Wedding venues across the county have been revealed to be booked through 2023 and requests through 2024 as the industry grapples with a huge backlog caused by the pandemic.
With a myriad of great wedding venues across Surrey, there is no shortage of demand for people to get married here, but there is uncertainty about the logistics and a strong desire for couples to celebrate weddings once things are “normal” again that they and so many in the industry are working harder than ever to arrange people’s special days.
Susie Evans is the wedding and event manager at The Barn in Botley Hill, a relatively new to the trade venue in the Limpsfield village next to Oxted – his first weddings took place in the summer of 2019.
She told SurreyLive: “We’re more or less fully booked for next year 2022 and we’re filling up for 2023. There are requests for 2024 but we’re not working that far ahead. Right now we’re probably getting up to 10 requests a day. It’s all very positive. “
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The roadmap restrictions announced on May 17 allow weddings of up to 30 people. While some people like this opportunity to host a smaller event for just the closest family and friends, others prefer to share their big day with as many people as possible.
And Susie said it was definitely more of the latter – they’ve hosted around 15 weddings in the last year, but that number pales in comparison to the 120 events they’ve postponed.
“[May 17 is] A step in the right direction, but it still has a big impact on the entire industry because so many people will not get married if there are only 30 people there. As a venue, we’re only doing two weddings for the next month, starting May 17th, usually up to four a week. “
On the subject of matching items
On the subject of matching items
Since weddings are such a big endeavor for so many, she also says that so many of the couples she works with are interested in not doing things in half.
“It’s a festival, it’s more than just a quick party. It’s something that they have planned for years, some of them. I think it was emotionally exhausting – our team worked under the sun every hour. We realize that it is their greatest commitment in life. “
“Couples have moved their dates almost five or six times”
Rosie Glaister, the owner of the Ramster Hall in Chiddingfold just outside Godalming, said she remembered how shocking it was in March 2020 that the industry had such a huge success.
She said: “We [kept] I think we’ll get up and go again by summer. I think all of our couples thought so too. People pushed it a few months into summer and it got further and further away. We’ve had certain couples who definitely moved three, four, almost five or six times. I thought it would be fine until the fall, and then it wasn’t anymore. “
She said that they too will work until 2023 and even under the somewhat lax restrictions of last summer, they were unable to host many events that included four weddings instead of the normal 50-60.
The hardest part for Ramster Hall and so much in the industry is the uncertainty of the future – unfortunately, not all Surrey wedding venues are able to reopen after the pandemic.
(Image: Ramster Hall and Garden)
She said, “The cost of running such a place is not insignificant. We really need the weddings to keep the roof in place. The garden needs to be kept immaculate. “
But so much has been said about a bright future when the venues can reopen, which Rosie is delighted with.
“My greatest wish is that after June 21st everyone can have a good party and have what they want to do. I think the biggest turning point is when they can dance. The end of May when they can’t dance is a disappointment. “
“Next year will be the crucial time”
(Image: Surrey Live / Darren Pepe)
It’s not just venues unsure of what their customers are allowed to do and when, but also bridal shops that reopened on April 12th.
Amanda Willis, owner of Encore Evenings and Bridal, spoke to SurreyLive ahead of the opening, and the work has been very busy and well in advance since then.
She said, “I worked seven days a week to accommodate everyone. When we opened we were very busy with people having weddings in May, June and July. Now when we talk to brides, we get those who have weddings [in] ’22, ’23 even. There is currently a very strong trend towards smaller weddings. “
While many have simply resigned themselves to having smaller weddings, the future is difficult to predict.
Amanda added, “I think next year will be the crucial time. They have to rebook weddings from this year to the next year, which means they don’t have a full calendar to book new weddings. “