Brides buy two dresses after Covid-19 kills off big weddings

Jessica Carpani
·3-min read
A couple marry in a small wedding -  D-Keine/Getty Images Contributor
A couple marry in a small wedding - D-Keine/Getty Images Contributor

Brides are buying two wedding dresses because the coronavirus pandemic is forcing them to have smaller nuptials and a bigger celebration next year.

As cases began to rise again, the Government announced that from September 28 no more than 15 people are allowed to legally attend a marriage or civil partnership.

Wedding planners Rock My Wedding said the restrictions, similar to those imposed during the initial lockdown, resulted in 65 per cent of their brides choosing to host a smaller wedding now with a larger celebration next year - meaning brides get to indulge in two dresses.

Founder Charlotte O’Shea said: “The vast majority of them are choosing to purchase two gowns, one for each gathering. For this year’s weddings we are witnessing simpler more understated silhouettes.

“Brides are choosing to invest in their extravagant gown for next year's party, with a focus on full floating skirts in tulle and chiffon.”

Hamish Shephard, founder of the UK wedding planning app Bridebook.co.uk, said they have also seen a 10 per cent increase in enquiries to dressmakers over the last six months compared to last year.

He said the rise was “mostly people looking for a dress for the small wedding as well as bigger ones for next year” and that they’ve had a particular interest in the second-hand dress market.

“People want to save money for this year's smaller wedding before they splurge for a bigger party next year,” he explained and added that it also represents a continuing trend of “more sustainable, eco-friendly weddings”.

But Mr Shephard added that for brides who have been saving more money throughout lockdown they’re looking for “their big party to be something incredible”.

“Expect some flamboyant dresses when full scale weddings are back on the social calendar,” he said.

Luxury designer Justin Alexander agreed that 2021 brides are “looking to express their daring sides at their wedding” while brides that are planning an intimate ceremony this year may lean towards a more “modest and toned down look”.

Meanwhile, Phillipa Lepley has been working into the small hours to rush through dresses in time for quick, small weddings.

She said the company had noticed some brides are being more crafty and are asking the dressmaker to redesign their original dress for their second wedding.

Phillipa Lepley at work
Phillipa Lepley at work

“Quite a lot of couples are then planning to host big celebrations further down the line. Most say they want to wear something different for their second celebration, though a few are planning to wear the same dress and altering it with us significantly,” she said.  

In a similar vein, Kate Halfpenny, Founder and Designer of Halfpenny London have seen an uptake in wedding dress separates, giving brides the option to re-wear part of their dresses the second time around.  

"You can really get the very best of both worlds when it comes to choosing something for your wedding look and also being able to wear it again afterwards.  

“Many of our brides have their skirts or dresses tailored afterwards by cutting them short or removing the train,” she added.