Love is patient, but some people are not.
The coronavirus pandemic upended the wedding industry last year, with thousands of couples across the U.S. altering their plans to the altar. According to The Knot’s Real Weddings COViD Study, which polled over 7,600 couples who initially planned to wed between March and December 2020, just 43% had a ceremony and reception last year. From there, 32% legally tied the knot and bumped their reception to a later date, while 15% postponed their celebrations altogether to 2021.
Looking to the future, however, one industry insider predicts that 2021 will be a banner year for tying the knot – even though celebrations will look a little different than they used to. In honor of National Wedding Planning Day on March 1, Jeffra Trumpower, Senior Creative Director at WeddingWire, spoke with Fox News about sanity-saving tips for those planning receptions, and how to be an excellent wedding guest during this unpredictable time. But she also revealed how the coronavirus has changed the larger industry forever and how to be an excellent wedding guest during this unpredictable time.
By The Knot’s count, 52% of those who legally wed in 2020 have rescheduled their receptions for the first half of 2021, and 43% have pushed their party to the second half of this year. For those who plan to say “I do” within the next ten months, Trumpower said couples should keep their chins up — and their minds open.
“With wedding vendors booking up quickly in advance of what’s likely going to be a very busy latter half of 2021, the sooner couples can book the better,” she suggested. “We also recommend considering a weekday celebration, like on a Monday or Thursday as an extension of the weekend, so that there will be an even greater chance of vendor availability.”
To avoid headaches and heartbreak, couples should also be sure to read the fine print before signing on the line.
“It’s always important to read all wedding contracts thoroughly, but even more so in the midst of a pandemic, as things can change at a minute’s notice,” Trumpower said.
As coronavirus vaccines continue to be distributed and states slowly lift restrictions, she urged couples to heed local ordinances and follow all health protocol to keep guests safe while celebrating, too. Moving forward into the future, Trumpower expects that some celebration trends — trends that emerged in 2020 because of COVID-19 — are here to stay for good.
“It’s likely that couples will continue to incorporate some kind of technological component into their special days in 2021, as it offers guests who don’t feel comfortable attending in-person events a way to join in on the celebration,” she speculated. According to the WeddingWire director, “crowding moments” — like gathering around platters of hors d’oeuvres — are officially out. Instead, more personalized service, like individual charcuterie boards, are a better bet, for safety’s sake.
For those excited to RSVP with a “yes” to a wedding this year, Trumpower shared tips on how to be a great guest during this unprecedented time.
“Health and safety continue to be a top priority for couples, so it’s likely that wearing a mask, staying distanced from other guests, and hand sanitizing will be involved in their celebration,” she said.
“It’s important to keep in mind that the couple likely wishes their wedding would have taken place under different circumstances, so guests should do their best to go with the flow, and follow instructions that the couple, venue, or wedding professionals established for the day. And, of course, they should stay positive throughout the experience,” she advised. “It’s a celebration, after all!”
“Love doesn’t simply stop because of a global pandemic,” Trumpower added, predicting that the next two years will be some of the busiest the wedding business has ever seen due to pent-up demand. Celebrations will be extra special, because couples and their loved ones are especially grateful to be together.
“While health and safety measures are absolutely here to stay, even after pandemic restrictions are lifted, we anticipate couples will focus on incorporating these precautions in creative ways while focusing on big decor, food and drink elements, along with alternative entertainment — think a musical performance, comedy act or magic show during an elevated bistro-style dinner — and alternative event formats — like anniversary receptions and sequel weddings, with multiple events throughout a weekend for smaller group celebrations,” Trumpower said.
“Additionally, we anticipate a rise in ‘minimoons’ immediately following weddings, with couples taking their larger honeymoons once they feel safe and comfortable traveling as they originally planned – and we can certainly get on board with two post-nuptial vacations!”