the full interview here: