This year and last have been challenging for couples looking to marry. Not only have they faced issues with business shutdowns and local restrictions. Many have also been faced with having their big day cancelled or delayed numerous times. It is estimated that approximately 71% of couples postponed their wedding due to COVID, with some choosing to cancel altogether until the world felt more stable. And then, some refused to wait. Those who decided, ‘No! I want to say ‘I Do’ and I’m going to say ‘I Do’.

What Changed?

For many couples, the months and years spent organising their weddings was the drive they needed to push back. Yes, guest numbers would have to be cut – sometimes significantly. Yes, they may not have been able to get married in the venue they’d dreamt about for so long. And yes, maybe they wouldn’t be able to adorn their guest’s plates with those difficult-to-source canapes they fell in love with. But, that didn’t mean that they couldn’t become eternally joined with the one they loved.

The rise of micro weddings has seen people throw away long guest lists and drill them down to a select few. Others instead opted for a registry office ceremony, simply to become Mr and Mrs. Original plans may have been put on hold, but people continued to go out and celebrate their love. They continued to mark a special moment in their relationship with a commitment to each other. And for all of those that weren’t able to join them on their big day, there was always a sequel wedding.

What is a Sequel to a Wedding?

2022 is the year of the sequel wedding. As the name suggests, they are weddings with multiple parts, spread over different celebrations at different times. The restrictions from the pandemic allowed couples to have a small legal ceremony and an intimate reception. However, there were still family and friends who weren’t able to join in the celebrations. So, organising a sequel reception has become the new norm.

With many couples restricted in 2021, it seems that 2022 will be the year that many finally get to celebrate with their loved ones. The year of the huge celebration – one that has everything you ever wanted for your first and brings everyone together. While the couple is already legally married, many choose to host a symbolic ceremony that relives the moment they said I Do for everyone else to enjoy.

Why Choose a Sequel Wedding?

Yes, the pandemic fueled an uplift in sequel weddings but they’re certainly not a normal thing. For many different reasons, couples have chosen to host multiple celebrations for their big day. These may include:

  • Wanting a destination wedding but not being able to afford a larger party. Instead, an intimate group travels abroad and a larger group celebrates in the home country, at a later date.
  • Wanting an elderly or ill loved one to be there on your special day but being strapped for time.
  • Not being able to get a loved one into your country because of travel restrictions.
  • Having a different religion to your partner and wishing to honour both separately.
  • Being unable to afford your big day but still wanting (or needing) to get married.
  • To keep the celebrations rolling for as long as possible.

How to Plan a Sequel Wedding

Take into account the fact that planning a sequel wedding is, essentially, planning more than one event. Therefore, while it is similar to organising a single wedding day, it will likely cost more and take more time to sort out. Here are our tips for organising yours now:


Be even more organised with your budget than normal. While legal ceremonies and intimate celebrations won’t cost as much as a full big day, you need to take in the ancillary costs of both days. If you’re looking to keep costs down, have the ceremony in the registry office and invite your close group back to your house to celebrate afterwards. Then, when you want to throw the lavish second celebration, consider hiring a large marquee and erecting it in a beautiful outdoors location. You’ll have more money to spend on decorations and be able to personalise both events to suit your needs exactly.

Consider Guest Lists

You may have already written up your full guest list. Now is the time to break it down into who gets an invite to each celebration. You may choose to keep the smaller ceremony to intimate family members – parents, children and close family friends. And then, extend the rest of your invite to the other people who are so loved in your life. Or maybe, you want a 50/50 split or even to double-up on some guests. Have a clear discussion with your partner and work out who needs invitations and to what celebration.


When do you want both celebrations to be? Lots of couples are choosing to host their reception celebrations on the first anniversary of their legal marriage day. This keeps a certain date special, giving you one date to celebrate each year and to hold cherished memories.

Virtual or In-person

If you are desperate for more people to celebrate your legal ceremony with you, consider inviting them digitally. In wake of the pandemic, many venues have found innovative ways to allow people to log in to a live stream and watch you say your vowels. This is something you could even consider incorporating into your second celebration – especially if you have loved ones abroad that cannot travel or elderly/ill family members.

More and more couples are opting for sequel weddings in a bid to make sure everyone they love gets to celebrate together. Here at South West Marquees, we have helped hundreds of couples fulfil their second reception dreams with customised spaces set up in the most beautiful locations. If you have any questions or would like to speak to a member of our team, please do get in contact with us here today.