As with most things in 2020, last year’s wedding season was unlike any other. In a non-pandemic year, 73% of the year’s weddings take place from May through October, and during that time, wedding receptions dominate event spaces with extended family, dozens of friends, and crowded dance floors—wedding staples that were decidedly less common last year.
People were of course still getting married, with 1.27 million couples tying the knot in 2020 (a 37% drop from 2019’s 2.02 million), but many changed their plans by downsizing, masking up, eloping, or having ceremonies and celebrations outdoors. According to a recent survey, last year 81% of newlyweds-to-be made changes to their wedding plans due to Covid-19.
Now vaccinations are on the rise, businesses are open, and consumer confidence is returning, but people’s expectations have changed. With large events back on the menu this summer, wedding and event planners, guests, vendors, and the happy couples should all be prepared for ceremonies and receptions to continue to look a little different than in the past.
With Klēn, you can get direct feedback from your consumers about their health and safety expectations and what matters most to them, while also letting them know everything your business is doing so they can enjoy themselves with confidence.
Newlyweds-to-be now see weddings (and marriage) a little differently
In their annual wedding survey, Brides magazine found that 55% of couples said that the pandemic changed their views on marriage. Eighty-two percent said the disruptions of Covid-19 made them even more inclined to commit to their partners to weather future storms together.
For the big day, that could mean wanting to share the occasion with a close circle of friends and family, while for others, the pandemic made them want to celebrate with all the important people in their lives at once. After a year of distancing and missing out, some couples are finding a new appreciation for the joy of big events, and for those who can, they’re ready to spend accordingly.
Wedding trends and new priorities
Trends towards quality over quantity were already starting pre-2020, along with a greater consciousness of environmental sustainability and a shift to more outdoor and tented events, all of which are still important considerations for the 2021 wedding planner.
There are however a few things that the newlyweds-to-be want to know now that we’re not necessarily at the top of the list before the pandemic.
- Deposit and cancellation policies – This has always been important for planning events, but the likelihood of cancellation due to a pandemic resurgence is a very different problem than what newlyweds-to-be used to have to consider. According to one survey, 60% of couples with wedding plans in 2020 discussed a plan B with their vendors, and that trend is likely to continue.
- Health and safety protocols – Beyond general cleanliness, masks, hand sanitizer, and enhanced sanitation protocols are expected as the norm. The coronavirus pandemic has raised awareness about what health and safety measures are effective against the spread of germs, whether from Covid-19, the flu, or any other communicable disease.
- Airflow and spacing – Ceiling height, the amount of outdoor space, quality of ventilation, and potential seating layouts matter more than ever. Capacity restrictions will also be critical to making sure there’s enough elbow room for everyone.
- Foodservice – Buffets will likely remain off the menu this summer, to avoid shared utensils and crowded lineups.
- Virtual attendance – For everyone that can’t be there, virtual attendance for big events has become the norm and will continue to help connect people when they can’t join the celebrations in person. Last year, 43% of weddings had a virtual option, and that number is likely to stay steady if not increase in the future.
Vaccines working in tandem with other safety measures
According to a survey in May 2021, roughly two-thirds of consumers are still hesitant to regularly participate in out-of-home activities and would be more inclined to attend important events if they were confident in the safety measures being taken by staff and guests at the venue.
Even though the CDC recently announced that fully vaccinated individuals may go unmasked two or more weeks after their final inoculation, as of mid-May less than half of the U.S. adult population was fully vaccinated, so this summer will still be a cautious one when it comes to health and safety.
Between postponed weddings, new engagements, and weddings that were always scheduled for 2021, it’s estimated that 2.77 million couples will get married this year in the U.S. alone. Now that we know that risks can be well-managed with the right strategies, both staff and guests can stay safe so guests can have a great time reconnecting with family and friends.
Klēn for business helps keep your business on top of the best practices for your industry and helps you connect directly with your customers and keep them updated on how you’re looking after their health and safety.