Sequel weddings are on the rise - and its not couples who have been married once, twice or three times before after finding the right time to get engaged again.
According to Hitched, 71% of couples that planned to marry in 2020 have postponed to a later date due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
Often, there are major financial implications, a cut in vendors and a reduction in the guest list as attendees can no longer be present.
And friends and family who might be struggling to offer the best support, so relationship expert Zoe Williams, from health and wellness brand Gearhungry, has given her tips on what NOT to say to the stressed couple...
Among the top 'no-no's' are exclaiming how expensive weddings are, telling the couple they will now have more time to plan or asking if the nuptials will now take place on a weekday.
Zoe said: "In the current climate, postponing your wedding does not fully resolve the problems that Covid-19 has caused. Whether the wedding hosts are continually forced to reduce their guest list, implement social distancing measures or purchase products such as face coverings in order to ensure that the ceremony abides by new laws, many couples still fear the sudden implementation of further restrictions or even cancelling the event."
To be as supportive as possible, Zoe warns NOT to say these eight things and gives her reasons why...
ONE: '2 celebrations? Which one is the real wedding?'
A sequel wedding consists of a couple hosting a small ceremony that aligns with government guidelines, seeing that they have a limited guest list. A later ceremony is then held followed by a traditional reception. For many, the initial ceremony is an ‘admin day’, and their wedding is the sequel event.
"Postponing a wedding is not as easy as simply altering a date, especially if deposits and in some cases, final payments have already been made’, said Zoe. "Some couples are facing additional costs, vendors that can not commit to their new date and in worst cases, vendors that will not survive the events of 2020. For some, hosting two celebrations is the most financially viable option. All couples will view their celebrations as their ‘real’ wedding as they will hold equal significance."
She warned: "Reframe from asking questions that insinuate one ceremony must be more important than the other, as the presence of their loved ones will be the most important."
Initially, couples that postponed their nuptials to the first half of 2021 were confident that they would go ahead with smaller limitations, however, with a national lockdown extending to December with not many things to do, many are concerned.
On top of this, there is an added demand for 2022 weddings - with many postponed ones to be held alongside sequels and originals, with many venues fully booked up.
As a result, many couples are forced to postpone their nuptials until 2022.
Zoe warned, "Asking why a couple has postponed their nuptials so far in advance is a sure-fire way to rub salt in the wound. It is not a decision that anyone will have taken lightly and a lot of the time, is something that they have been forced into due to venue availability and vendors prior commitments. If you are available to attend the couples new date, state that you will be there straight away, it is the best response you can give to a couple."
THREE: 'At least you can plan more'
Zoe wants to deter people from reassuring the couple that their day will be even better now there is more time.
She explained: "It is always said with the best intentions however, people neglect to consider the planning that goes into a wedding and the endless hours the couple has already spent preparing…for a date that is no longer theirs.
She added: "Most of the time, a couple does not need more time to plan, so such words can serve to be meaningless."
FOUR: ‘That’s a shame, I have booked a hotel and organized childcare’
While rescheduled weddings can cause a lot of headache and financial implications to change your plans - from hotel reservations, transport and time booked off work, Zoe has warned against making these inconveniences public.
She said, "Declaring that the rescheduled event has inconvenienced you is not only inconsiderate but incredibly short sighted. The likelihood is that the wedding hosts have lost 100s, if not 1000s of pounds."
Many couples will already know the financial implications of changing the date and Zoe stressed: "Suspending plans may affect you, but in the grand scheme of things, it is minor."
FIVE: ‘Oh, is it a weekday wedding now?’
Attending a wedding is exciting, especially if it's held on a weekend - with no work commitments to worry about with the post-wedding wine hangover.
But if your of the age where all your friends are getting married, some find wedding invites suddenly eating up their annual leave. But if couples are forced to pick a weekday / mid-week celebration, chances are it wasn't their choice.
Zoe explained: "It can feel like your annual leaves sole purpose is so you can attend wedding related celebrations. A lot of the devastation that surrounds delaying a wedding is that a lot of choice is removed from the couple’s hands. With a lot of venue calendars fully booked, couples are securing the only date that is offered to them. Try to be sympathetic to the situation and if you are not able to attend, let the couple know ASAP."
SIX: 'Will you postpone again?'
With uncertainty surrounding 2021 and even in the years to come, asking a couple if their wedding plans will be postponed again is like asking them to predict the future.
Zoe advised: "Postponing a wedding fills a couple with dread, the idea of postponing multiple times is their worst-case scenario. When a couple gives you a date, treat it as a definite. It is unlikely that couples will have back up dates and the idea of such will add additional stress."
SEVEN: ‘At least you can save money, weddings are too expensive anyway’
The worst statement to make in response to hearing a wedding has been postponed is this one. Zoe explained: "Many couples have incurred further costs that they have not accounted for in their initial budgeting and in some cases, even lost deposits. Even the most financially cautious of couples are finding that their insurance does not cover government enforced restrictions or global crisis."
Taking time out to respond to a change the date notice - whether it's a handwritten note, email or quick-fire text - is not only polite, but the best reaction you can have to the news - as a wall of silence will only fill a couple with dread.
Zoe said: "Many couples biggest fear as that guests will no longer attend their nuptials and not feel excited about the date. Not responding to their notification is likely to fuel their anxiety. Ultimately, the greatest reaction you can have to a postponed date is one of positivity and excitement."
Hopefully weddings will be able to resume in the not so distant future in the normal way, and if not, at least now you know some of the right things to say...