A year can be a long time in the life of a small wedding venue!
We think it’s safe to say that back in February 2020 none of us could have foreseen what the year had in store for us. COVID 19 was something terrible that was happening in China. Very few of us had the foresight to see what was coming towards us over the horizon as the first cases of COVID 19 were reported in the UK, Nightingale Hospitals were constructed, and lockdown imposed across the country. When we look back it’s not just the enormity of what has happened, it was the speed at which things changed, and continue to do so. It’s been a year of unprecedented levels of stress, acceptance, reengineering, teamwork and the rise of the micro-weddings!
Our intimate wedding venue was all geared up for a full and joyful spring, summer and autumn of small weddings and elopements. Like most wedding and elopement wedding venues we felt ready and excited for the next chapter to begin when suddenly, lockdown was announced. Things very quickly started to unravel, in what for most of us was a hugely worrying and stressful time as the reality of what lockdown really meant for us, on a personal and professional, physical and emotional level set in.
Our first thoughts turned to the couples behind the imminent weddings planned at our micro wedding venue during what was to be the first three weeks of lockdown. These couples had in the main completed their planning, made travel and accommodation arrangements, briefed every detail to florists, photographers, cake makers and caterers and much more. That’s a pretty difficult place to pull back from emotionally and practically. Our priority was to help these couples assess their options and wherever possible re-arrange their wedding to a safer date.
This initial focus grew arms and legs as lockdown was extended again and again, meaning more and more weddings being deferred and re-arranged to 2021. Finally, there was light at the end of the tunnel with micro weddings for a maximum of 30 at a ceremony finally being permitted to go ahead on 4 July, provided COVID safe rules were followed. Sadly, not all wedding service providers were able to get back to work as the government banned make-up artists from returning to work until 15 August, a date that shall also be known for socially distanced receptions of up to 30 being allowed. On 22 September, numbers at weddings were reduced again to 15 people, and we suspect there’ll be more changed in restrictions again before things get back to normal.
We’re truly grateful to our couples’, suppliers and the Devon Registrars for the flexible and helpful way we’ve all been able to work together to pick up the pieces to preserve wedding day dreams for a time when they can be enjoyed by our couples with their families and friends to the full. We’re relieved to be able to say that not many couples had their wedding cancelled at Brickhouse Vineyard as a result of COVID 19 restrictions and we’ve found dates in 2021 for all couples impacted by the crisis.
Micro weddings by design, not default
Something else has been happening during 2020, and it’s to do with love and commitment, maybe it’s even borne out of the adversity we’ve all suffered. We noticed this when we were doing some research on Google: searches for the phrase ‘micro wedding’ have increased 600% since March 2020. Other key phases like ‘intimate wedding’, ‘elopement’ and ‘small wedding’ have also jumped up in the search charts. The irony of a disease that forces social distancing yet appears to bring couples closer together is not lost on us. It proves that love beats COVID 19 every time!
We appreciate that we’re fortunate as Brickhouse Vineyard a small wedding venue by design, not by default. This meant we were completely geared up to help as many couples as possible as soon as weddings were permitted to go ahead again. So rather than closing up for the summer like some of our larger counterparts have sadly been forced to do, we used the empty slots left by couples who’ve deferred to 2021 to host short notice micro weddings. Since 4 July we’ve been lucky enough to be able to host some beautiful elopements and intimate weddings within the restricted numbers for couples for whom love could wait no longer. These included: couples who planned to elope abroad, but for whom travel was no longer an option; couples that planned a larger wedding on a grand scale who felt they wanted to go ahead with their ceremony on a smaller scale in 2020 and celebrate large as and when they are able; and, couples who popped the question during lockdown and felt that now was the right time for them to go ahead and get married precisely because of COVID 19.
As an established small wedding venue, we’re ideally placed to help these couples. It’s been a real pleasure to be able to help couples at relatively short notice to pull together a plan with them and make their days really special and meaningful in a way that’s unique to each of them. It’s been amazing to witness the outpouring of love and happiness which is amplified all the more in the pared back experience of a very small group attending each wedding. We predict that with a little creativity, imagination and a big dose of love these micro weddings look set to remain part of the wedding landscape long after COVID 19 has gone.
And thinking (a little way) ahead…
Thinking too far ahead has been proven at times to be counterproductive in 2020, but we’re not letting this hold us back. This winter we’re renovating the barn behind the roundhouse to provide a purpose designed indoor dining area complete with a catering kitchen in case of bad weather. We’re excited to share this new space with couples in 2021 to further enhance the Brickhouse Vineyard wedding experience you can expect when you book a wedding with us. As a result, we’ll be closed to viewings and in-person meetings from November to mid-January. Our office will remain open and we’ll still be here to help you by phone or via virtual meetings and we’ll be arranging virtual tours too for any couples interested in Brickhouse Vineyard as a venue for their own wedding.
Let us help you make a quick wedding a reality
Although being able to rearrange weddings from 2020 to 2021 is great news for our couples impacted by COVID 19 restrictions this year, this does mean that we’re fully booked already for summer 2021. We appreciate that for those considering getting married in 2021 this is less than ideal. We can offer dates from November 2021 onwards and we’ve opened our 2022 calendar as well.
If you’d like to find out more about our small weddings and elopement options for 2022 please do get in touch with Joanna and the team by email or give us a call on 01626 682287. We’d love to help you.