With the Covid vaccine rolling out across the country—and more people choosing to get it—the tier system that many states relied on to set restrictions and regulations is coming to an end. That means the wedding industry is getting closer to business as usual. "We're a planning services company in Vermont and our little state has been ahead of the vaccine rollout from early on,” explains Maricela Ehmann of Ehmann Events. “I envision many other states will go through what we are seeing now: an influx of inquiries - both requests for this year and the next. Most of our vendors are fully booked for 2021 due to last season's postponements.” So as we make our way back to “normal,” what can planners, vendors, and clients expect in the near future? Here is some insight to help guide the way!
Guidelines will continue to change
Regulations are likely to change frequently as more people get vaccinated and hopefully the number of positive cases will drop. That means that couples will need to be flexible—and planners need to be prepared. As Gwen Helbush of Where To Start, Wedding Management points out, everyone needs to stay on top of any changes when it comes to permitting requirements, venue rules, and responsibilities to health and safety. “Now more than ever, wedding professionals’ skills, knowledge, and experience are needed to ensure a couple has their perfect wedding day,” she explains.
Small weddings still take center stage
Even as many states lift restrictions, most planners believe couples will continue to go with the small and intimate route when it comes to their wedding day. “Many couples have experienced through the pandemic that a small gathering, with only the people from their inner circle and loved ones, makes the experiences for them and their guests even more special,” says Pollyanna Richter of Pollyanna Richter Weddings. “It allows the couples to really pamper their selected guests.”
Destination weddings make a comeback
Richter also predicts that smaller weddings—along with the ability to travel again—are steps in the right direction for destination weddings. This will allow couples to really spend quality time with their guests and give people the chance for much-needed travel.
Outdoor celebrations continue
Many couples will still opt for outdoor celebrations so their guests can feel safer and experience fewer restrictions, says Michelle Peralta of Josie Michelle Events, adding that couples enjoy designing their open-air celebrations.
Guests have limited restrictions
As more people get vaccinated, couples will feel more comfortable with having family and friends mingle without masks. Wedding planner Skyler Caitlin notes that venues in Texas have been allowing the couple to set the tone (and honestly enforce) most of their own restrictions. “We still see most having hand sanitizer stations throughout and some signs encouraging masks, but there are very few restrictions here,” she explains.
Staff will still follow precautions
While guests will see restrictions eased, Caitlin believes venue staff, especially catering, will continue to wear masks for the foreseeable future. “Honestly, the fact that staff didn’t already wear masks or at least have sneeze guards on their side of the service lines is now mind-blowing with hindsight,” she notes.
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