When was the last time you went to a wedding? Or to any large in-person event, for that matter? It certainly does feel like forever, but don't expect that feeling to last for much longer.
In case it hasn't already started, don’t be surprised if you start receiving invitations in your mailbox very soon. According to a recent wedding industry survey, it's estimated that there will be more weddings in 2022 than at any point in the past 35 years.
So what is the new look and feel of post-COVID weddings and other special events, and what is the new protocol? The landscape has changed over the past two years, so read on for everything you should expect before attending your next special event.
Smaller weddings are here to stay
The last two years have introduced terms like “micro-wedding” and “minimony” to describe scaled-down versions of regular weddings. These events, which typically comprise no more than fifty guests, are definitely here to stay for many important reasons.
The concept of these smaller-scale weddings has really appealed to couples — whether it’s to continue to keep their guests safe with smaller gatherings as COVID restrictions begin to ease, as a result of personal economic and/or employment changes, or simply as a new way for couples to balance having the wedding day of their dreams while facing new homeownership in the increasingly expensive real estate market. Whatever the reason, commenting on budget, costs or anything financially related to the wedding is still a big no-no.
Health and safety is still top of mind
While you may not have to scan your QR code to enter a venue, expect that some sort of health and safety measures will still be in place. This might include fewer people at tables, fewer buffet set-ups, and better forms of sanitation.
As Margarita Oudalova, Creative Director of Oudalova Events and Designs in Toronto notes, “[We're seeing] couples choosing more customized, intimate and very detail-oriented experiences and touches for the wedding."
"Before the pandemic, most choices for events were relatively 'standard' — now the theme is unique," she adds. "It’s all about creating touches that make people feel spoiled and loved after two years of sacrifices."
With more dedicated personal touches sprinkled throughout an event, you may want to take the time to compliment the hosts on their work as a way to show your appreciation for all the effort that went into planning.
Meaningful connections take precedence
Many relationships have been tested over the course of the pandemic, and couples have had an opportunity to take a close look at who they really want at their next event. Luckily, this means that if you are still invited to a wedding, that means you made the VIP list and are considered a member of the bride or groom's inner circle.
And if you didn't make the cut? Try not to take things personally as many couples are likely trying to keep guest lists smaller than they may have done in previous years.
The BIG splash
For many couples who have had to put their wedding on hold or who have sacrificed not seeing friends and family, their wedding is the perfect opportunity to bring everybody back together in a big way.
The past two years have given couples lots of opportunities to dream big and to continue saving for the event and for many the new theme is now “go big or go home." Hosts will need to decide and (more importantly) communicate all relevant information related to a gathering. For example, are guests required to be fully vaccinated or to be tested prior to arriving? Will masks be required?
Depending on your comfort level, it will be up to you to decide whether or not you're ready to attend such an event.
Supplies are limited
If you happen to be on the side of planning an event, be forewarned that supplies and venues are limited. If you filled your Pinterest board with very specific ideas, start planning ASAP, and expect a few hiccups along the way.
That wedding dress that normally would take four to six months to arrive might now take even longer, so the more time you allow yourself, the more you will actually enjoy the planning process and hopefully get everything you want. A big trend in the industry and something which I hope is here to stay is to source out more local options and support smaller businesses. Forming personal relationships with people and promoting good business make for great Canadian communities.