This really is an unpredictable time for weddings. Thousands (if not more) of various events around the globe are on hold, postponed, or even cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. This leaves a lot of people thinking if, when, or how their wedding will happen. As COVID-19 restrictions are starting to lift, couples, the wedding industry, and even various governments are starting to picture how weddings during and post-pandemic will look like. The situation of each future newlyweds varies around the world.
Various activities have been moved online such as shopping, meetings, classes, and other social events, and now even wedding ceremonies are allowed to be done virtually by a new law. A new executive order by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo allows clerks to conduct online ceremonies and for couples to obtain marriage licenses remotely - as he also stated in a tweet. A provision of this executive order even permits clerks who were issued marriage licenses but will expire during the period wherein people are still required to distance from one another, to be waived from the 60 days required to get a marriage license within the period of the declared emergency in the state of New York. The Governor even waived the fees of obtaining a second marriage license (1,4,9).
In the UK, most weddings have already been canceled following the national guidance issued by the government. The country is still under strict COVID-19 restrictions. It is essential that everybody follows the key behaviors as issued by the government; regularly watching your hands, wearing face coverings especially indoors where you come in close contact with people you don’t usually meet often, and staying two meters apart from people you do not live with(2).
For some couples in India, their usual festive, colorful, and big weddings are shaved down to the bare essentials - this really shows how couples stay through thick and thin. A vast number of guests are replaced with nearly as many mobile phones and recording devices placed in front of them for their friends and family who could not make it to their wedding ceremony (2,3).
In a normal year, a lot of us would have been busy attending summer events and gatherings such as weddings - we would have been busy looking for our wedding attires, suits, sundresses, and looking for cute gifts for the happy couples. But 2020 is not a normal year. With the pandemic, there are huge shifts in trends in the wedding industry and how it normally functions. Below are the future possible trends in the wedding industry for the foreseeable future.
Traditional weddings to intimate elopements
It is no secret that weddings constitute mass gatherings and mass gatherings are frowned upon in this time of the pandemic. Only a number of people are allowed in public spaces because of social distancing restrictions. Many of the couple’s friends and relatives are more likely not allowed to travel far and overseas, the guest list will no longer be filled with hundreds of people. Couples may have to consider intimate elopements with the closest family members and friends can attend.
The silver lining of this pandemic shows us that now more than ever our family, relationships, and commitments are very important. Weddings will be less fluff and ceremonies will be shorter, more intimate and purposeful and genuine - more family-centric. Wedding planning will be less stressful and lets you focus on the simple and important things - that it really is all about You. (4,5,6,7,8,9)
Health and safety as the priority
For couples who decide to push through with their wedding ceremonies, having sanitation stations and additional cleaning measures must be ensured in your wedding venue. Hand sanitizers, alcohol, face masks, antimicrobial wipes, and even gloves must be readily available for your guests. Even wedding vendors should observe their own cleaning and sanitation measures on top of yours. You should not shy away from asking your wedding vendors what their health and safety protocols they have put in place for the ceremony and if they could also follow your safety precautions - you can never be too careful!
Inviting fewer guests and ensuring proper sanitation and hygiene are great basic steps, adjusting seating arrangements will also add to you and your guests safety. There will be fewer guests sitting in one table and chairs and tables will have to be spaced further apart from each other. Additionally, you should also consider guests who are more at risk such as the elderly and those who are prone to sickness. Make sure they aren’t seated next to those who are frequently going outside and socialize for work. (6,7,8,9)
Weddings with ceremony only
In the weddings that have been pushed through by couples, they opted to have the ceremony only or a civil wedding followed by a simple lunch gathering. This way everyone can still enjoy each other’s company with good food after a simple ceremony. Wedding banquets and lavish food will have to be set for a later date.
Policies on refund, scheduling, and cancellations
This is one of the most important things that should be discussed. When the pandemic and lockdown started a lot of couples were asking “Well, what should we do about cancellations and refunds?” Most wedding vendors have contracts that have non-refundable deposits - having non-refundable deposits ensures that they are paid for the preparations done before the event.
Since the lockdown we will be expecting changes made to these policies for the foreseeable future. As couples are now unwilling or hesitant in paying these non-refundable deposits, as some couples have lost hundreds or even thousands of dollars because of the lockdown caused by the pandemic. We should see more flexible contracts made by wedding vendors that benefit both the client and themselves (3,10).
Increased demand for wedding live stream
With limited guests for your weddings, demand for live streaming will be on the rise. Local wedding photographers are even teaming up with videographers to stream your weddings via Zoom and Facebook live for your friends and family both near and far. Even photography and videography packages are getting smaller and smaller, too. Before the lockdown, photographers would spend hours at huge weddings, but now they can focus on fewer people and this can even result in better pictures (4,9).
The pandemic did change the future of weddings and the wedding industry, but this doesn’t mean you can no longer memorialize your love for one another.