2020: The Evolution of Weddings

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”  – Wayne Dyer

What a perfect saying for 2020.  

Earlier this year, couples and wedding professionals scrambled to keep up with the ever changing Covid-19 virus information.  While no one knew what the distant future would hold, spring weddings were cancelled and postponed right and left.  We didn’t know much, but we knew it wasn’t a good idea to gather.  And unfortunately, gathering is at the heart of weddings.

Now we’re in the last quarter of 2020 and we’ve learned a lot.  As wedding experts, we often talk about “educating” our couples.  The truth is – this year, the couples are educating us. They are teaching us what is most important to them about their wedding.  As wedding industry professionals, we are changing, adapting and creating.  Inevitably, new practices are emerging.  So, what trends can you expect to see in late 2020 and beyond?

Photo: Jamie Reinhart Photography

Intimate Events

Even pre-pandemic, couples were opting for more intimate events and shaking up the traditional wedding format.  The biggest reason for a small guest list used to be budget, but that isn’t the case anymore.  With less guests, couples can spend more time with each invitee.  Intimate events often prioritize dinner and conversation over dancing and formalities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dance it out with your close group of friends!  The intimate wedding couple is big on meaningful interaction and guest appreciation.

Enhancing the Intimate Experience

Wedding Budget Reality: more guests = more investment.  Couples forced to reschedule are using their budget previously intended for 100 guests to “spoil” their smaller group of 20-30.  This means upgrading their food and drink choices or adding unexpected entertainment.  Maybe this means enhancing the space visually with extra floral or décor elements that weren’t originally in your budget.  Couples are also adding specialty vendors – live painters, cigar bars and ice cream carts to their special day.

Smaller guest lists also give you the opportunity to personalize some wedding details for your guests.  A custom place card or favor will show your attendees how much their presence means to you.       

Whatever enhancements you choose, minimizing the guest list doesn’t necessarily mean minimizing the wedding experience.  

Photo: Elina Rose Studios

Marry Now, Party Later

Many couples don’t want to delay the actual marriage for a variety of reasons (many unromantic – such as insurance).  Those same couples still want the chance to celebrate their love with a large group of family and friends, many who would need to travel.  Instead of postponing the whole event, we are seeing weddings split into two parts – an intimate ceremony with close friends and family now and a large party in a year or so.  They say the day goes by so fast, so why not make it a multi-day and even a multi-year event?

Arranging this type of event does take coordination and cooperation from your venue and your vendors.  If this is an option for you, remember you have to work within the confines of your vendor contracts.  Many professionals are willing to be flexible, but it may require some extra honest conversations to get all the pieces in place.

Outdoor Everything

The appreciation of the great outdoors has never been stronger.  Restaurants with comfortable outdoor seating are thriving.  In the same way, venues are exploring their outdoor event footprints.  Venues with ample space to set up everything outside are becoming more popular.  

Completely outdoor events can also offer a greater variety of guest activity.  Outdoor lawn games, lounges and firepits are popular in addition to the traditional dance floor.  Trailers turned into photo booths, mobile bars and food trucks that can park outside make a fun addition.

Friendly reminder, if you live in Central Florida an all outdoor event means booking a tent to have on standby.  Rented tents have gotten much more attractive and the peace of mind far exceeds the investment.

Photo: Jamie Reinhart Photography

Creative Seating

Physically distancing wedding guests has become a new art form and quite frankly, a high school math equation.  Venues are significantly reducing their capacities and planners are designing the room with personal space in mind.  Couples are opting for creative reception layouts featuring a mix of different sized tables.  Immediate families are sat together while safely distanced from other guests.  Café tables for two and four are making a comeback.  Ceremony seating is allowing for extra elbow room instead of the shoulder to shoulder configurations that had become commonplace.

This shake up has its benefits.  It was probably time we reconsidered squeezing 12 strangers at a 72 inch round table.  A well-crafted, personalized seating layout can add some much-needed character to an event space, so get creative!

Live Streaming

Couples with large families abroad have been utilizing live wedding feeds for years.  During the pandemic, many turned to online meeting platforms for a quick live streaming fix.  While live conference rooms will remain popular for the workplace, many wedding professionals are including streaming services to their packages.  Expect to see your favorite DJs, Photographers and even Officiants offering this add-on.  Venues and wedding planners are proactively presenting live streaming options early in the process.  Moving forward, couples will have a variety of reliable ways to include even more friends and family in their celebrations.  Although they were born out of necessity, virtual events aren’t going anywhere.

Although the wedding seasons of 2020 have looked very different, couples everywhere are still celebrating their love.  Engagements are still happening!  I’m sure you’re sick of hearing the expression – “Love Is Not Cancelled” but it truly sums up what we are experiencing. 

New trends and practices created during this pandemic are shaking things up and it might be for the better!  While offering monogrammed masks as a wedding favor may wane in popularity, many of these trends will stick around.  The wedding industry is evolving and working harder than ever to bring reimagined events to life.  If you just got engaged, a team of professional vendors is ready and willing to guide you through this new wedding landscape.

About the Author:
Your Favorite Day, LLC is a Central Florida based Wedding Planning Company that specializes in Day Of Coordination.  Beth McIntyre, Owner and Lead Wedding Planner is a Certified Wedding Planner through the Bridal Society and an All Seated Certified Professional. She believes the guidance of an educated wedding planner is key to unlocking a couple’s “Favorite Day”.

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