I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious to see how the COVID-19 pandemic will change the wedding industry, and how it will shape what weddings look like moving forward. We’ve seen countless weddings either postponed or flat-out cancelled this year in the interests of safety. We’ll likely see many more weddings postponed or cancelled in the remainder of 2020, and (quite probably) well into 2021. I’ll concede, it isn’t a good time to be engaged.
Not everyone has opted for postponement, though: We’ve seen a huge rise in the number of couples who are choosing to elope, have microweddings, livestream their nuptials, or have “drive-by” weddings. And it makes me wonder: What will happen when the current pandemic has become more manageable, and restrictions on businesses and events have been relaxed?
Will there be a big demand for the lavish white wedding? Will people be so fed up with the “small and intimate” ceremonies that have been pushed upon them that they express their joy (and relief) by opting for big, opulent weddings? Or will people look at the home elopements and sufficiently-distanced microweddings and say, “Huh… these aren’t so bad”?
While it’s fun for me to speculate about the future, I acknowledge that it’s fun because I’m a detached party. I’m not one of the people who is in the terrible position of having to re-plan their entire wedding. Planning your perfect wedding for months or years, only to have to change everything you worked so hard on is an awful experience. The disappointment can feel heavy and overwhelming.
If you’re reading this blog now, you may be in the difficult position of having to decide what to do about your wedding. The pandemic has been raging since the beginning of the year, and maybe you were holding out hope that it would be safe to continue with a wedding by now. You probably know that you need to make a change. You probably know that it’s for the best, and that it’s better to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe rather than risk everyone’s health. But that doesn’t make the decision any easier. This is a terrible position to be in, and I’m honestly so sorry that you have to be here.
By now, you’ve probably already seen plenty of couples on the internet making changes to their weddings to make them pandemic-friendly. They may have inspired you and given you practical ideas. You might already have an idea of what your backup plan is, and how you want to handle your wedding. But just in case you don’t, or you’ve been feeling too overwhelmed to focus on creating a solution, here are most of the possible alternatives you can choose from (in order from largest- to smallest-scale):
Postpone Your Wedding Entirely. Keep the venue, the vendors, and the guest list. Just put the whole thing on hold. If you’re not in any rush to have your wedding, then this might be your best option. If you’re eager to make it legal, consider getting the paperwork and the legal ceremony done on your original date, but save the rest of it for later.
Have a “Drive-By” or “Drive-In” Wedding. These are becoming a semi-popular way of celebrating a wedding while including everyone on your guest list.
Have a Micro-Wedding. Whatever the current limit is for the maximum number of people at a gathering, you can work with it by having a micro-wedding. Just include your very nearest and dearest for a small, intimate ceremony and/or reception.
Stream Your Wedding. Given, you can do this with any of the other options listed. Just make sure you have a fast, reliable internet connection!
Elope. Admit it: there’s a good chance that, during the most stressful days of planning your wedding, you were joking about doing this already. Why not make it a reality? Don’t let the wedding industry fool you- Elopements can easily be just as romantic and beautiful as the more traditional ceremony & reception.
Feeling like none of these measure up to the wedding you originally had planned? That’s understandable. And that’s a very valid feeling- just because you have to adapt to the new situation, doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it. Maybe you’ll finish celebrating version 2.0 of your wedding and decide, “You know what? That was surprisingly great. It was everything we could have wanted.” Or maybe you won’t. And that’s fair. You can be happy about getting married while still feeling disappointed about how you were married. Just keep in mind: You can do it all over again, if you so choose. Watch any of the wedding shows currently airing, and you’ll notice that Vow Renewals are the new Weddings. A huge number of people use vow renewals as a way to have the wedding they never had, or to have the wedding they really wanted, or to serve as their “real wedding” after signing the paperwork and getting legally married years ago. Isn’t that amazing??? Call me biased, but when it comes to weddings, I say the more the merrier!