I was reading an article in BRIDES magazine about wedding trends to keep and ditch in 2020 but I have come to thinking – hey, lets just ditch 2020, never mind the trends!
The wedding and events industry is suffering a major slowdown and there isn’t one supplier category that is struggling more than the other, everyone is feeling the impact.
Over the past weeks we have been chatting with many wedding and events industry folk and here’s the thing – it’s really TOUGH out there right now and many, many people are wondering when the ban on gatherings will be lifted and if it lasts much longer how many event related businesses will survive?
In an effort to support friends and colleagues in this wonderful industry we took to social media and shared some names of businesses and people we admire and love to work with. From marquee companies, florists and planners, we wanted to send out the message that it’s not just us doing a grand job (all the tooting of one’s own horn on social media really does get my goat sometimes) and that amazing events are created by lots of businesses working together, it’s a combined effort of many talents that make your events beautiful.
Our social media shout-out felt like a good thing to do and there was a little flurry of sharing and re-posting amongst some suppliers and we got to know about a few new businesses I hadn’t heard of or worked with before, which was great.
So while we are all in this together, everyone is outwardly keeping their chins-up and there is a lot of support between venues and suppliers there is no doubt that many smaller businesses are starting to feel the strain.
After the latest announcement on Sunday 10th May which brought about another wave of postponed events for July and August 2020 it can feel pretty uncomfortable as there are no answers and we are all in a holding pattern waiting for word that it’s safe to gather again. It’s disappointing for people who need to rework their events and it’s damaging to businesses who rely on events for income.
The pandemic is also creating a surge of events that will be pushed to later in 2020 and into 2021. This creates a huge demand on both suppliers and venues with the onus to do the right thing falling on suppliers to help clients who have been forced to cancel, many businesses are giving up significant future income to ensure that those clients have the wedding or party they dreamed of. In addition as weekend dates for 2021 are limited we will see weekday events taking place more frequently than before. This brings about the fear of how we will cope post C-19 trying to cram as much as we can into next year and stay sane!
The challenges are many, so what lies ahead? Do we have permission to dream that our industry will fall back on its feet? You bet! Connecting and gathering with friends and family will become high priority and the chance to celebrate will be grabbed with open arms.
2021 is looking set to be a bumper year for weddings and events. There is already talk of more people ‘Buying British’. Hitched say ‘we’re going to see more couples choose to support the UK’s phenomenal network of suppliers, bridal boutiques and independent businesses with their hard-earned money’. This is great news for small independent UK suppliers.
For me though the biggest positive has been reconnecting with the passion for Virginias Vintage Hire and finding my ‘flow’ once again. I recently read about the psychology of flow in a blog post by the magician Steve Faulkner (read here) I am not an amateur magician but a keen horsewoman and I was directed to this post by a friend of mine who felt the post would resonate with those of us interested in the possibility of accessing a state of flow through interactions with our horses. As I read the post it did absolutely make me realise that time with my horses would give me the chance to experience this but that also my work had given me and could give me the opportunity again to experience the ‘achievement of a perfect state of happiness’.
What I realised as I read was that the over the past few years we have bowled from one crazy events season into another with a short breather, perhaps a rushed holiday squeezed in without a pause or a reflection and that running our business had become just a practical application. Now with this time we can connect with the magic again, remember what it was about this business that made us give up good jobs and the security of regular income. This time has given us the chance to brainstorm new ideas, become more knowledgeable about what our clients are looking for, improve our stock, tweak our website, get EXCITED about the next busy season and go about creating a customer experience that is more than just hiring out tables and chairs. We have been reminded that we are hugely privileged to be chosen suppliers for so many personal events. The weddings, birthday parties, bar-mitzvahs and festivals will hold special memories for our clients and the fact that they chose us to represent their taste, style and ideas was an honour, not just another job to get done.
So this downturn in our business does not mean at all that we are going to give up on everything we have built and love. Our business is about who we are, it is our passion and I’m positive that we will return, better than ever before.