It comes as no surprise, that just like every other aspect of our lives, the COVID-19 Crisis brought the wedding industry perhaps the most radical wedding shifts we’ve seen in a century. Gone are the coveted days of squeezing as many guests as would fit into a packed venue or bursting hotel ballroom. Instead COVID-related crowd concerns, along with now-eased gathering restrictions, brought us pared-down guest lists and intimate nuptials. Carefully planned and socially distanced mega-celebrations have been held as well, often under the stars or in spacious tented settings. Here are some of the wedding trends we’ve seen this past year, and that we see continuing into 2021. Congrats to those wedding couples and their families who have, and who will, overcome the pandemic to hold, if not the wedding of their dreams, amazing Celebrations of Love, creatively reimagined.
‘Remote Wedding Planning’, whether from the comfort of your own home or virtual office, has never been easier. All but unheard of pre-pandemic, virtually all wedding products and service offerings have adapted to remote environments, and adopted virtual planning and consultation tools. With Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams or old-fashioned FaceTime, wedding couples can virtually view and select their venue, and everything that will fill it in. From the cake to flowers, from décor to entertainment – most of what you want and need for your special day is available to view and select at the click of a button.
Rentals and décor are no exception to this new way of meeting your wedding ceremony and reception needs. At our company, Party Time Rentals, several alternatives to visiting our showroom are available. Though our physical location continues to be open by appointment to those who prefer making their selections and conducting business face-to-face, we, like most vendors, offer a website that doubles as a “virtual showroom”. At partytimerentals.com, and most other wedding rental websites, you’ll find images of wedding and décor inventory, as well as budget-planning pricing information. Rental options can be viewed on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Creating an online itemized ‘Wish List’ is easy and painless! Those who crave the personal touch are invited to contact an event consultant, where a personalized video conferencing appointment on the platform of your choice can be arranged. Other remote concessions are available too, like receiving linen samples and swatches by mail, for example. Savvy wedding vendors are making wedding shopping convenient for you – where you are and when they’re needed.
Microweddings, generally including the wedding couple, close family, and no more than 20 (or so) guests, are here to stay. Intimate weddings allow for redirecting your wedding budget to enhancing every guest’s experience and adding awesome elements that may be out of reach with a large guest list. Hosting fewer guests enables couples to customize, and personalize, every wedding aspect. Rather than repurposing bouquets for centerpieces, or choosing carnations rather than roses, custom floral installations for the ceremony and lush arrangements for your guest tables are now affordable. Where basic white tablecloths might have been the only option, a luxuriously smooth, velvety champagne linen is now a possibility. Finger foods can be upgraded to passed hors d’oeuvres for appetizers; and an elegant sit-down, plated dinner, in lieu of a buffet, can be served. Upgraded Ceremony and Reception options are endless – and all available to weddings with smaller guest lists without breaking the wedding bank.
Even with gathering restrictions in place, many couples who married in the past year, or who are planning their summer, fall, and Holiday season 2021 weddings are hosting elaborate, extended-guest-list celebrations. Families who regard their “social obligations” as very important or who simply can’t bear to tell their 2nd cousin, twice removed, they’re no longer invited to the wedding are proceeding, albeit with pandemic precautions in place, with their ideal wedding vision.
Carefully planned and responsibly executed, Macroweddings are possible, even in today’s cautious gathering environment. Installing tents to expand the event space; using larger tables for fewer, properly socially-distanced guests; placing smaller tables for family groups or households of 2 to 4 guests; setting aside “safe space” for elderly or otherwise vulnerable guests – all of these important steps make Macroweddings feasible. Ample PPE (personal protection equipment such as masks, hand sanitizer stations and more), graced with the couple’s monogram or some other personalizing element, can increase everyone’s comfort level.
Although 2020 was the year of postponement, many couples opted to get legally married, but moved their reception to 2021. Hence the phrase “marry now and party later”. This year we will see lots of quick vow renewals followed by a fabulous celebration. Guest counts will vary, as will the event look, style, and vibe – but a good time will be had by all. Many wedding traditions will find their way into some Sequels, while others will be more cocktail party-ish or dance party-esque. Either way, a solid plan, great venue, carefully chosen vendors, and amazing rental support will help make it all come together.
While we might have come to this point somewhere, sometime down the line, the pace of change in what wedding couples want and how to make “it” happen has certainly been accelerated by last year’s events. And we’re not talking just about health – we’re talking political upheaval and social change and economic challenges as well. Many among us have suffered, personally and professionally, in this past year. Others are doing better than ever – having more and enjoying more of what they have. Weddings aren’t the only thing reinvented in 2020. But one thing hasn’t changed, and likely never will. When two people join hearts and hands and enter a married-life together among family and friends, there will be joy, love, and laughter. No matter how the wedding scene evolves over time, love and hope will remain.