POST-PANDEMIC WEDDING TREND IS FOR SHORTER ENGAGEMENTS, MORE SWIFTLY-ORGANISED WEDDINGS AND SUSTAINABLE FAVOURS SUCH AS CHARITY SHOP BOOKS SAYS HISTORIC THE GRANGE HAMPSHIRE ESTATE
Couples are tending to have shorter engagements in order to get married faster, according to leading country wedding venue The Grange Hampshire.
Before Covid most people made their vows at The Grange Hampshire’s beautiful, historic properties around 18 months to two years after becoming engaged, but now many take as little as nine months.
And whilst traditionally the perception is that it takes years to plan a wedding, The Grange Hampshire has revealed it has organised some in just three days.
Situated in the rolling Hampshire hills amid 3,500 acres, the estate hosts a range of weddings each year, either within their historic Neo-Classical mansion house that was once inhabited by royalty and hosted Winston Churchill and Eisenhower, at the classic Grade II listed 18th century Abbotstone Farm House with its beautiful 6 acre garden, swimming pool and tennis court that becomes a home-from-home wedding for the weekend, or in a marquee in their secret walled garden overlooking the ornamental lake within the grounds of the picturesque Lake House.
Helping couples curate their weddings, The Grange Hampshire events director Julia Mitchell has noticed a number of new trends. There has been a reduction in the average time it takes between couples getting engaged and then married, and sustainability is now high on the agenda, with couples thinking of clever wedding favours instead of items which usually get left behind.
“People used to have long engagements but are now getting engaged and married quicker, thinking, ‘why wait’. Before Covid people took up much longer between proposal and wedding, but now people are getting married much quicker.”
She added: “Many people might think it takes years to organise a wedding, but we’ve done it in as short as a week! We organised two weddings in three days between lockdowns.”
Jewellers Signet recently announced there has been a lull in ring sales following the 2020 pandemic lockdown. Mitchell predicted: “The average time it takes between couples meeting and getting engaged is 3 years, so as people didn’t meet in 2020 it will mean fewer weddings will take place in the next 12 months. But the upside is there will be more venue and supplier availability.”
Mitchell said she has seen a rise in couples wanting to create their own individual wedding day, rather than relying on traditional wedding packages and said The Grange Hampshire prides itself on providing a bespoke wedding experience: “Because we want our couples to have the best time, we help couples curate their wedding day. But we aren’t wedding planners, nor do we offer wedding packages. We facilitate, help and devise the structure and flow of their day and offer advice to give them the best time. We hold their hand from start to finish and we are not afraid to steer them on what works best – and what doesn’t. It’s their day and the most important thing is they have an experience that is tailored and original to them.”
Many couples now strive for sustainability on their wedding day, which mirrors The Grange Hampshire’s own drive for sustainability. Fruit, vegetables, and flowers grown on the estate can be put to use. Alternative energy is used and being installed to heat venues, and upcycled antique and contemporary furniture is used in the properties’ guest rooms where the wedding party’s friends and family can stay.
Mitchell explained The Grange Hampshire also encourages “alternatives to cut flowers – we like living flowers so people can plant them into their gardens after the wedding and see them bloom each year around their anniversary. But if cut flowers are used, we also compost them on the farm. Waste can also be a big problem at weddings, so we ensure that anything which needs to be disposed of is taken away to a depot who hand sort it and recycle as much as they can; usually around 95%.”
She added: “People are more thoughtful these days about wedding favours, menu cards and plastic bottles etc. They think differently about what favours they might have. One of our couples are keen readers and are giving each guest a charity shop book with hand-written messages inside as a memento of the day.”