How the pandemic has changed weddings for good


Images used for illustration purposes only

Images used for illustration purposes only

The pandemic has affected many aspects of our lives, and one sector that has definitely felt an impact is the wedding industry. As couples have had to pare back their celebrations or postpone them altogether, it's made room for a whole wave of new wedding trends. And, like many of the habits we’ve adopted over the past couple of years, some of these trends look like they're here to stay.

Using Google search data taken from Ahrefs and Pinterest data from Pinterest Predicts, we’ve discovered some of the pandemic trends that we're still loving in 2022 .

More couples are keeping it local

As lockdowns meant fewer couples were hopping on flights to their dream destination wedding, more opted to keep their celebrations closer to home instead. And now, even after travel restrictions have lifted, local weddings are still a popular choice.

Google searches for 'wedding venues near me' understandably dipped during national lockdowns, but there's still a lot of demand from couples choosing to keep it local. In fact, searches for this term are currently still higher than before the pandemic. Overall, search interest for 'wedding venues near me' has increased by almost 4% from January 2020 to January 2022. 

One-click weddings are booming

It's no secret that wedding planning can be a little stressful at the best of times, and the added pressure of lockdowns, travel restrictions, and postponements has taken its toll on the industry. In fact, the average time it takes to plan a wedding is now 20 months, according to Hitched, so it's no surprise that couples are choosing to pass the responsibility onto someone else in the form of one-click weddings.

Pinterest searches for 'all-inclusive wedding packages' are up 80% from October 2019 to September 2021, as couples jump on the chance of a quicker and more convenient wedding. These packages include almost everything you need for the big day, including a venue, food, and decorations. All you need to sort are your outfits and wedding jewellery.

Men's engagement rings are more popular

Whether it's because more same-sex couples have decided to tie the knot or because women have taken the opportunity to veer from tradition, there have been over 81% more Google searches for 'men's engagement rings uk' since March 2020.

What's interesting is that men's engagement rings garnered quite a bit of interest here in the UK between 2015 and 2017, before the pandemic. But this interest had waned slightly by 2018, even as celebrities like Ed Sheeran had been spotted sporting an engagement ring (The Guardian). However, it looks like the trend has made a comeback post-COVID and interest in men's engagement rings is returning as couples are taking this time to make their engagement and wedding more personal to them.

Gemstones are the new diamonds

As another addition to the more personal engagement ring trend, it seems that gemstone rings have made their mark on the wedding jewellery industry. While diamond rings are as popular as ever, more couples are interested in options with a bit more colour. Searches for 'gemstone ring' have increased by almost 114% since March 2020, as people look to add a more personal touch to their accessories, particularly their engagement rings. 'Unique engagement rings' in particular saw a whopping 236% increase in searches from March 2020 to February 2022. 

A popular option for this trend includes birthstone engagement rings, made famous recently by Megan Fox and fiancé Machine Gun Kelly (Instagram). And this trend may be part of an even bigger desire for bright, colourful wedding celebrations, suggests Jessie Westwood, Director at luxury wedding planning and design company Studio Sorores. "As we emerge into a new season, I predict we are going to see bright versions of pastels everywhere," says Jessie. "Think emerald green, candy pink, fresh orange, lemon yellow, sweet lilac, and sky blue."

More couples are turning to DIY

Personalisation won't just be limited to jewellery either, as more couples are also choosing to add their own homemade elements to their big day. After we all picked up lockdown hobbies, many couples have chosen to use their new-found crafting skills to decorate their venue. Searches for 'DIY wedding centerpieces' saw a massive 1,391% increase from March 2020 to September 2021, peaking at a whopping 3,772 searches. And it seems many couples are still keen to add their own homemade element to their big day, as the term got 1,548 Google searches in January 2022 alone.

This DIY trend is making room for bolder, more intricate design options too. "I think we are going to see more maximalist styling and design," says Jessie Westwood. "Bold chasing patterns and materials, with lots of layering on tablescapes, but using more muted tones alongside pops of colour. More is more."

Being playful and experimenting with colours and textures is set to be one of the trademarks of a post-COVID wedding, and opting for DIY is the perfect way to get the look you want from your table décor.

Micro weddings are here to stay

If you hadn't heard of a micro wedding before the pandemic, you're not alone. These smaller, more intimate celebrations weren't a popular option pre-covid, but the trend boomed in March 2020 as couples wished to celebrate their love with their closest friends and family.

"Couples were forced to downscale their celebrations or postpone, which created an influx of beautiful intimate events where the focus was on small stylish ceremonies and dinner parties," said Jessie Westwood. As a result, searches for 'micro wedding' increased by 1,945% from March 2020 to January 2021.

And, while couples are now free to extend their guest list, many are still opting for a smaller affair. Searches are still up 1,104% from March 2020, and searches for 'small wedding venues near me' have seen a 293% increase since the same period.

However, it's also looking like elaborate ceremonies aren't off the cards either. If a large wedding is more your thing, then the trend is to really go for it and push the boat out. "Since reopening, it looks like couples are going bigger and bolder than ever before, with a joy de vivre put back into large gatherings and statement styling," says Jessie.

Wedding rentals are becoming the norm

Whether it's due to cost or the environment, Google searches for 'wedding dress rental' boomed mid-pandemic, increasing by almost 320% from April to June 2021. Rented dresses are something we've seen recently at some of the UK's highest profile weddings, as Carrie Symonds famously opted to wear a rented dress in her secret wedding to Prime Minister Boris Johnson back in May 2021 (The Guardian). And in July 2020, Princess Beatrice stunned in a wedding dress that was upcycled from the Queen's own personal collection (Twitter).

The wedding dress rental boom can be partly attributed to the rise in pre-owned fashion. According to data from the online consignment and thrift store thredUP, 33m consumers bought second-hand clothing for the first time in 2020, and 75% of those consumers plan to increase their spend on thrifted items in the next five years. As a result, the second-hand market is set to double by 2025.

It's not just wedding dresses that couples are choosing to rent or thrift either. Everything from engagement rings to wedding rings are available to buy pre-owned. Here at Ramsdens Jewellery, our expert team thoroughly check and clean all of our pre-owned jewellery to ensure they meet our incredibly high standards, so you can be sure you're getting fine quality, often for a lower price.

Plus, our own Anya Belle range features diamonds recycled from other jewellery pieces in brand-new settings to produce a collection that is both sustainable and great value. So, you can spend more money on making your big day a memorable experience.

Online shopping is here to stay

Over the past couple of years, we've all turned to the digital world to do our shopping, including for big events like weddings. And it looks like this trend isn't going anywhere any time soon — in fact, e-commerce is growing year on year. Retail e-commerce sales reached $4,938 billion last year and are predicted to grow 50% over the next four years, as our pandemic shopping behaviours are here to stay (Statista).

While brides were once unable to visit dress shops and jewellers in person, they've been able to order their dream dresses and accessories online to be delivered straight to their home. As a matter of fact, searches for 'wedding dresses online uk' have boomed over the last two years, increasing by nearly 209% from March 2020 to February 2022, and are still higher than average, even as our high streets have reopened.

Eternity rings are more popular than ever

There's no denying that the past couple of years have made us realise just how much our loved ones mean to us. So, it's no surprise that many couples are choosing to commemorate their everlasting love with an eternity ring.

While interest in this style of jewellery was high back in 2015 to 2017, their popularity slumped by the beginning of 2018. However, search data suggests that eternity rings are set for a revival. From November 2019 to November 2020, searches for 'eternity rings uk' grew by over 91%, possibly owing to the pandemic making us appreciate our relationships more than ever. And, by December 2021, search interest reached the highest point on record with 3,257 monthly searches, showing this style of ring is still incredibly popular post-pandemic.

The pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, and the wedding industry has been no exception. While we've implemented various changes over the past couple of years, these are just some of the wedding trends that look set to stay.

Whether you're planning a wedding or thinking of popping the question, be sure to take a look at the range of jewellery we have on offer here at Ramsdens Jewellery. You'll find everything from engagement rings in a variety of styles to a beautiful selection of men's, women's, and unisex wedding rings that will help make your big day special. And to help you pick out your perfect ring, be sure to read our blog and our jewellery buying guides, where you'll find our expert tips for buying an engagement ring, eternity ring, and more.

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