It’s no secret the pandemic forced brides and wedding planners to push their creative boundaries and become more resourceful. Not only did this result in new wedding trends, but it also led to a pause on others. So, which trends can we expect to stay, return, and leave for good? We spoke to Betsy McKay, Director of Sales at the Cadre Building and a wedding trend expert, for insight on everything you need to know to fully enjoy the return of weddings.
What Trends Are Here to Stay?
While the pandemic forced brides to break away from traditional wedding trends like receiving lines and banquet-style meals, new customs also arose. “A deeper appreciation for what is really important to the bride, family, and friends emerged,” says Betsy. This new focus led to smaller outdoor weddings with curated guest lists. While intimate weddings are not a new trend, they are certainly expected to continue.
The pandemic is also expected to lead to a keen focus on details, encouraging brides to go all out for their dream wedding and not overlook any detail — from flowers and lighting to food, signage, and color combinations. Besty adds, “In the post-pandemic future, I think you will see brides using more vibrant color schemes, hosting celebrations where no detail is spared, having more intimate gatherings and seated dinners, and throwing out many older traditions that just don’t work anymore.”
Betsy’s favorite trend that arose during the pandemic is the extra staffing incorporated by catering companies. “At first, it was simply done out of necessity for sanitary and safety reasons,” she says. “We quickly learned that this reduced lines at the buffets and food stations, promoted more detail to serving the patrons, and lessened food waste. Instead of having multiple guests handling tableware, food servers are the only ones handling those items. In hindsight, it’s probably something we should have been doing all along.”
What Trends Are Gone for Good?
Of course, one of the biggest wedding trends that arose during the pandemic was the addition of personalized face masks. “Monogrammed or personalized masks were a big hit during the COVID-19 wedding season,” says Betsy. “At first, clients were reluctant and sad they had to use them, but we decided to turn the sour into the sweet and had fun with custom designs.” While masks were undoubtedly necessary, Betsy also mentions that many brides are excited about their guests having the option to wear a mask or not.
Similarly, mini, individual hand sanitizers were another must-have wedding trend during the pandemic. Many brides again personalized these bottles with branded designs and labels to dress them up; however, Betsy says we can expect these to disappear with face masks.
“Another trend was the all-too-frequent DJ or band announcement for guests to keep their masks on while on the dance floor and to stay socially distanced,” she says. “No one will miss the temperature checks at the door. Although we embraced all of these things out of safety and responsibility, we are not sad to see them go.”
What Can We Expect to Return?
Perhaps the most obvious (and anticipated) wedding feature we can expect to return is socialization. For Betsy and her team, this is what they’re most looking forward to in the coming months. “We are most excited about socializing with people and lots more of them!” she says. “Although smaller events are intimate and nice, we are ready to party it up with large crowds again to help us celebrate our clients!”
While some pandemic brides still opted to host a band or DJ at their wedding, Betsy says we can expect the full-blown return of live music and dancing at weddings, too. “We are excited about live music coming back,” she says. “Bands really know how to bring the party, so we are excited to have musicians back in our space to really get the parties going!”
Despite all of these changes and new trends, Betsy’s number one piece of advice can be applied to both pre- and post-pandemic wedding planning: “Start early! If we’ve learned anything, it’s to expect the unexpected, so the earlier the plan, the easier it is to make changes and to have multiple backup options.”
This article is sponsored by Cadre Building.