A courtyard decorated for a wedding reception with tables and lights.

To say the coronavirus has changed the wedding industry would be an understatement. And although the pandemic appears to be fading away, at least for the moment, some of the changes may be here to stay.

Either due to regulations or just out of concern for their guests, nearly ever engaged couple has had to make some adjustments to their big day post-corona. As weddings resume, you will likely notice this yourself if you haven’t already. But these changes will be even more noticeable with luxury weddings where (normally) there are no expenses spared and the experience is meant to be one for a lifetime. It’s safe to say that extravagant weddings after COVID-19 may not be the big and bold affairs they once were. Yet, at the same time, some of these updates could be seen as a good thing.

Wondering what to expect from a high-end wedding in the near future? Here are some tidbits that wedding professionals are starting to notice.

Fewer Guests

Generally, the bigger the wedding, the longer the guest list. Well, that seems to be going out of fashion. Now, expect to be invited only if you’re on the VIP list. This is partly because many areas limit the number of attendees for private events, but also because it’s easier to implement social distancing measures. To make up for it, some couples are opting to live-stream the event so those who can’t make it don’t miss out.

Private Ceremonies

A bride and groom kissing in a church surrounded by only a few loved ones.

Guest lists become even more limited when it comes to the ceremony, as those often take place indoors. So, expect to see more invitations that say “Reception Only.”

Large, Outdoor and/or Specialized Venues

In addition to a smaller guest list, couples are getting pickier about the venue they choose. Larger spaces prevent guests from crowding together too much. Outdoor venues, or at least ones that have an open-air option, are also trending as they are deemed safer. And, event-specific locations are also strongly preferred. For example, couples are more likely to choose a venue that is dedicated to events only over something like a hotel, where there are hundreds of “strangers” roaming around the same building.

No DIY Dining

Buffets, self-serving stations, and bar queues will be no longer. All food and drinks will likely be directly ordered from and brought to your table. In addition, people will shy away from family-style dishes, bread baskets, and even passed-around appetizers.

Preventative Measures

A wedding guest wearing a face mask and signing a guest book.

It’s hard to imagine wearing masks and gloves at a formal affair, but you will likely spot some couples offering personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer for guests who want to stay safe. You might also see more wedding and event staff wearing protective gear. In addition, some couples are implementing temperature checks prior to entry. This can be done via cameras like the ones you see at airports, so you wouldn’t even notice. Which means, it wouldn’t be surprising if some very strict weddings would require all guests to take a COVID-19 test in order to attend.

Fewer Destination Weddings

Since travel will be deemed risky for some time, don’t expect many weddings in the near future to take place somewhere far, far away.

Gifts = Gone

Although most couples prefer that you don’t bring any gifts to the event, now it will likely be forbidden. Similarly, favors may be done-for as well. Or at least, they may be pre-made and given upon exit or, alternatively, delivered to the home of the guest with the “thank you” card.

Added Entertainment

A pair of guitar players at a wedding reception sitting in the grass.

To prevent guests from crowding on one dance floor, some couples are opting to have several. Or, alternatively, a few are forgoing dancing altogether and replacing the DJ with a live performance where guests don’t have to interact.

More Minimalism

Overall, it seems that all weddings, luxury or not, are striving toward being more minimalistic. For a formal event, this just makes it more formal— although hopefully no less fun. However, that means there may be less staff, no handshakes or hugs, and less extra additions. Many couples are doing without things such as photo booths, groom’s bars, or any means by which people might exchange germs. To put it simply, in the post-COVID era, toned down weddings will be the new normal.


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