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Save the New Date: What the Future of Weddings Look Like Post-COVID

Even with vaccines slowly beginning to become available, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a huge effect on our lives, including wedding celebrations. In many places, large gatherings are still prohibited, forcing many couples to either postpone their weddings or instead get married in smaller, more intimate ceremonies. While restrictions may change throughout the year, it’s definitely clear that weddings will look very different in 2021 and possibly beyond.

Expect shorter wedding planning timelines and briefer engagements…
Many couples postponed their weddings in 2020, waiting for the opportunity to gather with family and friends again. However, other couples chose to elope or get married in a shorter time frame, saving their larger celebrations for safer times at a later date. In 2021, as areas go back into lockdown or change rules and restrictions again, we will likely see more couples opt to get married now and celebrate later.

…but don’t rule out longer engagements
The pandemic continues to have huge financial impacts on a variety of industries, and many couples may choose to put off their weddings and save up money instead. For couples who have gotten engaged more recently, they may have no choice but to opt for a longer engagement as the many rescheduled 2020 weddings may lead to a shortage of available venues in 2021. If you have a specific wedding date in mind, even if it seems far away, be sure to book your venue now and secure your spot. You can always handle the rest of your planning later, allowing you to save up more for your dream wedding.

More weddings will move outdoors
Outdoor wedding ceremonies are likely to become more popular in 2021, especially because they allow for better social distancing and a safer environment for guests. Some couples who wed in 2020 chose to move their indoor weddings outside to allow some of their family and friends to safely attend, and we will likely see that trend continue in 2021 and 2022.

Big weddings are out, intimate weddings are in
While weddings became smaller and more intimate in 2020 out of necessity, more couples may continue to choose smaller ceremonies that allow them to spend their budget on more important things, like providing their guests with an amazing meal and a more personalized celebration. For many people, 2020 was a chance to reset and focus on what we value most, and celebrating your marriage with your closest friends and family is more important to many couples than having a big party. Smaller weddings also allow couples to splurge on other details of their day, creating a truly unforgettable experience.

Elopements will make a major comeback
While many couples chose to postpone their weddings in 2020, some opted to elope instead, skipping out on the big ceremony and party and getting married in a simple ceremony with a couple of close friends or family members. An elopement is as intimate as a wedding day can be and allows couples to choose a scenic or significant location to their love story where they can say “I do.” Some couples may choose to have a wedding without a big celebration and share their love in a more private setting. Ask me about some beautiful locations for elopements in Western North Carolina and about my elopement photography services.

Weddings will be more personal and luxurious
Smaller weddings don’t necessarily have smaller budgets. Instead, couples may have more freedom to spend their budget on vendors and other items that they would have been unable to afford with a larger guest list. This means that more couples will be able—and eager—to create their ideal wedding day, building a personalized experience for themselves and their guests that truly celebrates their relationship and the journey of their love.

A wedding can last for more than just one day
Not every wedding will be a small, intimate affair! Some couples absolutely want a big party to celebrate their nuptials and may even plan a wedding celebration that lasts several days or over an entire weekend. If large gatherings continue to be limited, some couples may take the opportunity to have multiple receptions or celebrations with different groups of people to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to celebrate with them.

More ceremonies will go virtual
We all learned in 2020 that most things can go virtual, weddings included, so expect to see more Zoom wedding ceremonies and even receptions. Some couples may hold smaller, in-person ceremonies and have a Zoom option for guests who would prefer to stay at home but still want to be part of the big day.

Expect a stronger focus on sustainability
The shift in focus to what matters most will also lead to a shift toward more sustainable wedding celebrations. For example, couples may be more focused on choosing outfits that can be worn again or simpler décor that can be reused. Smaller ceremonies also mean less waste and a smaller environmental footprint.

Couples will have the weddings they want
Most weddings come with a lot of pressure from family and loved ones during the planning process to adhere to certain traditions or invite certain people. The pandemic has provided many couples with the opportunity to focus on planning the wedding celebration they want without worrying about what their families would prefer.

After the struggles and challenges of 2020, celebrations will be more important than ever. We all want to feel joy and celebrate life and love. Even if 2021 is not the year for big wedding celebrations and parties, that day will come again soon.

What are your plans? Comment below. 

As always, please reach out if I can help you in any way!

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Rodney Head Shot

I’M  Rodney

WEDDING & PORTRAIT Photographer | Based in North Carolina

I love Jesus. Lord of the Rings. Spider-Man. Star Wars. Dr. Who. Italian food. Aquariums. My family. My dog, Ebbie. But enough about me. I want to know you. LIFE….with it’s ups and downs, your life, your story…these are beautiful things. I can’t wait to create images to show that!

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