…is the estimated amount of money lost by the UK wedding industry due to Covid-19 lockdown, as a significant number of weddings was canceled or postponed*.
Weddings cancellation rate
Money lost over 2020 by the wedding industry
*This study was originally published in August 24th. This is an update version as of September 30th 2020
Catastrophic impact of Covid-19 on the weddings 2020 peak season
The Covid-19 crisis and related government regulations have essentially wiped out the peak wedding season for 2020, from April through September, in which 80% of UK weddings usually take place. 32,04% of all 2020 weddings will not take place this year, and 50,8% will be significantly impacted. Given the government’s social distancing instructions and the restriction to 30 people effective from the 1st August, it will take a while before weddings can go back to normal.
That’s what the numbers show:
The Southern English regions most impacted : the highest rates on weddings cancellations in the UK are found in the four southernmost regions. With 43% of weddings cancelled on its territory, the Greater London area ranks number 1, followed by South West England (42%), the East of England (39%) and South East England (37%).
From the couples’ perspective: an analysis of the google queries made since March
When Covid-19 started to spread throughout Europe in the beginning of March, the threat of an epidemic began real for already engaged couples. An analysis of the google queries made on the topic gives a very interesting prospective:
- As an immediate response to the Covid-19 rise, the number of queries for “wedding insurance” peaked by 900% to 140,000 from the 8th to the 14th of March.
- Then, between the 15th and the 21th of March, Britons were 14 times more likely than in the last five years to search “cancel wedding” on Google.
- Finally, the terms “postpone weddings” were searched between 19 and 20 times more than usual respectively in that same period and between the 10th and the 16th of May.
Is the wedding insurance industry helping? The answer is no
In any case, all insurance policies that were subscribed before the Covid-19 rise are still effective. However, the lockdown was implemented through a government act, which most wedding insurers don’t cover, so your policy is quite unlikely to pay out if your wedding was affected by that. Most policies only cover for cancellation due to illness of the couple or a close family member, or if a vendor is unable to fulfill its part of the contract. The many exclusions left thousands of couples distraught, so much that some wedding professionals started a petition for the government to support the wedding industry, claiming that insurance companies are failing to honor their commitments as insurers.
Wedding insurers suspend new insurance policies
Among the couples whose venue or suppliers cancelled on them, the 30% who had an insurance policy turned to their provider to ask for support. Insurers were then forced to make a decision and act quickly. Given the uncertainty concerning the future health context, most of them, including WeddingPlan, John Lewis and Debenhams, decided to temporarily suspend issuing new insurance policies. CoverMyWedding didn’t follow, as it declared that it would keep issuing wedding policies, but without any cover for claims resulting from Covid19.
2021 to be the “greatest year of weddings in history”
In all that distress, 2021 could be lifesaving for the wedding industry, and turn into the “greatest year of weddings in history”. Indeed, with 80% of weddings postponed, 80% of which deferred to the coming year, the wedding industry will have to cater for about 160,000 more weddings than usual. With about 250,000 weddings each year, the UK could see up to 410,000 weddings happen in 2021 only. With the average wedding costing £30,000, the UK wedding market could go from £7.5 billion to £12.3 billion next year, although that would not compensate the £5,3 billion loss already incurred by venues and suppliers.
Antoine Fruchard, insurance expert and CEO at Hello-Safe.co.uk
“The Covid-19 pandemic represents a real nightmare for the UK wedding industry, with £5,3 billion expected revenues that have vanished in 2020. In this chaos, the couples that had the precaution to subscribe an insurance turned out to be deceived : the great majority of insurers preferred to decline any responsibility, letting them in front of a very difficult situation. However, the option of postponing the wedding to 2021 or even 2022 has been hugely used, which could transform 2021 into an historical year for the wedding industry ”.
We based our study on public information provided by reliable data-providers, both public and private. For further information on our editorial guidelines please click here.
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