The feedback I’ve heard most frequently from engaged couples over the last few months, whether or not their celebrations have been postponed, is that they are finding it hard to force themselves in a positive wedding planning headspace – which is a completely normal and valid emotion. However, it’s also very important to say that there is absolutely nothing to feel guilty about, and if you do feel ready and excited to move forward with your plans, then that’s absolutely wonderful too. Weddings are an embodiment of the concept of family, so I believe there are very real ways in which these celebrations will be even important to society after all this. I’ve heard so many couples talk about wanting to infuse their day with purpose, intentionality, and meaning – and that really does make my heart sing! This dedication to creating heartfelt, quality moments of togetherness is, in part, a result of how much we all miss one another right now, and how deeply we’ve all been impacted by the removal of in-person socialising. Looking forward to life’s celebrations resuming is very important to many of us right now, and weddings in 2021 will play a huge role in helping society grow and heal post-pandemic.
I think we may see a move towards elopements and smaller guest lists, as brides and grooms choose to focus on experience: we may see more intimate gatherings for celebrating in a truly personal way. For many couples, a traditionally large wedding doesn’t embody what their relationship is like – it may not reflect their journey, their passions, their current priorities in life, their social circles, or perhaps their spirit of independence and adventure. For some, there are budget reasons, family difficulties, or geographical dilemmas that have lead them to consider a more intimate gathering. And now, Coronavirus has added another reason why couples may opt for a smaller celebration: it will be safer, kinder to their finances, and less logistically and emotionally taxing – all of which is of paramount importance right now. I believe these smaller weddings will redefine our industry in a positive way, and lessen the kind of pressure that often makes couples feel inadequate or burdened by expectation while wedding planning.
As difficult as this has all been, I foresee that there will be a shift of priorities and perspective in favour of authenticity and real connection. I’m seeing more couples with a mindset of taking control of, and enjoying, what they invest in, and embracing what matters most to them. I believe more budget will be allocated to creating opportunities to spend time together: more multiple day weddings for example, where guests can relax and enjoy each other’s company the day before and after the wedding itself. I also think that, once flying is safe again, destination weddings will become more popular. Travel and discovery is something everyone has been deeply missing, and sharing the experience of being somewhere new with your loved ones will be even more momentous than it was before all this. On that same note, I think more couples will want to enjoy outdoor celebrations, as an added safety measure and also as a way of embracing the freedom we’ve regained.
I’m also seeing an increased awareness of the importance of seeking help and working with trustworthy teams of experts – and shopping by affinity, rather than price. Hopefully couples will come out the other side having felt supported and guided by planners and vendors throughout this difficult period of wedding planning, and having experienced just how much wedding professionals can add value to the journey when the fit is right. I hope that, in some small way, this period of hardship has showcased just how hardworking, dedicated, and resourceful wedding pros are, and how wholeheartedly they’re championing their couples’ interests and wellbeing.
In terms of challenges, I think the three main ones affecting the wedding industry will be financial, emotional, and logistical. Financially, many couples may find themselves with fewer savings than they expected, perhaps as a result of job changes during this time, and thus may need to think more carefully on how and where that money is invested for their celebration. Couples having their postponed weddings in 2021 will have been through a tough emotional rollercoaster too, which means as wedding professionals we need to be extra attentive, considerate, and understanding. Thirdly, I would say that the wedding industry next year will still be feeling the aftermath of shop and studio closures, production delays, staff changes, business remodeling, and so on – all of which may lead to logistical challenges. Timeline and availability issues may well exist for a while after lockdown and social distancing is lifted.
As wedding professionals working in the hospitality industry, I believe the key right now is to communicate generously, openly, and honestly. We need to find creative solutions to help couples use their budgets in an impactful and meaningful way, while also inspiring them stay positive and excited about their celebrations. We need to be smart and proactive, and look after our own businesses so we can be there for one another and for our clients when the doors do finally re-open. We need to be clear about the repercussions we are all facing so that we can tackle the difficult conversations in a constructive and educated way. And we should be working to adapt our business practices to be as safe as possible, so that we can continue doing our part in reducing risk. And most importantly, we need to show each other kindness and grace – because everyone’s challenges, on both sides of the industry, are different and equally valid. If you’re looking to read a bit more about this experience from the perspective of both suppliers and couples, do check out the fantastic articles that have been published on Love My Dress recently.
My key message to engaged couples currently wedding planning is to keep your finger on the pulse of your priorities. I truly empathise and honour your loss if you have suffered, and postponed your celebration; I also understand how hard it must be to look into the future right now, at a time of such deep uncertainty. What continued social distancing will prevent is the pomp and circumstance of events – it will not prevent marriage, and it will most definitely not prevent love. Whatever the plan is now, try not to look back: embrace the change and treat it as an opportunity to refine your plans and have an even more amazing celebration than you would otherwise have had. Try to use this time to reassess what truly matters to you, and what excites you most about celebrating your love story – and follow that like a compass. Weddings WILL happen again, and we WILL all have your back ♡
I hope this has been a positive, helpful, and inspiring read for you. If you would like any support planning your intimate wedding or elopement, I would love to hear from you – you can reach me through my contact page or directly on my email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.