(In the garden) Bella Belle – Bridal 2020 Los Angeles

Nicole+Felicia – Bridal Fall 2020 Los Angeles

Micro-weddings, Eco-conscious and Going Digital among the Trends

The wedding sector is among the industries which have been overshadowed the most by the spread of the Covid-19 virus, as we all know. Yet, the industry is adopting measures that accord to the new global situation we’re facing, as even a pandemic cannot cancel love and the ways to celebrate it.

The Retail Dive’s data confirm people’s behavior since the first months of 2020, as the pandemic got a foothold and, one by one, countries closed their borders while governments set restrictions on large gatherings. In accordance to the many initial wedding cancelations and postponements, in April clothing and accessories sales in the bridal field went down an unprecedented 89%; the segment somehow recovered in the following months – as evidently people realized Covid-19 was an unknown enemy, and it certainly wouldn’t be a short-term thing-, when it was down 25% in June; a considerable increase, but compared to pre-pandemic era, the industry is still struggling significantly.

For many couples, adapting to the Covid-19 issue means tying the knot with smaller, intimate ceremonies – namely micro-weddings, whose Google searches doubled since March, as The Washington Post highlights (as well as for the elopements: id est, an escape which involves just the bride and the groom). So much so that to meet the rising demands, hotels all around the world have created special micro-wedding packages, which are ideal for weddings of up to 25-30 people. 

Actually, micro-weddings are not a new concept, yet they have been popularized during the pandemic. “Smaller weddings allow your budget to stretch further and you are able to do more for [fewer] people”, the wedding and event planner Anna Noriega explained to fodors.com. “Perhaps a nicer venue, nicer flowers, or even a celebration that includes a pre- and post-event can all be possible when you are working with a smaller group but a healthy budget”.

Small and intimate gathering set over longer periods – for a long weekend or even a week! – are increasingly becoming the trend for many couples, which is certainly not going to slow down in 2021 and beyond, according to wedinspire.com: couples would look for extra ways to impress and spoil their smaller guest list and celebrate for longer and better, with bespoke experiences, since there is more budget per head.

Technology here plays an important role, as the pandemic imposes a change to how the loved ones and friends can be involved on the wedding day when circumstances may prevent them from traveling and attending in person. Trends show that digital tools as teleconferencing software Zoom are not discarded by percentages of couples as acceptable options to make their vows and conclude the ceremony in some way; live streaming and videography here come into their own, alongside the rise of drones being used, perfect for preserving the experience and the beauty of the venue from above. 

Digital is also recommended when it comes to planning nuptials in times of uncertainties as nowadays. “Have a website, maybe an email newsletter where you can update your guests digitally.”, advises Jen Glantz, founder of Bridesmaid for Hire, a business she launched in 2014. “That way you don’t have to invest in new invitations and save-the-dates, especially with so much unknown”.

Digital showrooms and virtual appointments seem not to be among the most preferred tools to pick out a wedding gown and purchase it online, though. “I have not had a bride that has been comfortable selecting a wedding dress over Zoom or a virtual consult”, said Megan Gillikin, owner of wedding event planning company A Southern Soiree. “That is not something that our clients have embraced as of yet, they are more likely to do that for their bridesmaids’ gowns”. She thinks the reason is that a wedding is a personal, emotional and special event, therefore women feel the necessity to be able to touch and interact with the dress itself, especially when it comes to a high-level purchase. Not to mention that the gown typically involves a tailoring intervention to properly fit the bride.

Vogue highlights a new trend, which is the focus on the sleeve. Please note: not a normal sleeve, but volume puff sleeves, be they with smaller cap sleeves, or full-length volume; this is certainly going to be a big trend in 2021. Keeping in line with a more relaxed approach to weddings, original styles and breaking-the-rules gowns with personal touches will be favored, including the shorter above the knee dresses to show the bride’s pro dance moves. As a consequence, this will involve a major focus on the shoes, which will be all about colour: pastel or bold tones, what matters is to have fun, when it comes to footwear!

The appeal of breathing fresh air during a pandemic translates into a growing demand for outdoor weddings: the founder of Coco Wedding Venues Emma Hla told The Church Times that her website has had a 9000-per-cent increase in searches for a “garden” wedding; however, this is not a trend to the detriment of more traditional services.

Going hand in hand with this, eco-conscious weddings are also on the rise: this means couples are looking at ways to host responsibly and cut back on unnecessary waste. Greener venues are then preferred, providing in-house catering and using locally-sourced products, alongside the rising interest in upcycling, socially good causes to join or going plastic-free, to name but a few examples.

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