Why do people fear weddings?

Eternal uncertainty: what will the wedding year 2021 be like?

A lavish party with kisses and hugs. Family fraternities in a champagne frenzy, sweaty suits in the dance floor frenzy. Many couples imagine their wedding party like this or something similar - but in the Corona crisis that seems unthinkable. Instead: wear masks, keep your distance, keep to yourself.

"I understand very well when someone says that they don't want to celebrate under such circumstances," says Svenja Schirk. But it is precisely this reluctance to party that is a real problem for her and her colleagues - because she is a wedding planner. And had a "catastrophic" year 2020, as she herself says.

80 percent of weddings were canceled - either because couples celebrated and canceled in a small group or because they postponed, says Schirk, who is also a spokeswoman for the Association of German Wedding Planners.

And 2021? Doesn't it look much better. "At the moment we are usually not planning at all - the last pair that I had on my list for 2021 has just canceled with me. There is just too much uncertainty there."

More diverse and more spontaneous

Even if there is great uncertainty, people will still get married - and also celebrate, says Susan Lippe-Bernard, editor-in-chief of "Bride & Groom". But certainly not within the usual framework. "Weddings will be more diverse and spontaneous in 2021, that doesn't have to be a bad thing."

If you really want to celebrate big, you should wait another year. "We can at least say that 2022 will probably be a great wedding year," says Lippe-Bernard.

In principle, it is already possible to make reservations for 2022 - or at least to speak to restaurateurs and service providers. "In any case, it is always best to simply stay in contact with the desired location and the various service providers. They also have no planning security and always have to adapt to the changing situation."

Wedding planning like package tours

Stay flexible and keep in touch: This applies not only to 2022 - but also to wedding couples who are actually planning or have planned a wedding for 2021. For example, because they actually wanted to celebrate big in 2020. "Getting married in 2021 is Basically like traveling: If you want to plan it now, you should make sure that you plan as quickly and flexibly as possible, "says Iwona Husemann from the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center.

That is more difficult at a wedding. But it is possible, now more than ever. "In other industries we are currently seeing that companies are introducing very flexible regulations in response to consumer reluctance," said Husemann. "And the wedding industry is certainly ready to talk."

If possible, no expensive down payments

Bridal couples and their business partners should make a written record of agreements on reservations and their cancellation. And as always: read the small print, i.e. the terms and conditions, carefully - especially on the points of cancellation and rebooking.

The consumer advocates generally advise against down payments. But that is not always feasible, says Husemann. "That is partly understandable: if a company has to buy goods, for example, it shouldn't have to pay one hundred percent in advance."

Consumers should check if they can make the terms of the down payments a little more secure. Perhaps the amounts can be staggered, perhaps the date of payment can be postponed to a few weeks before the wedding date? "Then maybe we can already see what the situation will be like," says Husemann. And warns at the same time: "With a down payment there is always the risk that money is gone - for example, if a company has to file for bankruptcy."

Corona-compliant planning is possible

After all, the risk of running out of space in 2021 is now low. "In between it was actually the case that, for example, the locations for 2021 were quite booked up," says wedding planner Schirk. The problem no longer exists.

A "Sunday wedding" could then go better with the Corona precautionary measures next year, says editor-in-chief Lippe-Bernard. The wedding ceremony at 11 am, followed by lunch and coffee. Then only the weather has to play along: "Most newlyweds want a wedding outside anyway."

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 201217-99-733268 / 3 (dpa)