“I went from doing over a hundred weddings a year to just 30 last year, it was horrible.”
“We were able to endure thanks to our heritage, since there were few dared to marry,” he says. Malena Estrany, designer, pattern maker and partner with Paula Vives from the Lena and Lena haute couture workshop, specialized in wedding dresses and one of the few artisan workshops on the island in this area. They opened the company at the end of 2019, just four months before the start of the lockdown. “We started well and with enthusiasm, but the pandemic was a very hard blow for us, we could not believe it,” they recall.
Due to the difficulties faced by companies in the sector, Last year they created the Association of Professionals for Weddings and Events of the Balearic Islands (APBEB), an entity that already has more than one hundred partners. “It has allowed us to create synergies, unite and discuss everything that affects us, it has been very positive,” underlines Pedro Llabrés, who is also the president of the entity, and vice president of the Spanish federation of the union. “It gives us strength and strength as a sector,” he points out. Patricia Mulet, from Ritual Mallorca, a company dedicated to organizing weddings and gala events, such as the last of Lexus Spain that took place in Palma in September.
The professionals consulted by this newspaper affirm that this year there has been more activity than in 2020, mainly due to the improvement in the health situation, but the constant variation of restrictions has made it difficult to normalize the season. “We have operated very cautiously due to restrictions, last minute changes and adapting to all limitations,” he explains. Olga Vélez, from the Garmendia Catering and Events company, which has been in the sector for two decades. “There has been constant improvisation but you have to adapt, since we came from an extremely hard year,” adds Malena Estrany.
A “chaotic” 2022
The bad news from the last two wedding seasons will not become a trend, but The Balearic Islands, and especially Mallorca, in 2022 will experience a “chaotic” summer, according to businessmen in the sector. The islands are a sun and beach tourist destination, but in recent years a Mallorca as a wedding destination, practically worldwide. To get an idea, according to the president of the APBEB,Before the pandemic in the Balearic Islands, 30% of marriages in Spain took place, that despite the fact that many did not register here, they were celebrated.
Above all, what is increasing are the wedding events of foreign couples. “Couples from all over Europe, North America, India or Australia come here to marry,” Llabrés points out. “The pandemic has not disengaged foreigners, but we even have more international demand,” says Olga Vélez.
In this way, one of the reasons that explain the relative mediocrity of the current season is that foreigners want to marry without restrictions and in style, which has forced them to be postponed to next year. We are talking about weddings that, in many cases, “exceed a budget of one hundred thousand euros and take place over two or more days”, according to Pedro Llabrés. “They do not want us to offer a wedding, but rather an experience of several days in the Mediterranean, it is a change of concept. For example, they want a wedding day, but the day before a wine tasting or a gastronomic tasting ”, clarifies Patricia Mulet.
This overlap of the 2020 and 2021 seasons with that of 2022 has meant that, in the cases of Patricia Mulet and Olga Vélez, dedicated to the organization of weddings, especially foreign ones, have overbooking on all weekends of the season next year, a fact that also happens in several farms, which has led to proposing weddings during the week to cover the demand. Also, already “a lot” of work is being done in 2023, with “quite a few” dates reserved. “Those who have not booked catering or the farm will have availability problems in 2022”they warn.
Wedding and luxury destination
“Clearly, Mallorca is a destination wedding (‘destination of weddings’, in English)”, highlights Vélez. “Before the coronavirus it was just another destination, but after the pandemic the customer is changing and Mallorca will be an iconic wedding destination, a benchmark”, stresses for his part Mulet. “Speaking with different sectors that deal with foreigners such as real estate, we are very clear that the island will be a luxury destination, and it is already beginning to be an icon worldwide. Not anymore Ibiza, otherwise Mallorca. People who have money and want quality, choose Mallorca ”, he adds. In fact, as this newspaper explained, in mid-August luxury tourism on the island was close to 90% occupancy, values similar to those of the season prior to the pandemic.
At the European level, germans and British They are the ones who mostly decide to marry in Mallorca, as in the tourism sector in general, but there is a great rebound for 2022 and 2023 of French and Nordic people, basically Norwegians and Swedes. However, the market North American -above all U.S– is being promoted by leaps and bounds. “From 2017 to 2019 we increased with many Americans, and now it increases even more. They are clients with high purchasing power, and they tell you that Mallorca has an atmosphere and vibes that cannot be found elsewhere, they love the bright sun, the atmosphere and the island in general», Says the Ritual Mallorca wedding planner.
In relation to this, there is a fact that can further enhance this market, and that is the opening of the direct airline between Palma and New York starting next June, a Balearic demand that has already become a reality. . “I am confident that there will be an avalanche of North Americans who will come to marry here, we are a world reference and we will be even more so”, affirms the president of the APBEB. “This new connection scares me, in a good sense of the word. Mallorca must prepare for the number of weddings it will have, this is going to change ”, predicts Mulet.
A sector with a view to FITUR
Last Sunday the platform ‘Your wedding in Mallorca’ organized a fair in Algaida who met a a large number of island stakeholders and companies related to the bridal world, mainly from the Balearic entity. “The fair made a great impression on all those present, especially because of the feeling that was breathed, the desire to face with energy next year and the illusion to celebrate a large number of weddings”, highlights the designer Malena Estrany.
This was a first staging of the APBEB, whose great future objective is to be present at the International Tourism Fair (FITUR) in Madrid, one of the most important and prestigious in the world. “We have had contacts with the Government and they are receptive, we want to participate in FITUR to definitively present Mallorca and the Balearic Islands as a wedding destination, more than what we are currently”, underlines the president of the Balearic association.
“We have set the guidelines for other associations”
“We were the first to achieve positive results in the respective regional Parliament, we set the guidelines for the other professional associations in the field of weddings to claim their demands,” highlights andThe president of the APBEB, Pedro Llabrés. Since its constitution last year, the association has achieved “Have contact with the different parties of the Government and the opposition”, and although this year efforts have focused on “saving the season”, have negotiated that the Balearic Executive request the central government the National Code of Economic Activities (CNAE) for the sector, necessary to receive aid, and thus being the first community in this regard. “We are waiting for the go-ahead from Europe,” concludes Llabrés.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.