Coronavirus and weddings? Here’s what 2021 could look like? – Lisa Hunt-Wotton – Celebrant

What will future weddings look like with coronavirus still on the horizon? 

Unfortunately coronavirus will be with us for a while.  It’s been a heartbreaking year for brides and grooms and wedding industry services .  The wedding industry has been one of the hardest hit by the lockdowns.    It was heartbreaking in March/April spending day after day re-sheduling weddings from early to late 2020 and then again to 2021.

What will weddings look like in 2021 and will weddings ever get back to normal?  Well only those who are proficient in crystal ball gazing can answer those questions, but we can look at some of the changes and prepare for the new normal that we are so sick of hearing about.  

The unfortunate reality is that there will be a lot of casualties of Rona.  Many wedding vendors will simply not be around in 2021.  There is never a more important time to be super picky about your vendors and to actually read agreements and contracts from start to finish, paying particular attention to the ‘postponement’ and ‘cancellation’ sections.

Be very wary of vendors who do not have written agreements as it will make it much harder to know where you stand if refunds are required. If vendors are unable to provide an agreement which includes their transparent refund policy, consider drafting one for them so you both know where you stand.

If you do book a wedding for 2021, I would advise that you tentatively book a date with well established, experienced vendors and make sure they have contracts in place for re-scheduling.

With so many 2020 weddings being postponed and prioritised by venues and suppliers for their dates in 2021, it will leave newly-engaged couples struggling for peak weekend dates.

Weekday weddings were already on the rise before all this as couples realised the value for money benefit.  Now with dates already booked in advance and couples having to re-schedule. the weekday wedding may be the only alternative. 

Destination weddings 

Destination weddings will be even more difficult to arrange.  In Australia I doubt that international flights will open up before mid 2021.  Qantas chief Alan Joyce predicted recently that international air travel wouldn’t resume until mid-2021 due to the impact of COVID-19.  The situation with State borders could remain fluid for another 12 months at least.  State borders could open and close depending on the various waves of the virus.  Keep in mind that even if the borders open there may still be a two week quarantine on the books.   This makes it almost impossible to plan interstate weddings or honeymoons.  

Is it better to rebook my wedding for 2022 to be safe?

“It’s a really personal decision since, for many, waiting another two years to tie the knot is just too far off. But for those in no rush, it’s worth considering. Pushing it all back to 2022 will open up more availability for your suppliers, your guests, and you get to spend all of 2021 chilling, because you’ll be the most prepared couple ever.”

My advice to current couples would be to look at booking your wedding in 2022.  Until we have a vaccine and until travel opens up again, the reality is life as we knew it is over.  Let’s face it, we really don’t know how many of these waves of the virus there will be.  I already have several brides who have booked and re booked three times.  

How can I cut down my wedding guest list? If ruthlessly cutting the guestlist is a daunting prospect, stick to some cut and dry rules. Parents and siblings only, no plus ones, no kids. It will make it much easier to explain to those who didn’t make the cut. In terms of letting people know, you can relax in knowing that people will be much more forgiving given the circumstances and most guests might assume this might happen anyway and be prepared to receive your un-invite. Just let people know it wasn’t an easy decision but that you 100% plan to celebrate more widely when you can. 

WHAT WEDDINGS WILL LOOK LIKE in 2021

For many couples, this crisis has shifted their priorities and the focus is now more on an intimate gathering with their nearest and dearest, and it will be hard to get over the mental hurdle of being around big groups.

On the positive side, let’s be honest… I am sure there are many couples who quietly relish the opportunity to get married and not feel obliged to invite their entire extended family! While weddings won’t quite be the same without all those drunk uncles on the dance-floor, they will be a lot cheaper!

Smaller weddings were trending in the last few years anyway, as couples started to actively choose to reduce their numbers  way down in order to invest more in each person.

Finances will also play a big role in this. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that in most cases, reducing your numbers reduces your spend. So if couples have been hit particularly hard by this crisis but still just want to get married,  smaller weddings and or zoom weddings will be the option that they choose.

One solution:

ELOPE NOW. CELEBRATE LATER 

My son and daughter in law actually did this in 2019.  We had a group of 16 for the wedding/lunch celebration and they will have a big party further down the track. 

I’ve had a few couples prefer that I marry them in front of friends and family, and then they are opting to have their reception once all of corona is done and dusted. It’s a flexible and fail-proof selection.

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