WeddingWire Creative Director, Jeffra Trumpower, recently sat down with News4Jax to describe how weddings and the wedding industry are changing amid the global pandemic. Many of the changes are exactly what you would expect. According to Trumpower, pandemic weddings are markedly smaller, engagements are longer, and couples are spending more on the little details.
Most notably, many soon-to-be newlyweds are forgoing activities and practices that are not COVID-19 friendly. For example, buffet-style meals and open bars are dramatically less common than they used to be. Instead, couples are opting for alternatives that keep food safe and covered and limit guests to small pods or groups as often as humanly possible. Likewise, celebrations look very different. Instead of throwing one big dance party for the reception, most are looking into alternative forms of entertainment.
For safe, beautiful, and memorable weddings in 2021, follow these tips for newly engaged couples planning a wedding during the coronavirus pandemic.
Weddings Looked Different In 2020
As the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic hit, weddings in 2020 began to look very different. Before news of the pandemic, national lockdowns, and subsequent security restrictions broke, there were as many as 44,230 weddings in the U.S. every weekend. According to CNBC, engaged couples postponed thousands of weddings as restrictions went into place in March, April, and May.
However, for most, the draw of getting married is not about the big to-do and a large ceremony. Instead, it is a celebration of love and the couple’s ongoing commitment to one another. Recognizing this, many romantic partners began making adjustments to their wedding plans instead of putting them off or canceling them altogether. The unconventional — but just as poignant — 2020 wedding emerged. What did these weddings look like?
One, wedding parties and guests wear masks. At one time, wedding flowers may have been one of the most — if not the most — important accessory of the day. In 2020, couples continued to spruce up small venues and makeshift venues with flowers, dried blossoms, and greenery. However, one of the most important accessories and one that will likely be unique to weddings in 2020 and 2021 is the face mask. Couples made the best of circumstances by providing face masks to all guests, printing personalized masks for the wedding party, and/or wearing masks made from lace and silk with pearl, embroidery, and bead embellishments.
Secondly, small, intimate details — and sometimes luxurious ones, too, were prioritized. A lengthy guest list can have some unexpected drawbacks. When you are paying per head for meals and/or for the open bar, costs add up quickly. Without those costs, brides and grooms in 2020 had the freedom to pay for nostalgic little details. Couples who wished to customize small details to honor their memories, passions, or interests had more funds in their budget to do it. Likewise, they also had the funds for some larger concessions as well. While some couples may not rent an expensive, luxury car to drive them to and from their ceremony in a typical year to cut costs, couples who tied the knot in 2020 had the extra funds to do so.
Third, there were one-of-a-kind celebrations. Further, couples who wed in 2020 got creative. Some skipped the reception altogether — opting for private tours on a boat or a photo shoot in an exotic outdoor location instead. For those who chose to have a small group gathering, this gathering looked very different. Newlyweds sought out entertainment that did not involve dancing close together. Thanks to these weddings, Brides magazine predicts, “Groups like aerialists, harpists, and performance artists will be at the epicenter of the celebration [in the years to come]”.
Finally, dramatic send-offs were popular. To limit exposure, some couples skipped the reception. Instead, they asked friends and family to meet after the ceremony and to send them off while social distancing. Send-offs included elaborate exits in fancy classic cars with sparklers, glowsticks, and more.
Weddings in 2020 looked unlike weddings we have seen in the past. Because crowded weddings with lots of guests would end with many paying a visit to his or her physician — or worse — the majority of couples chose understated but beautiful and memorable alternatives. These weddings help serve as an example. Many magazines and wedding planners are using these weddings to come up with tips for newly engaged couples tying the knot in 2021 or 2022.
How Will Weddings Look in the Upcoming Years?
Now that we know what weddings looked like in 2020, we can use that information to come up with tips for newly engaged couples who are in the process of planning a wedding for 2021 and 2022.
Tips for newly engaged couples planning a wedding in 2021 or 2022 will look different than tips for weddings during the brunt of the pandemic, but perhaps not as different as you might think.
The rollout of the vaccine is promising, but Dr. Anthony Fauci and other medical experts remind the general public that precautions, like wearing masks and social distancing, will likely remain necessary for the foreseeable future. These precautions will be necessary until at least September or October 2021, but it is possible that wearing masks and social distancing will remain the norm for much longer. The exact timeline depends on the rollout of the vaccine, the availability of the vaccine, and the number of people who get vaccinated.
Here are some tips for newly engaged couples depending on when they intend to tie the knot.
Winter, Spring, and Summer 2021:
Thousands of soon-to-be newlyweds postponed their weddings until early or mid-2021 anticipating the end of the pandemic and pandemic-related restrictions. Unfortunately, this will not be the case. While some groups are starting to get the COVID-19 vaccine, vaccinations are still so few and far between it is inadvisable to throw a wedding without masks and social distancing.
If you are planning to make it official before fall this year, officials recommend keeping weddings small. Opt for restaurant-style or family-style, sit-down meals instead of appetizers and buffets. Hold receptions outdoors whenever possible, and consider entertainment that guests can enjoy mostly from their seats, like comedians or even karaoke. (Just ask guests to perform on their own or with other members of their households.)
Couples should continue making weddings their own and prioritizing the small details. Instead of adding more friends and family to the guest list, invest in professional teeth whitening and professional makeup for your wedding pictures.
Fall And Winter 2021:
When it comes to Fall and Winter 2021, things are less certain. “The promise of a vaccine, wedding experts said, has given couples a renewed sense of optimism,” NBC reports. Even so, the best tips for newly engaged couples are flexible ones — and ones that consider that our progress may or may not be where we want it to be in Fall and Winter 2021.
Couples should continue to make compromises wherever possible. For example, instead of planning to hire a large, live band or rent a dance floor, look into solo pianists or wedding singers who can put on a lively and engaging show.
Likewise, instead of planning a large reception with dozens — or even hundreds — of guests consider renting pontoon boats for more intimate celebrations. These celebrations can be just as lively, but give you the freedom to limit guests to those who have had the vaccine or ask guests to wear masks if it is still necessary.
2022 And Beyond:
According to Business Insider, we can expect herd immunity in 2022 if three-fourths of Americans get vaccinated. Of course, some regions are more vigilant than others and reaching those numbers may be a struggle at first.
When we meet them, it may very well be possible to throw more traditional weddings with larger guest lists. Wedding planners predict that more and more couples are catching on to the benefits of more intimate ceremonies and receptions — and expect that the trend toward smaller weddings will continue even after the pandemic is reasonably under control.
For now and for the foreseeable future, medical experts urge newlyweds to plan honeymoons at home or as close to home as possible. Here are tips for newly engaged couples planning a honeymoon in 2021:
First, international honeymoons will be limited or impossible in 2021. Keep your expectations in check. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of uncertainty in 2021. Even with the rollout of the vaccine, new strains of the virus are making their way across Europe and emerging in far-off parts of the globe, like Australia. That means international travel will not be possible — or will remain severely limited — for the near future. To establish realistic honeymoon plans and keep them, don’t plan international travel in 2021.
Secondly, make it feel special. If you will be staying home for your honeymoon, the best tips for newly engaged couples and newly married couples is to take steps to make it special. If you always dreamed of owning a Mercedes, find one and find Mercedes Benz parts online before the wedding. Make it your gift to one another, and get it out on the road for your honeymoon.
Making it special does not have to break the bank. Consider your passions and use your at-home honeymoon as an opportunity to explore them. For example, if off-roading is one of your shared interests, talk to a local ATV dealer about purchasing an ATV or renting one for the duration of your honeymoon.
Finally, find hidden gems near you. Is there a quaint waterfall near you? What about some hot springs? Do some digging. The number of hidden gems near you — or within just a short drive — may surprise you.
Free Wedding Dress Giveaways
Other important tips for newly engaged couples getting married in 2021 and 2022 involve their wedding budgets. Unfortunately, the pandemic left many people temporarily or even permanently unemployed. Employers cut hours or, in some cases, reduced bonuses and pay. As such, partners do not have quite as much to spend on their weddings as they may have had in years past.
If this describes you, take advantage of contests, free stuff, discounts, sales, and time-sensitive promotions. For example, many wedding venues are offering weekday weddings or weddings during less conventional time slots, like brunch, at a heavily discounted rate.
Healthcare workers, frontline workers, and military may be eligible for free wedding dresses, thanks to bridal groups like Pronovias and charitable organizations like Brides for a Cause.
Couples Start Their New Lives Together Within The Home
Tips for newly engaged couples tend to narrowly focus on the wedding and honeymoon without any discussion of what comes after. It is just as important for soon-to-be brides and grooms to consider what comes next.
Plan where you will be living during the first few years of marriage. If that includes purchasing a house, discuss what you would like out of a house and where you can and cannot compromise. For example, if you are willing to buy a slightly older house with a plan for a kitchen renovation within five to 10 years or a house with outdated windows as long as you purchase quality window treatments, communicate these must-haves and would-like-to-haves to your partner.
Helping Couples Safely Tie The Knot Moving Forward
Remember, many medical experts predict coronavirus will become endemic for years to come. That means vaccinations will be a necessary part of life.
Just like getting vaccinations and immunizations is a routine part of child care today, getting the coronavirus vaccine may become just as routine for young people (and for those who are not vaccinated) in the future.
Knowing that your friends’ children are up-to-date on their immunizations will be just as important to schools, large gatherings, and weddings as it is today.
Moreover, people can count on extra precautions in medical settings to remain in place. Whether you are going to the hospital, seeing your primary care doctor, or seeing a specialist or cosmetic surgeon, like a face lift doctor, responsible medical professionals will continue wearing masks and frequently disinfect equipment and surfaces. Remember these measures are in place to protect you as you go about your day-to-day life or even as you attend weddings in 2022 and beyond.
Weddings in 2020 looked very different. That is likely to continue for much of 2021 and possibly even into 2022. Tips for newly engaged couples should consider all possibilities and prioritize creativity and making memories over large guest lists.