‘It’s definitely going to go crazy’ – The multi-million pound wedding boom about to hit Newcastle

Back-to-back weddings, a full calendar of bookings, and an endless flow of brides.

The wedding industry is gearing up for one of its busiest years yet in 2022.

It comes after nearly two years of uncertainty for couples looking to tie the knot during the pandemic.

Go here for the latest news live from Newcastle city centre

And while the virus shows no signs of going away any time soon, the eased restrictions have given grooms and brides the confidence to plan their dream day once again.

The dream dress

Danni Hesketh, owner of Y.A.P Bridal on St Mary’s Place, Newcastle, is seeing the increased demand firsthand as brides rush to book appointments for their upcoming nuptials.

“It is going be an amazing year,” she said.

“I have total faith that the wedding industry is completely coming back with a boom and that people’s confidence with planning a wedding now is back.

“You can definitely tell. People are excited again to get planning and are looking forward to something positive again this year.

“After two years, people are ready for some normality and having that confidence back and being able to plan.”

It’s a totally different picture from last year when brides changed wedding dates or put things on hold as the ever-changing rules threw their plans into chaos.

Danni Hesketh, owner of Y.A.P Bridal in Newcastle city centre.

Y.A.P Bridal, which opened a sister studio, Sisters of Grace, on Shakespeare Street in April 2021, said some brides had to postpone three or four times during the pandemic.

As a result, it is now juggling those original bookings with brides who have just started looking for their new dress.

January has already been a hectic month across both stores and brides are now facing a five to six-week wait for weekend appointments.

Weekday appointments are also proving to be more popular than usual as people look to get their plans under way as soon as possible.

“The demand is definitely there for brides wanting to come in and get sorted with the dress,” Danni said.

“This year and next year will be massive for the wedding industry.

Inside Y.A.P Bridal in Newcastle city centre.

Inside Y.A.P Bridal in Newcastle city centre.

“We are playing catch-up because all the venues have dates where the brides have had to postpone, on top of new dates coming in for new bookings, so it’s definitely going to go crazy this year and next.

“Considering it’s the first weeks of January, the weekdays are busy already.

“We have seen a bit of a shift already.

“There is obviously a lot of New Year proposals and Christmas proposals so January tends to be a good month anyway, but the weekdays are busier than what I would say previously for January time.

“I have seen the pattern change over the last six months as everyone’s confidence has grown again.”

The perfect venue

Newcastle’s most popular wedding venues are seeing an increased number of enquiries from couples looking to get hitched in the coming months.

The County Hotel and The Vermont Hotel said the excitement and buzz has returned to the industry this year.

Jamie Hunter, head of weddings, is looking forward to a busy summer of back-to-back weddings.

“January has brought that new wave of excitement and planning,” she said.

“I think people were hesitant in December, thinking we may go into a lockdown or we may go into a tier system, and now that hasn’t happened, it seems to have alleviated that and opened the door for planning.

“The excitement and buzz is back for brides, which also gives us that busier feel.”

Inside one of the wedding suites at The County Hotel in Newcastle.

Inside one of the wedding suites at The County Hotel in Newcastle.

More than 150 weddings have been booked across the two venues in 2022 and couples are still booking for this year.

June, July and August are always popular months for weddings and Jamie said the venue is “non-stop” this summer, with weddings booked every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday during these months.

“There is not one week where we don’t have multiple weddings [during the summer],” she said.

“I think the talk, in general, across the industry is that 2022 without any restrictions will be the biggest year for weddings.

“We have seen a little bit more where people have held out waiting to see what is happening in the New Year and now they are ready to go ahead.

“They have always had 2022 in mind and they are waiting for January to make sure everything can happen.”

The County Hotel is now owned by Gainford Group, who also own the Vermont Hotel.

The County Hotel is now owned by Gainford Group, who also own the Vermont Hotel.

Like Y.A.P Bridal, the two venues are also accommodating couples who have postponed their weddings.

“We’re quite busy with new enquiries in January,” Jamie said.

“It is always quite busy but there is that bit extra this January.

“There are still some of our moved brides, who have been affected by Covid and had to move their date, so we have retained a lot. It feels slightly busier because you have got that uplift.

“For the whole of the wedding industry, I would say that 10% of couples would be Covid moves or postponements

“Postponements were not necessarily because venues were closed but because some people were reluctant because they were worried about what was coming or the reduction of guests or having to lateral flow before the wedding.

“I think it will always be a concern for couples over the next two or three years of booking.

“I don’t think it’s anything that is going to eradicate overnight.”

The stunning flowers

Viv Brown who runs 5th Avenue Flowers on Queen Street, Newcastle, with Victoria Jefferson, said 2022 is also shaping up the be their busiest year yet for weddings.

Victoria Jefferson, who runs 5th Avenue Flowers on Queen Street, Newcastle, with Viv Brown.

Victoria Jefferson, who runs 5th Avenue Flowers on Queen Street, Newcastle, with Viv Brown.

Although weddings are just one aspect of their business, 67-year-old Viv said that they have a wedding booked in every weekend for the rest of the year.

It comes as many brides reschedule their special day for this year after rearranging it several times.

Viv, who has run the shop for 35 years, said: “I think it will definitely be one of our busiest years for weddings.

“There is also the catch-up aspect. We had a lot booked for 2020 that were then booked for 2021.

“But nobody knew what was happening and they didn’t want to take a chance so they have rebooked again.

“I’m meeting some people and this is their third rebooking.”

Victoria Jefferson of 5th Avenue Flowers on Newcastle's Quayside.

Victoria Jefferson of 5th Avenue Flowers on Newcastle’s Quayside.

Viv is expecting to receive a lot of requests for last-minute weddings this year and has also seen a trend for smaller celebrations.

August Bank Holiday is proving to be the most popular date of the year, with the florist receiving numerous enquiries from couples planning to tie the knot that weekend.

“We are looking forward to it,” Viv said.

“Last year, we had loads of last-minute weddings and I think that will happen again this year.

“I think people will get the confidence and they’ll want it within a month.

“Not huge ones, but people thinking; ‘let’s just get married.'”

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