Britain's wedding season struggles under weight of post-pandemic surge

Summer wedding season hit by supply-chain crisis due post Covid booking surge: Clothing firms warn of lack of KILTS, brides face delays to dress orders… and there’s a shortage of ‘butlers in the buff’ for hen dos

  • National kilt shortage threatens celebrations for thousands of Scottish couples 
  • Fabric suppliers have warned wedding industry unprepared for surge in demand 
  • Supply chain issues also threatening phallic-shaped straws – a hen do favourite 

Grooms are scrambling to get hold of kilts and brides face delays to dress orders as the supply chain crisis hits the summer wedding season following surge in bookings.

Demand for the traditional tartan clothing is outstripping supply with hire companies saying they don’t have enough to go around as couples rush to tie the knot after the pandemic.

Hundreds of couples across the UK have been waiting up to two years to get married following to a series of pandemic-induced delays and cancellations.

But with the wedding industry bracing for a return to pre-pandemic levels of demand, manufacturers and suppliers have warned they are struggling to keep pace.

Fabric suppliers had warned of severe delays to lace, trims and other accessories – with extended wait times for new veils and headpieces for the summer season.

Phallic plastic straws, a favourite among those attending hen parties across the country, are also a casualty of the uptick in wedding preparations.

And companies employing ‘butlers in the buff’ have reported a ‘national shortage’ in the number of men willing to remove their clothes for hen do celebrations.

A shortage of kilts has left Scottish grooms red-faced as surging demand continues to threaten the plans of millions of couples following two years of crippling delays and cuts to weddings [File image]

Companies employing ‘butlers in the buff’ have reported a ‘national shortage’ in the number of men willing to remove their clothes for hen do celebrations. [File image]

It can cost around £150 to hire a full kilt outfit – including sporran, kilt pin, belt, socks, brogues, waistcoat, tie, flashes, and kilt itself – and anywhere between £250-£500 to buy a brand-new kilt.

Kilts4u, which rents out the traditional dress across Scotland, said they were seeing more than 400 hires a week and are booked every day until October.

Iain Carlton, the owner of Kilts4U, said the entire industry was facing ‘significant strain’.

‘We’re just about to enter a period where we’re running over 400 kilt hires a week, which is a significant number for any company to deal with’, he said.

Bosses at A1 Kilt hire – which has shops in Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh – said there had been a two year build up in people wanting to get hitched.

David Dalrymple, of A1 Kilt, said: ‘Some people have been waiting since early 2020 to tie the knot.

‘There are also those who cancelled in 2021, plus couples who had always planned to get married in 2022, and they are all trying to secure a kilt for their big day.’

Aaron Taylor, 49, of Edinburgh, said he got hitched in tartan trousers last week because he couldn’t hire a kilt in time for his wedding to now wife Marion.

He said: ‘I ended up in tartan trousers rather than a kilt because I just couldn’t find anywhere to hire one from and I wasn’t going to spend £500 odd on the full works.’

Those hoping to wear the traditional tartan garment for their nuptial could be left disappointed this summer with the demand for wedding kilts outstripping supply. [File image]

Supply chain issues have continued to plague the wedding industry, with China’s draconian return to lockdown threatening fabric suppliers back in Britain.

The delivery of shoes and accessories are also understood to have been affected.

Issues are also now extending to hen party preparations, with Britain’s supply of phallic plastic straws under threat because of President Xi’s ‘Zero Covid’ policy.

Around 250,000 ‘willy-shaped straws’ are sold in any given year, but business owners are warning their dwindling supplies are rapidly running out. 

Fabric suppliers had warned of severe delays to lace, trims and other accessories – with extended wait times for newly made veils and headpieces for the summer season. [File image]

Matt Mavir, who runs party planning service Last Night of Freedom, told the Sun: ‘We are in peak period for the party season but we can’t get enough penis products to meet demand.

‘The on-and-off lockdowns that China keeps imposing are the biggest factor. Once products are made, we’ve seen a near five-fold increase in the cost of getting them shipped.

‘Even then, they are incredibly slow to arrive.’

Dan Harley, the director of Butlers with Bums told PlymouthLive that a ‘national shortage of naked men’ was proving to be a significant challenge to his business. 

Dan said: ‘We have a lot of demand for our buff butlers across the UK right now for hen dos, birthday parties and corporate events, but because of the pandemic, there is a national shortage of guys, and it is becoming a big problem for us.’

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