One day Maria Jose Monge Ferreras and Raul Lozano Lopez live together. And another day, just six months later, the coronavirus decided to put them to the test. Closed between four walls, constant and continuous contact. “I thought, ‘We’re either going to get out of this good or really bad,'” she admits. It actually beats a third option: something like “very, very good.” This August, two and a half years after that detention, 165 guests were able to check it out. She was dressed in white. He in blue. Y chandler, her inseparable dog, watched the entire ceremony from the front row, dressed in the bride’s tone. He got up, yes, to take the rings to them. There were kisses, hugs, tears, laughter. And then food, wine, dancing and even productivity of the DJ cutting bread and sausage while playing. There is no shadow from the masks. Nor from the fears of a pandemic. It happened in Leon, but the euphoria has been flooding every corner of Spain for months. Because this year, after an enforced hiatus in 2020 and an uncertain journey in 2021, weddings have skyrocketed. They are running almost twice as fast, even faster than 2019, to make up for lost time. Goodbye, sadness. Welcome, boom from love
In 2021, weddings in Spain increased by 60% compared to 2020, according to a recent INE report. There are still no official figures for the current year, but all indicators show that this trend has worsened. “The recovery in demand has surpassed the 2019 numbers, and if we compare it to 2021, it has practically doubled,” says Jose Melo, vice president of sales at The Knot Worldwide (a leading wedding planning company that owns sites Bodas.net and Matrimonios.com). Traffic to its web pages increased by 38% in the first half of 2022 compared to the previous year’s figures. There have been weddings for some time.
The trend, like the pandemic, is global. Learning Free Wedding Market Report predicts that in 2022 there will be about 2.5 million weddings in the United States. This is the largest increase since 1984, when most of the generation of baby boom of marriageable age. According to this study, half of the weddings planned for 2020 had to be postponed, and the same happened to 20% of the relationships in 2021. After two years of changing their plans, some couples are facing so-called “work fatigue ” .postponement,” as analyzed recently on New York Times.
Every morning Maria Lopez opens her wardrobe to see what she will wear. And every morning she stumbles upon the dress of the bride who never was. It’s been there for two years, hanging, waiting, since that call from the seamstress: “Maria, you have to take it, we’re going to close the shop and we can’t keep it.” It was October 2020.
Maria Lopez and Juan Jose Velasco canceled their wedding due to the pandemic. They had a reserved seat, they had tipped off the DJ, the catering… They returned to the idea for 2021, but then another more joyful unforeseen event messed up their plans again. Maria was pregnant. “Third time’s the charm,” she says on the other end of the phone. “Although, to tell you the truth, we’ve lost the illusion a bit.”
Now they will have their party in September “whatever happens”. In fact, they were already married. They did it in an intimate ceremony, with no billowing gowns, live-in newlyweds or an open bar. “Now we’re going to do it with all these things, people want to celebrate,” adds Juan Jose. They too. During this time he was not tempted to rummage into the closet of his fiancée, his wife Maria. You want to be surprised when you walk down the aisle, even if it’s two years late. She looks forward to her big day with subdued joy. He regretted that his grandfather could no longer attend as he had passed away at the time. But there will also be new guests, and his daughter stands out among them.
Manuela Eugenia Ruiz Campos does not remember speaking to Maria on the phone, although she assures that she did. “The thing is, at that time I had to contact a lot of brides to give them my dresses,” this Madrid seamstress justifies herself over the phone. But he remembers, how can he not remember, that fateful October. “Usually three or four dresses would leave the store a day. We had three in October. Three for the whole year”, he points out. “They had no choice but to close. The creator lost his job during the pandemic, but now he’s found another one and it’s not stopping. “The rhythm of before has been restored, I would say overcome, it’s crazy,” he confirms. He now works (“non-stop”) at Sedka Novias, a chain with stores in Madrid and Alicante and plans to open in Barcelona.
Most couples have endured, as Maria and Juan Jose did, but the coronavirus and the wait have also changed the endings of some fairy tales. Where there was a wedding called, now there is no more couple. According to data from The Knot Worldwide, between 5% and 9% of relationships planned for 2020 have been cancelled.
But weddings, apart from love, also move a lot of money. About 3,500 million euros a year in Spain, according to data (before the pandemic) from consulting firm SingularCover. Postponements, cancellations and the subsequent boom in celebrations are putting a strain on the sector. Davinia Garcia, president of the International Association of Wedding Planners and Event Professionals (AIWPE), talks about a breakneck recovery: While connections are increasing, deadlines are decreasing. “We have a lot and it’s urgent. We get requests from boyfriends who say, “I’m getting married! Can you arrange the wedding for me? And his date is still two months away”, explains the expert, who recommends a year as an ideal time to cover all the preparations in the best possible way. “It’s no longer just for our own peace of mind when it comes to our organization, but because with such a small margin, the suppliers that an event like this needs may not be available,” he clarifies.
Raul Lozano and Mariajo Monge more than complied with the advice. They hired his wedding planner, Frieda Kivi (whom they now insist on thanking), on May 19, 2021. So four days after their wedding this summer, they had decided almost everything. Except for a few open fringes—Raoul wrote the vows at the last minute—they hardly had any serious concerns. And, of course, covid-19 was not one of them. “We haven’t even thought about it. In addition, practically all the closest people have gone through it. At this point I see it like any other disease. It’s like the day before, a guest called me to tell me that he has a temperature of 40 and can’t go,” he said via video call. And to his future wife, the pandemic made him think about other kinds of emotions: “There will be people I haven’t seen in six years. Taking a nap yesterday, I dreamed that I was with Christian, my my friend in college and I started crying. Imagine when it actually happens.”
On her big day, Mariajo experienced several more reunions. Because most of the guests came from his crop. But by what criteria is the list organized after years of imprisonment and fear?
– Mariajo didn’t cut it. Keep inviting people, he laughed.
“She has overcome her shyness because of Raoul,” she added.
Davinia García has noticed the increase in the number of weddings not only on her own agenda – she is the founder of Hada Madrina Events, a company specializing in themed weddings – but also because the wedding season, which traditionally runs from May to October in Spain, is extended to December 31: “Winter weddings are here to stay.”
The pandemic was a difficult phase for professionals in the sector, in which many dropped out, Garcia admits, and others like her took advantage of the opportunity to “reinvent themselves.” The events expert, a 39-year-old resident of Murcia from Cádiz, decided that the running of the bulls was a good time to train marketing, in addition to organizing photo shoots to expand the catalog offered on his website and thus be able to show future newlyweds what kind of celebrations he knows how to recreate.
But also, albeit few, arranged marriages. “There were brave people who got married in 2020 and we offered them alternatives. If the wedding was small, with 30 guests and we had to remain seated, we added more entertainment shows, such as magicians, stand-up comedians, acrobatics, as a different option to the after-lunch or dinner party where everyone is dancing.” , he explains.. Alternative coronavirus which is maintained. So much so that there were even two trampolines in the relationship between Mariajo and Raul. To jump for joy, but a little higher. “Weddings are now celebrated as they were before the pandemic, but improved because there are now more professionals of this type who can be relied on and there are more newlyweds who want these services,” explains Garcia. It was for the next Celtic-themed wedding he celebrated that he was asked to perform a number of illusions and acrobatics.
In his own way, more than a year ago, Raul Lozano was also working magic. Because he found the courage to ask Mariajo to marry him. He had made the decision long ago, but he was missing two key elements: the size of his future wife’s finger and, more importantly, the ring itself: “So I made one for him with a piece of fasten it. And on the other side of the paper it said, “Ring Value.” As cautious as he is, the boyfriend did not delay in completing his plan: “That same evening I measured his finger.” The true union already shines on his wife’s finger. He accompanied her as she sang, danced, hugged and kissed. And that was just the first day. It stays for life.