How different will weddings be after COVID-19?

Bride and groom walking along The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells
© Photographed by John Knight

Weddings, among everything else, have been hugely affected by COVID-19; a recent survey by Bridebook found that 64% of 2020 UK weddings had been affected, either by postponements, cancellations or travel logistics. Whilst the government have ruled that as of 4th July 2020, ceremonies can now take place in religious settings, there are numerous restrictions in place that must be adhered to, such as social distancing between households and numbers being limited to a maximum of thirty people. Receptions are still unable to take place, and it is still very much unknown as to when weddings will return to ‘normal’.

Some couples may decide to just have a small ceremony now with their close family and friends in attendance, and then have a reception or party at some point in the future when more of the restrictions have been lifted. Other couples may simply postpone the whole event, in order to have it happen all on one day, albeit not for a while.

I think it is safe to say that weddings are going to be vastly different, for the foreseeable future at least. There will be an increase in the number of smaller, ‘micro-weddings’ taking place, especially in outdoor and open-air spaces, as this will enable households to maintain social distancing more easily than indoors. They may also become preferable to big weddings, as they are more intimate with only those people who are most important to you present.

The idea of live-streaming the ceremony for those who are unable to attend or live far away, could become quite popular, as it enables the couple to still able to share their special day and it allows the guests to still be included.

There will be a much higher emphasis on health and safety, with hand sanitising stations installed throughout venues, contact-less systems and services will be used, and there will be frequent, thorough cleaning taking place. There will also be higher expectations regarding the preparation of food and ensuring it is cooked properly, with meticulous cleaning of the kitchens, equipment and crockery happening regularly.

Seating plans, for both the ceremony and the reception, will have to be carefully considered, to allow social distancing between households as well as the staff. With this in mind, buffet options as we know them are likely to see a decrease in popularity, due to the increased risk of cross-contamination. Dancing the night away to a live band or a DJ are unlikely to be happening any time soon, due to to social distancing requirements, so the evening reception, if it can take place, may be a more subdued affair, at least for the time being.

Since COVID-19 is probably going to be around for a long time, it is something that we need to adjust to and learn how to cope with, and I think that, for any couples getting married now, or in the near-future, it is important to put a big emphasis on getting the balance right between having the perfect wedding and keeping everyone, including the couple, the guests and all the staff, safe and well.

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