COVID-19 has changed a lot about the world. It’s changed how we shop, how we work, how we visit friends and how we spend our money. Planning for the future has become much more difficult as we wait to see what happens with community shutdowns, social gathering restrictions and community bylaws. For the wedding industry that relies pretty much entirely on long-term planning, gathering people and eating and drinking in tight spaces, COVID has been a real pain in the ass.
It’s been amazing to watch as couples around the world adapt to new group restrictions and planning abilities. The creativity of couples to have backyard weddings, social distancing weddings and virtual weddings helps to bring some moments of joy into an uncertain world.
Any “standards” that may have existed for weddings before spring of 2020 are long gone. COVID has changed weddings in the short term but there are still so many of these trends that may continue long into the future. Here are my 5 top ways that COVID will change weddings and the wedding industry in the future.
1. Long-Distance Guests & Technology
One of my favourite changes happening at weddings is couples who now use technology to bring guests into the celebration. In the past friends and family may not have been able to attend weddings because of budget constraints or health reasons. With video calling and ZOOM becoming such an every-day part of our lives we will start seeing more virtual guests attending weddings than ever. Long-distance love doesn’t have to feel so far away anymore.
Of course, there’s nothing like someone being there in person and I doubt there will be less interest in forgoing physical weddings entirely. However, long-distance friends and family may be able to be included more than ever with the use of technology.
It also sets a new standard for wedding venues. In fact, offering this type of technological bonus may be a way to set themselves apart from other venues.
2. Mid-Week & Off-Peak Weddings
COVID has introduced flex work hours and work-from-home schedules like never before. As more people are less fixed to a Monday – Friday 9-5 schedule, more couples may opt for a midweek or mid-day wedding. Not only is it more cost effective, but the appeal of having an extra weekend for a honeymoon or post-wedding relaxation is there. Ultimately it may help to reduce the higher-price-point that is often associated with Saturday weddings.
For wedding venues it may actually be a great thing. If more couples are willing to book throughout the week then there’s no need to charge extra for weekends. More consistency in bookings for venues means more reasonable pricing for couples.
3. Backyard & Personal Venue Weddings
The number of beautiful backyard weddings that I have shot since COVID began is astounding. In fact, I haven’t seen a single home wedding that hasn’t been beautiful. In Canada alone the wedding industry is worth over $4 billion every year. The idea that you need an expensive venue to have a beautiful wedding is so far from the truth. COVID has helped to prove this.
I believe that more couples will make the choice to have their weddings in family or friends’ homes or yards. In general the appeal of having less people around isn’t going to be going anywhere any time soon. Pinterest searches for backyard wedding DIYs have boomed in the past six months.
A fan of intimate weddings and personal spaces, I’m a huge fan of this trend.
4. Locally Sourced Food, Flowers & Fashion
COVID has highlighted for many people the importance of sustainability and protecting our environment. Interest in eco friendly products, shopping locally and sustainable living habits have increased a lot over the past six months. One survey found that 55% of people are more concerned about sustainability and the environment now than they were before covid. There’s no doubt that this trend will impact the wedding industry.
Caterers, florists, decorators and venus that focus on local products and sustainability will have a huge edge over those who don’t. This also transfers into wedding gowns and suits who may need to start thinking about where their materials come from and where their dresses are made.
Second-hand wedding dresses are becoming more and more popular as the waste-less-reuse-more attitude becomes more socially acceptable for the industry. What’s so challenging – but awesome – about it in weddings is that there’s such a huge stigma about everything in weddings needing to be “fresh”. The idea of wearing a used wedding gown would have caused gasps in the past. Today, it’s seen as a great way to extend the life cycle of something that many people only wear for 12 hours – at most – in their life.
5. Reality Check on Registries
How many TV shows have you seen that have indicated the awkwardness of asking for cash instead of gifts for a wedding? There’s an entire episode of the Office where Pam struggles to tell her co-workers they would prefer a check over a gift. COVID has taken the traditional aspect of the wedding gift and totally destroyed it.
Whether it’s straight-up asking for money towards a honeymoon or asking for contributions to “experience” that a newlywed couple can do together, traditional registries containing “stuff” are long gone. The need to create a registry just for the sake of having one isn’t there anymore.
COVID happened not too long after the age of Marie Kondo. We were already starting to question our need for “stuff”. COVID has totally pushed us over the edge. It fits in well with our focus on sustainability. More couples would prefer to have experiences over a new set of dishes. As the next generation wakes up to the realities of the world, registries will soon be forgotten.
While COVID has impacted the wedding industry in so many ways, these 5 are my top examples of how COVID will change weddings for good. My heart breaks for all the couples who have had to postpone their wedding day because of COVID. My only wish is that when those couples finally get to say, “I Do”, it will feel extra special because of all the things they’ve gone through to get to that day.
If anything, I believe the COVID will help to remind us all of the reason for weddings. It’s not about spending thousands of dollars on a venue or food or DJ or a dress. It’s about a couple coming together to celebrate the start of their life together. And that really is beautiful.
Check out more of my tips on handling a COVID cancelled wedding.