Predicting Fall, 2020 and Spring, 2021 wedding and event trends requires making bold assumptions and careful preparations for a Post-COVID 19 shutdown world. Let’s proceed with the hope and belief that, in the coming months, when the curve is once again flattened and new COVID cases are on the decline, we are free and willing to hold weddings, parties and special events. Let’s also surmise that gathering-size restrictions that would affect most weddings and events have been lifted. If the 500 person gathering limit remains in place (in many counties) or returns (in counties where the 100 person limit was recently enacted), masking and social distancing protocols discussed in last week’s (Celebrate Safely and Sanely) posts, when carefully and responsibly followed, should be sufficient to protect wedding professionals, event holders and wedding / event guests.
These assumptions, along with what we’re hearing and seeing, suggest two divergent wedding approaches are likely over the next 12 – 18 months – the micro and the macro wedding. Some couples will opt for smaller, more intimate micro affairs. Small doesn’t necessarily mean simpler or even less expensive. Weddings of the micro-variety provide interesting eclectic, creative, one-of-a-kind celebratory opportunities. Customization, a Premiere / Premiere Select specialty, can help make any micro-event truly unique and extra-special. Customized and personalized touches, in linens, dance floors, draping and décor to name a few appealing alternatives are more affordable, and just as impacting on a smaller scale.
When life has handed them lemons, other wedding couples have set a precedent for the future and have made lemonade. We’re seeing innovative, quirky, and totally “outside-the-box” weddings in and around Austin, including “Drive-By” Weddings (firstname.lastname@example.org), Drive-In Weddings (cassie@bridesbest friend.me) and a series of “Short and Sweet Vegas Weddings” (birddogwedding.com).
Macro-wedding couples, whose spring and summer 2020 wedding and event plans were derailed by COVID, may opt for larger, more elaborate affairs when COVID fears begin to ease, and we learn more about reliable COVID prevention strategies and effective treatment, in 2021. Macro weddings may morph from a typical guest count, somewhere around 150, to a revised count, especially when confidence in long-distance travel is restored, of 200, 250 or even more. Elegant or casual, macro-weddings will require space-maximization planning. Please refer to the safe and sane social distancing protocols described in recent posts.
Our research also suggests that some couples, particularly if venue rental is available by the day (rather than limited to a few hours), may host “serial” or “sequential” weddings. Some guests would be invited for a pre-ceremony brunch, others for an afternoon cocktail party. An early evening ceremony would be followed by a smaller-than-usual reception reserved for family and close friends. This approach gives the “wedding day” a whole new meaning. Absent increased venue charges, and with careful planning, the expense can be kept in line with that of a typically elaborate pre-Covid reception.
What we do know for certain, and what we’ve learned over these past four months, is that, when change is occurring at the speed of light, even changes in the very fabric of our society, we all will find a way. Weddings may not look like they once did, or perhaps they will, but remember, Love Will Always Find a Way !