Sarah Varley takes a look at planning a wedding and how some of the region’s beautiful, boutique venues are perfect for a limited number of guests
Around 73,600 weddings and civil partnership ceremonies were affected by lockdown this year. This means that 2021 and 2022 will be much busier than usual for the wedding industry, as even the traditionally quieter days and months of the wedding calendar are being filled with 2020 postponements as well as new plans.
Couples wanting to get married as soon as possible are opting for small, intimate weddings in line with the current rules of both ceremonies and receptions in the form of a sit-down meal being limited to 30 guests in England, often with a promise to those unable to attend of a big party to celebrate in the future, when rules allow.
Planning a wedding for just 30 might not have been your original choice but could provide a unique opportunity to spoil your guests with an unforgettable experience, such as the whole party staying on-site for an all-inclusive feel. Eaves Hall, for example, has bridal suites and 30 bedrooms for all your guests as well as extensive beautiful gardens and grounds for your party to enjoy exclusively.
Venues have risen to the challenge to offer something small but perfectly formed. For example, Northcote are offering gourmet weddings in their luxury Louis Roederer Champagne Rooms which are perfect for up to 30 guests and the Coniston Hotel has a special ‘Love Won’t Wait’ package for 2020 weddings for up to 26 people. Browsholme Hall has now added to its range of venue offerings with the newly-converted historic Cart Shed for intimate weddings for 20 guests.
Perhaps a midweek wedding may be the answer. Couples planning weddings for 2021 are finding not only that wedding venues are booked up, but also churches, registry offices and wedding photographers. Being able to be flexible on what day of the week you hold your celebrations means many more options become available. Prices also tend to be lower when booking a venue for a midweek wedding so you may be able to save money or add extra luxuries to your day. For example, Bashall Barn has a special discounted ‘Soulmate Package’ for weddings taking place on Monday to Thursday.
Planning a wedding will also feel different this year. Venues are holding private tours by appointment only, which will give you the chance to ask all the questions you need. You may find that appointments to view venues are currently easier to obtain as the wedding industry is only just coming out of lockdown. This also means you may be able to view venues all dressed for weddings with fewer events actually taking place. We have always been spoilt for choice with amazing venues in the Ribble Valley, so seize the moment and you can still enjoy planning your very special day!