Weddings will be different after the Coronavirus pandemic. Here are some of my predictions and observations.
(Image source: Moscow Times)
What does a post-pandemic wedding look like? We are all wondering when life will return to “normal” and we can start having weddings again! Life after Corona is going to look different, and for awhile, I am sure. What will weddings look like after Coronavirus?
Smaller Weddings, Creative Approaches
In the near future between when the shelter in place bans are lifted and before we have a vaccine (which could take awhile), I think couples are going to have to keep it small or get creative. My personal expectation is that the ramp up will mirror the ramp down to the shutdowns. My guess is it will start with gathering in groups of 10, and then of 50, and only while maintaining social distance. I expect we’ll see a batch of microweddings and elopements of people that are eager to wed, and willing to redesign their wedding & reception plans to do it, or to postpone their larger celebrations to 2021 or beyond. I imagine we”ll see an emphasis on outdoor gatherings before we feel safe enough to move indoors as a group.
Already couples have been thinking out of the box – like this couple who got married in the driveway so guests could drive by or watch from their cars. Porches, parking lots are large parks are sure to become popular, as are backyards.
Image source: New York Times.
While gathering group size is still limited, and while travel remains risky, I expect to see a rise in online officiants and Internet-broadcast weddings.
As we move forward and are allowed to gather in larger groups and will less social distance, I think precautions will still be recommended. I imagine many people will rethink past practices and some of the actions we’ve adopted during the pandemic will persist.
We're going to be living with hand sanitizer dispensers for awhile. We may as well make them pretty, like this one I decorated with herbs and spring flowers.
Sanitizing stations will be everywhere
The bathroom sink is no longer going to cut it. Venues will need to provide hand sanitizer dispensers at many touch points throughout the venue: at the front door, at the entry to the ceremony, by the guest book, at the photobooth, bar, buffet line. We will likely see mobile sinks where that is practical and I’m sure wipes dispensers will abound as well. If your venue doesn’t have a sanitation manager to be continually cleaning and sterilizing frequently touched services and to refresh & maintain the stations, consider hiring someone yourselves to do that job.
Will EVERYONE have to wear a mask the WHOLE time?!
Image source: TMZ online magazine
Face masks will become a fashion accessory
Until we have a vaccine, I expect that we will be required or at least encouraged to wear masks when we gather. I won’t be surprised if retailers start making masks to coordinate with the gowns – will your bridesmaids decide to mix it up and pick a petal pink mask to go with their dove grey dresses, or will they be matchey instead? Will florists now be matching our boutonniere ribbon color to the groom’s mask? How does that work for the first kiss? And of course, all your guests will need to wear masks too. Hmm, I’m not sure how that will work for the dinner… Speaking of which…
Changes in food plans
Buffets have long been popular options for their economy, but I wonder if they will be allowed at weddings after Corona. If they are, I’m sure there will be a sanitizer station before the plates! And I expect we’ll only see served buffets – no more helping yourself. My guess is the family style meal will be a thing of the past (until we have a vaccine). I think the main thing caterers will suggest is plated meals since that really limits the number of people who interact with the food.
For those who are continuing with pre-existing plans and reduced guest counts, be sure to ask your caterer about their food and beverage minimums. Some companies require a minimum number of guests per price point. Know the policy and how it affects your changes.
Last, with the impact to farmers, food prices and availability are changing in response to labor shortages and crop losses. Be aware, and understanding, that your caterer may need to renegotiate their charges or make changes to your menu.
Alternate seating layouts
Even after the social distance of 6′ is lifted, I still think we won’t want to get so close to each other. Consider an alternate seating or layout that gives guests a little more space. For a reception dinner, that might mean fewer people per table, or wider/larger tables to increase the distance. We used to consider an 8’x30″ rectangle the standard for seating 8 people. Will we now move toward an 8’x40″? Will we seat 6 there instead of 8?
For ceremonies, I think chairs will be spaced farther apart within the row, and maybe we’ll even increase the space between rows. This could be a great opportunity to adopt an unconventional seating layout. I love how these two ceremony seating plans maximize the space between rows.
No More Receiving Line
I don’t imagine that we will be lining up to shake hands and hug every guest anymore, or for a long while. But that’s okay – this tradition has been trending out anyway. Coronavirus is probably the fatal blow to the receiving line, for awhile.
Honeymoons will look different
With travel still being risky and so many countries on lockdown, honeymoons might need to get more local. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the beauty of the world close by you!
Couples will need to be flexible
The overall theme for weddings after Corona is that couples are going to have to roll with the changes that are sure to come. There will be some guests who cannot attend due to travel bans and risks. Menus may have to shift based on food safety and availability. It is likely that there will be a shortage of wedding dresses, delays in production, and a restriction in the availability of styles. Brides can opt instead for a dresses off the rack and a few alterations appointments. The floral industry has taken a massive hit, so who knows what the floral supply will be like after this. Focus on local flowers and think mostly about color vs. specific blooms. A good florist can get you the look you want with any number of blooms; instead of demanding a specific flower allow her the creative space to do her best with what is available.
Pay attention to the regulations & restrictions
The most important goals of weddings in the months after Covid need to be to get you married and to keep your guests healthy. Perhaps this is a time to reflect on a very popular wedding reading. “Love is patient, love is kind”… this is the time to remember what weddings are REALLY about. This is a chance to distill your love story. Paring down to the essentials – the essential elements, the essential guests – just might be freeing from some burdensome old-school etiquette rules. If we have to limit our numbers, this means you no longer have to include your dad’s old boss or that cranky old neighbor from when you were growing up…
What do yo think weddings will be like in the days ahead? Comment below! And as always, if you have any wedding planning questions, feel free to get in touch.