Weddings After Covid

We are hopefully at the end of a global pandemic. Or close to the end. States are slowly lifting restrictions. Beaches and hiking trails are opening. The world is starting to baby steps work it’s way back to “normal.” But will we ever be normal again when it comes to special events and weddings? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and below are a list of things that I predict we’ll see in weddings in the next year or so. I may be way off base, but if you’re in the middle of wedding planning, you might want to adopt some of these ideas for your “post covid wedding.” I hope this leaves you feeling hopeful and hopeless and inspires new and creative ideas as you try and move forward with your new wedding plans.

Smaller guest counts: I think this one is a given. Especially since it’s under the governor’s order at this point. But even if it wasn’t, I believe that couples really do have their friends and families best interest at heart and they don’t want others to be fearful at their wedding. No one wants that! So, it’s natural that the 400 person wedding may not be making a comeback this year (or next).

Pre-Wedding Communication: Pre covid this usually consisted of 2 simple things. Your save the date and your invitation. Your save the date was typically just that – the date and the city. Some couples include a link to their wedding website. Then your invite had all the details. The time it starts, the address, maybe there was even a map with directions for those hard to find venues. Your websites held all the other details i.e. registry, hotel blocks, cute anecdotes about how the couple got engaged. Now, I’m already seeing a shift in communication before the event. A lot of it is done through email. The days of “emails are tacky” when it comes to weddings have been thrown out the window like a 2019 two hour board meeting with coffee and donuts. Getting your guests emails is so important more than ever. I’m predicting there will be more quick and informal updates as well as more “guidelines” being sent out. For example, if you’ve postponed your wedding and are now doing an intimate smaller event there may be communication like –

“Please be aware of how you feel and how that can affect those around you. If you feel like you have a fever the day of, please stay home and feel free to watch out ceremony on the live feed instead of attending.”

Or things like, “please wash your hands prior to our event and be mindful of social distancing as a way to protect yourself and others on our special day.”

Ceremonies: I have two thoughts on ceremonies. Obviously courthouse (virtual courthouse) weddings are going to be on the rise, if not already. In California you can do everything online. So, I think there are going to be 2 different camps. Those that do that and then they are married and they move on and that’s that. Big wedding cancelled, but what matters most is that they are legally married and the couple can move on with their lives – which face it – when you’re facing a crashing economy and a global pandemic, that’s about all anyone can handle. Then there are going to be the couples that have the quiet courthouse ceremony or elopement and then choose to have the party later – like next year. I don’t think either are wrong… but I anticipate a lot of “just receptions” next year.

Guest Seating: Along with the guest count lowering… I think we’re going to see a shift in how we do receptions overall. I predict we’ll have many more “cocktail party” style receptions where there are a lot of high top tables, barstools (or maybe standing only) where guests are encouraged to mingle about, but not forced to sit 10 per table eating right next to others. Now, this may be extreme and maybe we’ll start to see regular receptions on the rise come winter (which would be amazing!) but I could see a shift in how couples strategize seating charts. Instead of “the college friends table” or the dreaded “singles table” we may see more families or all people from one area all sitting together. And on a super practical note: I don’t believe we’re going to have seating charts with the cutesy little items on them anymore. The less we touch the better. I think we’ll see a huge influx of larger boards and displays.

Food & Drink: This one is a tough one. I’ve heard so many differing things on this topic. But here are my initial thoughts. I think we’re going to see the plated dinner make a big comeback! I don’t think we’ll see buffets or family style for awhile now. And this is not a small thing. Often time plated meals are more expensive and require more catering staff. So be mindful of this when thinking about your budget and if you haven’t already – discussed this with your caterer asap. Now for the bar… so if you haven’t worked weddings, you probably don’t know how GROSS bars can get. I don’t mean any disrespect to bartenders… it’s just the nature of the game, needless to say… they can get “sticky” (that’s a nice way to say it) and think of all the elbows and hands that touch the edge of a bar, the spilt drinks, the germs. oy. While I don’t think bars will disappear entirely. I can see couples opting to serve bottled beer and canned wine/cocktails exclusively OR getting creative and putting up acrylic barriers grocery store style… but to be honest, bar lines are the most un-socially distance areas at a wedding so I think cute stations where you can grab a can of whatever is the smartest way to go!

Music & Dancing: UGH the best part of a wedding reception! While I don’t think this will go away entirely… I think we may see a shift to more dinner party/cocktail party style receptions where music is important but more as a background ambiance and the dancing is limited to the parent dances and first dance. This may be too extreme, but if you’re a couple wanting to throw a party but you want to be super cautious – this might be the vibe you go for.

Favors/Giveaways: Covid or no covid – I’m not a huge supporter of favors at all. As a planner… I see my couples spend so much time and energy thinking of cute ideas, spend their hard earned money, and then at the end of it all… about 70% of them are all left on the tables at the end of the night. As humans we value connection above all (or we should) so it’s not surprise that a little trinket isn’t what your guests will talk about 5 years after your wedding. However, in a post covid world – I could see couples offering hand wipes or mini sanitizers at each place setting. Not as a cutesy “thanks-for-sharing-this-special-day-with-us-tchotchke but as a “we’re-thinking-of-you-and-your-safety” thing. I truly don’t see handing out face masks as a “think you do at weddings now” thing. If your guests all have to wear masks… you probably aren’t in the mindset to even have your wedding to begin with.

Decor: This is a fun one. With our guests counts getting smaller, our spaces looking a little different – there are so many opportunities to make the decor special, intimate, custom, you name it! Money may be saved in other areas that allow you to spend money on fun details like signage, or cute drink stations like we talked about earlier. Maybe instead of renting napkins you hand dye your own – I don’t know but there is so much negative and unknown in the world right now and I believe this is the one shining star in it all and couples should take time out of the crazy to have FUN with this.

When all is said and done. We truly don’t know what the future holds for weddings or the world as we know it. But what I do know is that love is going to just stop. People will get married. They will make it special even if it’s over a zoom court process. It will be a story and it will be THEIR story. What sort of wedding you have has ZERO indication on what your life and marriage will ultimately look like at 80 years old and THAT is what we should put our focus on.

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