Wedding Planner

Weddings Have Relaxed Restrictions, But Stay Small and Intimate The newlyweds

The pandemic has kept many couples from saying ‘yes’ until they feel safe enough to invite their guests to join in the festivities. The upcoming wedding season proves the bride and groom are ready to tie the knot again while easing restrictions put in place in 2020.

The Knot, a wedding planning site, showed in its annual survey that one in two couples (47%) postponed their 2020 reception until 2021. In 2020, 32% of couples opted for a “minimonie” or runaway but are planning to host a reception this year.

The push for 2021 weddings has created some interesting trends, which will become the new normal.

Jennifer Matthews, of Westmoreland, a wedding and event planner with Memorable Events, had to return some deposits in 2020 due to the closure of several wedding venues in the early months of the pandemic.

She noticed there had been delays in 2021 from last year’s bridal trends that she expects to last.

“A lot of people focus on smaller, more intimate weddings in general,” she said. “This allows them to spend more quality time with customers and to upgrade in other areas (like honeymoon or flowers), saving on per person costs.”

An intimate wedding, or “microwedding” as it was coined in 2020, she considers there are around 40 to 50 guests. Before the pandemic, the mid-size wedding she would host had around 150 guests. The majority are under 100 this season.

“They still have some great photos, time with their closest friends and family and they went out to dinner afterwards,” Matthews said.

Some couples who hosted a microwedding in 2020 have postponed their date to 2021 with a longer guest list.

This is going to be a game-changer in the wedding industry as couples re-prioritize what is important to them during their day with a focus on customer experiences.

On the flip side, Matthews has also booked large weddings of around 200 guests.

“I saw a much lower number of ‘no’s’,” she said, referring to the guests who responded. “People are ready to see their family and friends again – they are happy to meet again.”

While there are other restrictions that remain in place this season – for example, self-service buffets are a thing of the past – things in general are more relaxed, like the elimination of hand sanitizer stations. and optional masks for customers.

“It was a crazy race last year,” Matthews said. “People understand how important it is to have an experienced wedding planner by their side who can help them with any (pandemic) pivot.”

Crystal Wright, of Troy, a wedding and event planner with Wright Up the Aisle, has seen a surge in bookings for 2021. In 2020, she had 18 weddings planned before the pandemic hit – that number has dropped to two.

One of her clients who had booked their wedding in September last year chose to postpone their big wedding but was still married on the scheduled day.

They held their ceremony under an oak tree in a nearby picnic-style park with packed lunches for their 25 guests.

“It was a way to have an intimate wedding and their wedding day,” she said.

Like Matthews, Wright also noticed that couples tend to move towards smaller backyard weddings, with some safety precautions still in place.

A couple she booked in September opted for multiple seating areas and appetizers instead of a traditional dish.

“They rented sofas and high tables,” she says. “Caterers are ready to prepackage appetizers, including things like shot glasses with dip served with vegetables instead of a main dish. There’s less handling with guests touching things, and people still follow the six-foot guideline between tables. “

The dance floor is also coming back, Wright added.

While many travel restrictions for clients have been lifted, Wright takes safety seriously.

“I demand that my staff be vaccinated and wear masks,” she said.

Overall, she has noticed that couples are ready to return to pre-pandemic fun. She already has 12 weddings on the books for this season.

“A wedding is a celebration,” she says. “It’s more for friends and family than for the couple.”

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