After 25 years of marriage, I’ve seen a lot of changes in the romance landscape. What will a wedding look like for couples in the post-COVID world?
The COVID Wedding Catastrophe
There were more than 2.2 million weddings in the US in 2019. Many more were planned for 2020, and most of them got canceled due to COVID-19. As I write this, eager brides and grooms are waiting for their moment to shine, hoping for a relaxing of the current restrictions on assemblies so they can tie the knot with family and friends present.
We can only guess on the likelihood of those weddings taking place this year.
The romance of a big wedding might be over this season, but what will romance look like later in 2020 and beyond?
Twenty-five years ago, when I got married, there were set expectations for events surrounding the couple and their wedding:
- They had an engagement party;
- They had a bridal shower;
- They had a stag/bachelor party;
- They had a wedding rehearsal dinner;
- They had a big wedding, with the potential for hundreds of guests;
- They had a fancy wedding reception; and,
- They had a special honeymoon trip.
While not every couple has all these get-togethers, many do. Post-COVID, however, these assemblies of over 10 people may continue to be sharply curtailed, at least until a vaccine is developed and enough people get inoculated or prove to have immunity through some other means.
That could easily be a year or more.
It looks like this is a golden opportunity for a wedding planner with big ideas to swan in and re-organize the whole thing as a post-COVID event. Maybe someone will. What might it look like?
The New Normal
An engagement party might just be the couple and their immediate family members. Maybe up to 10 people. Aunt Martha from the county next door will not be invited.
A bride’s wedding shower might become a virtual event, based on online shopping and a Skype cocktail hour.
A bachelor’s post-COVID stag party is likely to become a few beers with dad and brother Joe, plus a virtual elbow bump with a good buddy or two in email. Weddings are mainly for the bride anyway, right?
There will be no wedding rehearsal dinner. The wedding won’t have a wedding party of bridesmaids, groomsmen and others who will gather together to learn their roles, take their marks, and make poor toasts.
The wedding will be the biggest casualty of all, since it will have to be a virtual affair. However it’s done post-COVID, it would pale compared to the excitement generated when a hundred people come to witness flower petals being strewn along the aisle before the bride glides down it on her wedding day.
Wedding reception cake and lunch won’t be happening. Sorry caterers.
And the reward at the end of the craziness is the wedding honeymoon. Travel will be a new and tenuous concept after the pandemic of COVID-19.
The Good News
It’s not all bad news. There are a lot of opportunities for entrepreneurs to manage couples through this quagmire of wedding traditions-made-obsolete. They will not be the same entrepreneurs who planned weddings in the past. Fresh ideas will be hatched, new methods devised, and somehow, someway, romance will stay alive despite COVID-19.
We live in a time of “new normal.” I think we’d all better embrace it.