2022 is a huge year for Weddings with many postponements, delayed Wedding bookings and newly engaged couples all in play.
The ongoing impacts of the pandemic on the Wedding market have been economic, social and emotional. It is not business as usual.
We discuss the past, present and future of Weddings from a consumer and business perspective to provide insight into how Weddings have evolved, how products and services have been impacted, and how this industry continues to work through these hurdles to bring to life the celebration of love that is a Wedding! Along with this, Covid hasn’t been the only issue the Wedding industry has had to manage. Like their colleagues in Hospitality and Events, the environmental impacts, as well as other socio-economic factors have changed the way many are able to conduct their business.
“Covid, as well as other environmental factors including floods, fires, and international conflict, have and continue to impact the Wedding and Event market exponentially. With the number of Weddings taking place this year, combined with inflation, supply chain issues, and limited labour, the costs associated with Weddings in 2022 have increased,” Wedded Wonderland Director, Wendy El-Khoury.
The challenges Businesses face
- Access to international products is limited
- Backlog of postponed Weddings from 2020-2022
- Increase in enquiries with delayed engagements and new weddings
- Delays in shipping domestically and globally (backlog issues)
- Staff shortages as a result of sickness, fewer migrants, and skilled workers in Australia since March 2020
According to the Australian Burea of Statistics, in February 2022, over a third of all businesses experienced supply chain disruptions and 15 percent of employing businesses had staff who were unavailable to work due to issues related to COVID-19.
The flow-on effect has snowballed with certain products and services, which has in turn increased costs both for businesses and consumers. In fact, many weddings that were priced a year ago are simply not profitable because the cost of materials and goods has increased this year.
“The increase in costs has resulted in unrealistic expectations with couples comparing prices to previous years pre covid,” Wedding/ Event planner Kailey from Kailey Kirk Events & Weddings told Wedded Wonderland.
This is being felt by the majority of the industry, with business owners facing challenges they have never experienced.
“Ever since the pandemic hit, it has been so much harder to find staff, and in some cases, freelancer rates have increased by 25%.”
“The cost of importing florals has gone through the roof and as a result, this, combined with the wild weather in New South Wales and Queensland has pushed up the cost of local flowers to keep up with demand, with some flowers such as roses being double their usual wholesale cost,” John from John Emmanuel Floral Events told Wedded Wonderland.
“We went from catering at an average of $35-$45 per head to $55-$65 per head at minimum to allow for A grade produce and the increase honestly doesn’t do it justice. Oils such as olive oil, vegetable oil, have increased. 5L Vegetable oil (woolworths brand) was roughly $9 where it’s now $14. Poultry, 15kg of breast chicken was around $120 and it’s now roughly $180. Wings & drumettes were about $2-$3 per kg now are $5-$8 Factor in Petrol prices, a full tank was around $70 where it’s now costing us $160 – we fill up three times a week. Travel/delivery fees just went from $15 to $40 minimum” Robyn Jury, Caterer Sambookco
Tips around how businesses can manage these challenges:
- Opening communication channels listing out specific times for availability and enquiry
- Transparency in price increases with direct and dynamic discussion with couples, including presenting other options within budget if and where possible
- Shift to packages for certain time periods where you know that offering is both available and sustainable- market this online
- Create an FAQ sheet and list out on your socials or website responding to many of the ongoing and repeat question you receive
- Build a network of referrals- turn your competitors into colleagues, lean on each other and support one another during this time
Another big challenge business owners are facing is the juggle of managing new enquiries and new business, whilst servicing postponed events. “Keeping up with existing demand plus the backlog of postponed Covid dates has probably been the biggest challenge,” Henryk from Image Haus told Wedded Wonderland.
The challenges Couples face:
- Limited availability in dates for Weddings in 2022 and popular dates in 2023
- Information around increased pricing and substitutes for certain products and services
- Insight into turn around times for enquiries, and communication with businesses
- Increased anxiety and apprehension in mindset as a direct result of ongoing restrictions and changes in this market
- shorter lead times in organising their Wedding
- suppliers contracting covid- and what the plan B options are
- Budget management and cash flow (this is a general challenge, however many Couples have also been impacted at work as a result of the pandemic, so for example savings may have dwindled over time)
“Urgent help please!!! My best friend is getting married this Saturday (15 Jan) and the MUA has cancelled due to Covid. Does anyone have any recommendations for MUAs last minute based in Sydney. The Party consists of the bride, 4 bridesmaids and Mother of the bride.
Edit: Thank you so much wedded clique we have found a replacement ❤️” Wedded Wonderland Clique member.
Tips on working around price increases:
1. When it comes to flowers, if the price is out of your budget, you can opt for silk florals or use other decorative options including candles and beautiful fabrics
2. If you want to save on your venue, book a weekday wedding, they’ve become very popular in recent times
3. Hire a wedding planner who can navigate prices and suppliers, and provide further options
4. Order things as soon as possible to avoid further price increases, and also secure international products if and when required
5. Meet with your venue and caterer where possible, and discuss alternate options for food should there be an increase on certain requests (pre-empt the conversation and avoid the surprise!)
The impact of no marketing and/or administration budgets for businesses for two years will flow on for some time- in turn impacting new business opportunities including growth, diversification, lead generation, tech investment and more.
The flip side to 2022 being such a huge year for weddings is of course the opportunity for businesses to really prosper and grow, with demand on skill sets within the wedding and event market and more contracting opportunities.
One thing is clear: After almost two years of postponements, Couples aren’t willing to wait any longer.
“Myself, and a lot of my colleagues in the industry have been working around the clock to catch up with postponements, we are slowly seeing it stabilize and can better plan and manage our bookings,” John Emmanuel told Wedded Wonderland.
Since 2020 we have seen some huge changes in the industry. Wedded Wonderland has acted as the catalyst for change and the voice of reason for both businesses and couples during Covid. Led by Founder Wendy El-Khoury, many petitions, letters, and requests were made during this time. The Wedded Wonderland Facebook Group with 5,000 strong members has provided much c2c advice, support and last minute requests between Couples which has been an integral part of managing the issues and risks that have come about as a result of the pandemic.
Because the wedding industry is a long shelf-life market, the reality of recovery from Covid will not take place until 2023. The government needs to continue supporting this industry, which is largely run by small businesses, for ongoing sustainability and recovery.
We look forward to seeing the industry recover and prosper over the coming year.
Feature image- Merve Togan Photography