The Covid wedding, have we seen the last of them?
Whisper it softly, so as not to jinx it……getting married and celebrating, surrounded by family AND friends, is once again possible, after a torrid two years. Thanks to COVID-19, hosting a wedding has been as tricky as trying to navigate a maze, one legged, with a blindfold on! It’s been exhausting, frustrating and bewildering in equal measure, for many a bride and groom, trying to get their heads around covid rules for weddings. Currently there are no guest number, or venue restrictions. However, the possibility of changing wedding plans – sometimes at the last minute – will, for the foreseeable future, remain an ever-present reality; one which doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. So, if you’re about to get married, or recently become engaged, here are a few things you need to know, to help you navigate the new ‘normal’.
General Trends for COVID 19 Weddings
Size & Number of guests
There are three distinct trends emerging. Firstly, the micro wedding, with its more intimate number of guests. Secondly, the ‘big bang’ wedding, where it’s all about excess, as a direct response to 18 months of restrictions. Finally, there’s the ‘sequel’ wedding. To avoid having to reschedule their big day, many couples now opt to marry quietly, and host a celebratory vow renewal and party on their first anniversary. Obviously, all plans made are subject to any existing and future covid rules around weddings.
Weekday or Weekend
Whether you’re opting for micro or macro, weekday weddings are now a thing! With no certainty as to if, or when, another lockdown may be imposed, brides and grooms are seizing the moment, any moment, to walk down the aisle.
Health & Safety
This is now an essential part of the wedding planning process. It’s all about implementing systems to keep COVID-19 spread at bay – handwashing, hygiene, high risk guests, travellers from overseas – these all need to be factored in.
Fashion, Flowers, Food & Photography
Online consultations are now ‘de rigueur’. Most suppliers will offer 1-2-1 appointments via ZOOM – where you can choose your preferred flowers, discuss a selection of photographic styles, or work out food and drink pairings, with ease. The requirement to minimise contact as much as possible has led to much innovation. For instance, pre-mixed luxury cocktails and pre-cooked fine dining menus you serve yourself, are becoming increasingly commonplace. Even shopping for a wedding dress, once one of the highlights for the bride, has become something to be done online. Whether you opt for a new dress or a vintage one, designers now host couture shows, to be viewed from the comfort of your sofa, and rental shops showcase their vintage stock online. The only thing to remember, when working with a supplier, is to plan ahead. This is because COVID has affected the whole supply chain.
The Rise of the Wedding Planner
It’s hardly surprising that with so many additional hoops to hurdle and procedure to consider, that more engaged couples than ever now seek the help of a professional wedding planner. Industry pros, like Sarah Haywood, are there to take the stress out of the big day. Instead of searching for venues offering covid wedding packages, negotiating wedding insurance and checking contracts with suppliers re: postponement or cancelation, engaging a wedding planner allows the couple to focus on the fun stuff!
Stationery Trends for COVID 19 Weddings:
Never before has good wedding stationery been so important. With so much potential for change, in these COVID 19 wedding days, letting guests know what is happening, clearly, concisely – and in a timely fashion - is more crucial than ever before. A good luxury wedding stationery supplier offers a variety of options. From in depth, 1-2-1 online consultations and bespoke stationery designs, to more traditional, no-fuss, off the shelf options. The key is to keep everything simple. It’s all about clarity of message and keeping guests in the loop.
Digital or physical?
Sending out a save the date notice and wedding invitations, digitally, can provide instant satisfaction. However, an email or text usually demands a response! Potentially, this route may monopolise your time more than you anticipated. Imagine your email inbox filling up with questions about how you are, what you’re up to, and other general chit chat; or demands for more in-depth info about the big day. Tiring, no?
Opting to send out physical notices and wedding invitations is, ultimately, less time consuming. What’s more, if your real-life wedding is forced to become a ZOOM one, you can still make it feel more tangible for guests by sending out a beautiful card, which serves as a physical memento of the day – even though it’s become a virtual event.
Some people may say that if a wedding is cancelled or delayed you may lose money by opting to go down the physical stationery route. We would argue this needn’t be the case. Again, it’s all down to good planning. There is always the option to get the non-time sensitive items into production and hold off getting the time-sensitive stationery printed, until certainty reigns. This can save a lot of stress and once you’re able to give the go ahead, with confidence, these remaining items can be printed quickly, without incurring additional cost.
Yes, yes, YES! These are vital, especially if the big date is set for 2022, or beyond! They allow guests to mark the special day in their diaries, well in advance.
When it comes to wording, skip the COVID jokes. They may not be appreciated, particularly if some guests have had to cancel their own wedding, due to the pandemic. We advise sticking to the classic, tried and true format of a new printed card, stating the date of the wedding and letting guests know exact details will follow. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, it’s simply a stylish way to earmark the day. In terms of design, ideally, the card should be visually similar to the rest of the wedding stationery suite.
We are also starting to notice couples adding in another card: a save our ‘back up’ date card – just in case they are forced to cancel their first-choice day. In this way, they are assured their guests will have two dates in the diary; just in case the worst happens.
As well as traditional wedding invitations, there’s been a marked increase in couples seeking luxury wedding stationery and bespoke design. It seems that if they can’t splash out on an extravagant wedding day celebration, they still want to mark the special occasion with something beautiful and memorable.
When it comes to sending out the invitation, timing etiquette for this has not changed. We recommend the standard 6-8 weeks.
As ever, invitation wording is a personal choice. Most couples opt for the traditional format, others decide on a unique tone of voice. What’s important is ensuring all pertinent information for the day is made clear.
Where things now differ, thanks to COVID 19, is that many couples now include an additional card, or sentence at the bottom of the invitation, outlining current COVID rules for weddings – particularly with regard to health and safety. With guests’ wellbeing now evermore paramount, it’s important to reassure them that all possible precautions have been taken. Deliver the message with tact; don’t bash guests over the head with regulations and restrictions – a simple, discrete message, stating clearly procedure and protocol is all that’s required.
The RSVP card remains a vital part of the wedding stationery suite. It’s a proven way to ensure guests reply to the invitation in a timely manner, without you having to chase them up, especially if cards are pre-stamped. All a guest need do, is tick the appropriate response and find a post box! In terms of wording, we advise including an email address on the RSVP card, so guests can get in touch, with any questions, or if circumstances mean they need to make a change to their initial response.
What happens if you need to postpone?
So, what if the worst scenario materialises and a new COVID surge, with accompanying lockdown, forces a wedding postponement? Firstly, breathe. It’s impossible to predict the future, so keep calm and carry on! Any changes you may need to make shouldn’t, given this COVID climate, come as a surprise to anyone. What’s important is to be timely and honest with guests. They will understand; after all, the ever on-again, off-again wedding and expanding, shrinking and expanding guest list is becoming a COVID wedding norm!
It is your responsibility, as host, to let guests know what is happening. Sending a card is an elegant touch. Keep the message simple. For instance, “new COVID rules mean we have had to postpone our wedding.” If there is a revised date, then state it, otherwise something along with lines of, “we will let you know our new wedding date as soon as possible” will suffice.
Remember, when it comes to wedding stationery, Pemberly Fox is here to help. We know that every wedding and every bride and groom’s scenario, unique. There is no one-answer-fits-all to this exceptional COVID-19 induced situation, but we hope that these tips about the new wedding trends and guidelines help steer you towards organising and enjoying your special day, with the minimum amount of stress.
UPDATE May 2022: Digital stationery provider, Paperless Post, has compiled some interesting additional statistics around Covid-19 Wedding Trends, and how the pandemic has changed the wedding landscape. We thought you may find it interesting; for instance:
- 31% of weddings during Covid included virtual guests, before vaccines became available
- 14% of couples pushed their wedding back by 12 months or more
- There is now an average of 70 or less in-person wedding guests, versus the average of 75-150 guests prior to Covid-19