The COVID-19 pandemic changed life around the world as we know it, and that goes for the wedding industry as well. Between mass cancellations, delays, the sudden need for a small wedding, and having to pivot to new ideas, it has been a whirlwind for wedding planners and their clients alike.
While the pandemic is still going on, bit by bit the world is reopening, and as such, weddings are returning to pre-pandemic numbers. With all that in mind, a lot of the changes created during this time remain. Intimate wedding ideas are still very popular, as are outdoor options.
Traditional, large affairs will never disappear entirely, but clients are still riding the COVID-19 wedding trend waves of the past two years.
Which of these trends will last longer than others? Well, only time will tell. However, there are 20 wedding trends that are still chugging along very strongly.
Above All Else….One Wedding Trend Will Last
1. Flexibility is the Name of the Game
The ability to change on a dime is nothing new in the wedding planning world. However, clients, planners, and vendors alike never had to be quite so flexible as they have during the pandemic. One day a 50-person wedding could be fine, but the next it wouldn’t be allowed.
As a wedding planner, the ability to change everything at a moment’s notice is a skill you’ll want to keep fine-tuned. Stressing the importance of flexibility to your clients is also key. Long gone are the days when everything must be “my way or the highway.” Clients need to have options and backup plans just as much as you do.
“The pandemic taught both planners and couples that change is inevitable and that it should be mastered, not feared,” explains Marina Serret, director of catering at W South Beach, Miami.
“We have all become more resourceful, creative, and flexible when it comes to being open to the possibility of modifying plans.”
Changes in the Weddings Themselves (Aka a Small Wedding)
The pandemic changed weddings as we know them. Everyone from planners to venue managers and vendors had to shift, and many of these shifts continue to this day.
2. Outdoor Ceremonies
One of the first things people did when trying to have a pandemic wedding was to move the ceremony outside. Between the fresh air, open spaces, and ability to social distance, outdoor weddings immediately became the go-to option. Backyard weddings became very popular because of their proximity to family and the ability to keep them small.
3. Weekday Weddings
Continuing on with the small-is-better mentality, weekday weddings became a pandemic staple that is still popular. They are easier to book, generally cheaper, and are almost guaranteed to be small events.
4. Eco-Friendly Options
Health is on everyone’s mind, and that includes the earth’s as well. People became more conscientious of many things during the pandemic, and wanting to be kinder to the planet was a byproduct of that trend
5. Seating Charts Are a Must
Seating charts were vital during COVID-19 as to decrease everyone’s chance for transmission by keeping people six feet apart and avoiding having them wander around, looking for a place to sit.
6. Uncomplicating the Wedding
Between micro weddings that are short and sweet and keeping them focused on the ceremony, weddings became much simpler in COVID-19 times. The focus was on the couple and the event of confirming their love for one another.
When planning weddings going forward, don’t be surprised when clients want to continue this trend and do away with complicated traditions and schedules.
It’s All About You
One major thing the pandemic made many realize is how important the people we love truly are. Being forced apart for months gave clarity to everyone, including your wedding clients. As such, the trend of weddings becoming more personal is of little surprise.
7. Guest Lists Will Matter
When it comes to guest lists, people nowadays aren’t as interested in inviting their third cousin just because they are family. No, clients want curated guest lists that are all about the people they truly want to be there. Guest lists are smaller these days and more focused on immediate family and friends, and less on extended family and work colleagues.
8. Less Traditions, More Personality
Again, this leans into concentrating on what really matters. COVID weddings became more tailored to the couple’s personalities and less about what was naturally expected at a wedding. Garter toss? It’s out. Is a cocktail hour necessary? People want tailored, custom weddings that reflect who they are as a couple and that are less textbook.
9. More About the Experience
Pandemic weddings became an experience of love in dark times, and that trend is likely to continue as couples want to focus their weddings more on the overall experience. Whether it’s themed food, DIY decorations, or having their ceremony under the tree where they met, the trend of weddings as an experience rather than an event is ongoing.
An Appreciation for the Small Wedding
During the pandemic, weddings went small. Larger weddings, especially at the beginning, became breeding grounds for the virus and resulted in mass spread and even death. Smaller, intimate weddings are now much more popular and are likely to be for the foreseeable future.
10. Pop-Up Weddings
For the adventurous couple who wants to keep things small, pop-up weddings are the way to go. They’re budget friendly, are planned within two weeks to two months, and can be quite fun. Having pop-up weddings in your repertoire in a pandemic and post-pandemic wedding world is key and a trend that will only get more popular.
11. Micro Weddings
Between being cost efficient and smaller, micro weddings are a popular trend that will be continuing into post-pandemic life. They require more planning than a pop-up wedding, but still offer a simplified structure. These are especially popular with younger couples.
12. 50-Person Wedding
It may seem like an arbitrary number, but this was often a cap on gatherings for a pandemic wedding. As such, it’s a number that has stuck in people’s minds. It’s a safe number and one that will probably be referenced for a while longer.
13. Intimate Wedding Ideas
When planning weddings now, couples want ideas from planners on how to make their special day more about them and their life together. They want important and touching moments with friends and family, personal vows, and weddings that represent them as a couple. It’s all about love.
While an elopement doesn’t leave you too much to plan, there are still factors for clients to consider. Eloping was popular during the pandemic because of social distancing concerns, as well as a desire to focus on oneself.
15. Simplicity Reigns Supreme
Complicated receptions, over-the-top decor, and busy schedules just aren’t the ticket these days. The pandemic made couples pare down the wedding details and find beauty and importance in simplicity. That’s not to say minimalistic weddings are all the rage, but keeping them simple and easy is very popular.
16. Personal Space
From table spacing to keeping six feet apart, COVID-19 weddings were all about personal bubbles. Turns out, people like that. Long gone are the days of crowding 100 people into a small dining area. Fewer people, more space, and happier guests make a wedding all the better these days.
17. Goodbye to the Buffet
Food safety will continue to be a major concern and worry for vendors, venues, and couples. Individual portions and wrapped or covered food are still very much in use during weddings, and these trends will continue as long as COVID-19 is out there. Family-style, potluck, and buffet meals are out, and more focused, smaller portions are in.
Live Streaming and Accessibility
When the world went into lockdown, we all became live streaming masters. A great thing that came out of this was accessibility. Now grandparents who couldn’t make the trip could still be part of the event. It helps those who are disabled or don’t have an easy time traveling have a way to engage. Expect this trend to stick around.
18. Wedding Planning via Video
How often as a wedding planner did you have to drive around from vendor to vendor for meetings? Not anymore. The world has embraced video conferencing and it makes our lives all the more easier.
19. Streamed Ceremonies
Live streaming ceremonies allows more people to experience a couple’s nuptials, as well as enhances the overall wedding experience. Videographers have a new line of work, and there are ways to do it on a budget as well.
Add live streaming to your packages and be amazed at how many clients want it as part of their day.
20. Online Shopping
What may have been seen as tacky before is now preferred. Online shopping with wedding registries is a trend that couples love. This way, gifts are sent straight to them and there isn’t a worry about showing up at the wedding with a present or worrying about what to give. Just click, ship, and done.
Pandemic Weddings Continue in a Post-pandemic World
Many of the changes people had to make during COVID-19 have turned out to be rather popular. From keeping things small and intimate to making sure everyone feels safe, and that the wedding is focused, has changed the wedding landscape.
Keep on top of these trends and continue to embrace them as you head into 2022. Some of them are going to be sticking around for a long time to come.