2020 proved to be a disaster for the diamond jewelry’s most important catalyst business sector, the wedding industry. According to The Knot, the respected publication, website and news source on all things matrimonial, COVID’s impact was so significant that most couples planning to marry were affected by the pandemic.
Whether the wedding took place or not often depended on geography, and the array of local and national regulation governing what could be done and when has been extremely complicated.
Take the United Kingdom, for example. In February, wedding and civil partnership ceremonies in England were only being allowed in exceptional circumstances. Up to six people could attend, not including those working at the event. However, with the country’s COVID vaccination drive ramping up, at some point from 12 April up to 15 people may be allowed to attend an English wedding ceremony, and that number could potentially rise to 30 from May 17.
In the meantime, in Scotland up to five people could attend a ceremony in February, including the couple, although six people were allowed if an interpreter was required. In Wales, licensed venues and hotels were allowed to host wedding ceremonies, with the maximum number of attendees is determined by a building’s capacity. In Northern Ireland, up to 25 people could attend a wedding, although events with more than 15 people required a risk assessment and face masks must be worn by guests.
47 PERCENT OF WEDDINGS POSTPONED IN 2020
The Knot looked at 7,600 American couples who had originally set their wedding date for 2020. What it discovered is that 47 percent of couples postponed their reception to a later date, although 32 percent still got married relatively close to the date they had originally planned. Sadly, 15 percent decided to postpone the entire wedding altogether.
More than 75 percent of couples polled by The Knot said the health and safety of guests were the most important aspects of planning their wedding during the COVID-19 pandemic. This actually was higher than the number who responded the most important aspect by finding a way to marry their partner no matter what.
Of those who did decide to go ahead with their weddings, 80 percent of those polled by the The Knot said that they limited the number of guests to comply with proper local social distancing restrictions. Six in ten couples held their ceremony and reception outdoors.
Source: The Knot 2020 Real Weddings Study [COVID-19 Edition]
Cutting back on other expenses like large wedding venues, caterers and entertainment has meant that couples had more money left over for jewelry.
JEWELRY INDUSTRY ‘S 2020 WINDFALL
But all of this has not necessarily been bad news for the diamond industry. Cutting back on other expenses like large wedding venues, caterers and entertainment has meant that couples had more money left over for jewelry. Indeed, the better-than-expected holiday season in 2020, given the dire warning that had been issued just months before, may have been influenced by more dollars per jewelry item being spent than in a non-pandemic year.
What’s more, the more subdued celebrations that did take place in 2020 may provide the opportunity for even more jewelry sales once the effects of the pandemic begin to wear off. According to The Knot, fewer than two-thirds of couples who got married in 2020 considered their reception to be their one and only wedding celebration. This means that more than one-third plan to hold a sequel celebration in the future with the full complement of friends and family, and that could translate into more diamond jewelry being sold.
More than half of all couples who postponed their reception plan on having it in the first half of 2021, with the majority saying they are waiting until spring. In the United States, The Knot reports, nearly one in two couples have plan on on inviting upwards of 125 guests to their 2021 wedding, although admit that the final guest size will depend on COVID-19 situation.
Couples expect the budget for their upcoming reception to be about $22,500, which is only slightly below the average $23,000 spent in 2019.