Weddings were hit extremely hard by the pandemic, causing 41% of couples to postpone their big day, and 7% cancelling their nuptials altogether. However, now that the vaccine has started to be rolled out across the US, things are looking more hopeful for weddings in 2021. In fact, it isn’t just couples who have been optimistic about ceremonies going ahead this year, with Jennette Kruszka, director of marketing and public relations at Kleinfeld Bridal, boasting to NBC News that “2021 is definitely the year of the wedding.”
But even though there’s a vaccine, it doesn’t mean that weddings will immediately return to how they’ve always been. For the vaccination to work effectively, we shouldn’t become complacent about how we approach social distancing and hygiene regulations. Here, we look in a little more detail at some of the ways in which weddings are likely to be different after Covid-19.
Smaller, more intimate ceremonies
With limitations on how many guests can attend, there are going to be a lot more intimate, so-called “micro weddings” taking place. These are typically attended by up to thirty guests, and even before the outbreak of the pandemic, were popular with couples seeking a more selective celebration. Micro weddings also allow the bride and groom to keep their budget low as well. As historic British wedding venue Sandon Hall points out, “A reduced guest list also means you can afford to spend a little more on personal touches, finer catering and little extravagances like wedding favours if you wish.”
The wellbeing of your guests should continue to be your most important concern when wedding venues begin to reopen, which means guests will have to keep their distance. Meanwhile, managers must ensure that adequate hygiene stations are present, and that all areas — communal or otherwise — are properly sanitized.
Some guests may still feel apprehensive about meeting socially, so extra consideration will also need to be taken to combat this. Venues may offer onsite self-catering accommodation where possible, which will minimize how many people need to stay in nearby hotels and mix with other groups. Managers will also need to assess the available space to avoid maximizing capacity, and ensure staff members are regularly washing their hands and wearing face coverings to protect themselves and the guests.
Organizing wedding vendors will look different after Covid-19, and couples may no longer be able to visit suppliers face-to-face. Many are already offering a no-contact service to curb the spread of coronavirus, so brides and grooms will have to arrange their big day virtually over video call. This will include bridal gown appointments, online venue tours, and consultations. While this seems impersonal, the time it saves could remain appealing, even after the pandemic ends. According to wedding industry expert Kelly Mortimer: “Even post-Covid, we envisage couples viewing less venues in person and only going on site to see their top one or two!”
Changes to catering
Wedding catering has been heavily impacted by Covid-19, as menu options like buffets and sharing platters could potentially increase the risk of transmitting the virus. As New York-based caterer Mellanee Harvin points out to Wedding Wire: “Plated is safer because the food is served directly to each guest from the kitchen.” Caterers will also take extra precautions by wearing PPE, eliminating touchpoints between servers and guests, and increasing the turnover of dinnerware and cutlery for hygiene. Vendors will also require much more space to operate, and serve food safely.
Thoughtful seating arrangements
Expect to see an increased attentiveness to seating arrangements at weddings to ensure a two-meter distance is maintained. Couples need to work out how many people can sit at each table safely, and there will be more creative seating options, such as circular or half-moon tables, allowing guests a full view without having to mingle around the room. Wedding stylists have claimed that they are already fielding more “enquiries about horseshoe-shaped table layouts and zig-zag layouts to ensure guests are not face to face.” Couples should also take extra care about where people sit, with high-risk attendees like the elderly or people with health conditions needing to be sat away from guests who travel to work daily.