Love After Lockdown: What will Weddings After Coronavirus Look Like?

2020 has changed the world, and with it, weddings as we know them. When the world went into a global lockdown to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus, it brought a jolting halt to the weddings scheduled for the year 2020. Since then, couples have been forced to either postpone, cancel or come up with completely unexpected ways to get married through the lockdown. The question on every future newlyweds’ lips: When will weddings start again and what what will weddings look like after coronavirus?

A survey suggests it is far more likely for couples to postpone rather than cancel their wedding, and though most couples have chosen to postpone their wedding, many others opted to take the plunge despiteCOVID-19 restrictions and social-distancing requirements. Research by Insider found that with new restrictions and impending shutdowns being imposed by governments to prevent a second wave and new peak in cases, couples who had previously postponed their wedding plans, will likely have to reschedule, cancel or change them again. With no sign of normalcy in the near future, many are now opting to go ahead with a small wedding ceremony and celebrations in any way they can. 

Amidst the Pandemic

Many determined couples have found a way to get legally married despite the challenges. The New York Times recently shared a collection of inspiring examples of various couples who felt “the most important thing was to get married” and everything else was just detail. These include a couple’s self-uniting marriage, another’s virtual wedding, an elopement at City Hall with an 18-car reception parade and a private ceremony in a Roman Catholic Church with the first dance in the car park. Couples have been forced to cut their guestlist to fewer than 30, ten and even five! Receptions have been broken down into small gatherings with time slots for guests or completely moved online with virtual livestreams. Guests attend the ceremony virtually as the couple exchange vows on a livestream while their friends and family cheer and shareemojis. Brides and grooms have had to get innovative in ways to not only get married, but also to make their day special. 

The Knot discovered that couples have embraced the restrictions to have miniature ceremonies,  or “minimonies”, that include fewer than 10 guests. These small gatherings are usually hosted in homes, backyards and other private spaces and may include only the photographer from outside the couple’s closest circle. Several couples having “minimonies” intend to have a larger, more elaborate celebration at some later date. Zoom weddings are another solution with some states considering these ceremonies as legal and many wedding planning companies now offering Zoom-related packages. 

See the minimonies of Yulia & Julius and Eric & Carli on B.LOVED, both of which used technology to include friends and family in their celebrations.

Surprisingly, there is a very tiny, rare category of couples who have chosen to get married because of the virus, not in spite of it. These couples say that they found a deeper appreciation for family and togetherness in these difficult times. 

Old Traditions Meet New Norms  

Over the last few years, the trend towards smaller, more exclusive and intimate weddings was already underway. Millennial brides and grooms were actively opting to cut their guest lists and spend more on each person and/or on an thedress, elaborate florals and gourmet food. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend.   

What will weddings look like after coronavirus? From couples to their families and friends, vendors and industry experts to economists, this is the ubiquitous question on everyone’s mind. 

It’s obvious that weddings in the immediate future will remain smaller than normal. Small weddings, which were already gaining popularity, may become even more common. With physical distancing rules in place for a while, people will prefer small events and may take time to be comfortable in larger gatherings. Relationships with close family and friends will be more significant than ever and people may no longer feel obliged to invite their extensive social or work circle. In such strenuous times, couples may prefer to spend more quality time together, focus on each other and celebrate their love in a more meaningful and intimate way. Some couples may also face financial strain that will require them to revisit their wedding budget.

The longer term trend may be slightly more complex. One impact of the pandemic has polarlised couples into two categories: – those who want bigger-than-before celebrations and those who prefer a low-key one with their loved ones. Members of the first group are eagerly choosing a  later date, when they anticipate they can have a big celebration with everyone there. Deciding not to take for granted the opportunity to celebrate their love, many of these couples are even enhancing their plans. The second group includes couples intent on starting their lives together now and opting to get married with a small ceremony. Realising the importance of their partners, these couples are getting married as soon as they can, with either hopes of having a bigger celebration later or forgoing bigger celebrations altogether. Finances are another deciding factor for couples in both groups. 

We are also likely to see some new wedding trends like smaller guest lists, personality-styled themes, unique entertainment and more detailed décor. Reducing the number of guests will allow the couple to reallocate funds to other details like the cake, dress, flowers or entertainment. Postponed dates will give brides more time to research and collect ideas and include a more personalised touch in an attempt to make the ceremony more meaningful. The menu may be more likely to include course-plated meals, ditching the buffet. Ceremonies that opt for buffets may include food station attendants and fewer things in common jars or that require common serving tongs. Open venues either completely outdoors and with spacious indoor halls will be more popular to accommodate spaced out table arrangements and ample room for dancing without being in close contact with other guests. 

With countless weddings rescheduled for 2021, couples will be forced to opt for weekday weddings in order to get their ideal location or favorite band, without having to wait months for a weekend slot. NBC News describes how with the uncertainty of travel, some travel restrictions and many still avoiding non-essential travel, local weddings in the couple’s hometown will be more common than destination weddings and overseas guests may still prefer being part of the celebrations virtually. While live streaming ceremonies may be a foreseeable trend, over the years, some couples may eventually go back to destination weddings, a big trend before the pandemic hit. Minimonies with close-knit friends and family may also be a trend that is here to stay.

So, what will weddings look like after coronavirus? As restrictions ease and large gatherings are permitted again, weddings are likely to be the first events to flourish because people will be so excited to see their friends and family, to have a reason to laugh, dance and celebrate and will have a newfound appreciation for being with loved ones. Although it will be a process before we can define what “normal” looks like, irrespective of how or when weddings happen, weddings after coronavirus will surely be more joyous and meaningful than ever before. One thing this pandemic has taught us is the significance of love and loved ones, especially  enjoying being together in person!! 

Planning Tip: Rules for weddings, events and gatherings vary across countries and are constantly changing, even within different cities and states. Be sure to check the restrictions of your location (for the UK) while deciding on your wedding. 

Pro Tip: Until masks are a thing of the past, treat them as another accessory to your outfit and opt for unique his-and-hers/his-and-his/hers-and-hers embellished or embroidered masks. See our Guide to Wedding Masks.

Finance Tip: Couples planning to get married now or in the near future should be open with their vendors and venues, as well as discussing wedding insurance options.