Wedding trends usually occur organically and often reflect the times — such as the eco-friendly weddings of the past few years. According to Brides magazine, “eighty-one percent of our followers say the pandemic has changed their expectations for their wedding.” The trends for 2021 are a direct result of living in a global pandemic. No indoor weddings, no destination weddings, no large groups, no, no, no!
A surprising outcome may be that many of these new trends will likely stay around for a long time. Micro-celebrations with 25 guests or fewer create a more personal experience, and weekday ceremonies offer more available, affordable options. Also growing in popularity is the sequel wedding, where the couple marries quietly now and plans for a celebration party later.
Less certain for the post-pandemic future, but definitely happening now, is the etiquette for virtual weddings, such as sending celebration packages to those guests attending from afar so that everyone can feel included. Trends may have changed over time, but couples wanting to share their commitment in front of those they love remains the main goal.
Planning a micro-wedding, held outdoors with 25 guests, offers endless possibilities. Engaged couples are now considering getting hitched in the backyard of a family or friend or at a VRBO (vacation rental by owner), a boutique hotel, or even an AirBnB in a location that has special meaning to them.
Remember when having a Saturday wedding in June was the dream? These days, it’s all about the other days of the week. According to The Knot (theknot.com), “weddings outside of Saturdays already accounted for one in three nuptials in 2020.” The perks of a weekday wedding can be affordability, availability, time-of-day flexibility, more time to spend with guests, and access to planners, venues, caterers, musicians and deejays who would have otherwise been booked up. It can also be a boost for local businesses who are dealing with reduced hours and space due to safety guidelines.
One new trend that has emerged is the welcome and send-off kits: care packages for guests who are virtually attending your celebration. Brides says celebration boxes can contain “a custom cocktail kit or mini bottle of bubbly for the toast.” And many have found ways to send a personalized cake, while including pandemic specials such as personalized hand sanitizers and masks. These guest-centered details can also work for virtual bachelorette and bachelor parties.
Another way to adjust wedding plans to the pandemic reality is the sequel wedding, which The Aisle Wedding Directory (theaisleweddingdirectory.com) says allows for “a more grand and lavish celebration once restrictions have been lifted.” How grand and lavish it will be depends on the budget, but having more time to plan the sequel allows you to save more.
Sites such as The Knot recommend having two visions, one for the micro-wedding or elopement and one for the bigger event: “Since a sequel wedding consists of at least two distinct soirées, you have an opportunity to shatter the mold with a range of style options.” If you need help defining your style, take their quiz to find out if your aesthetic is boho, whimsical, modern, rustic, vintage, or something else that surprises you, like Art Deco.
Having a sequel wedding allows the couple to marry when they had originally planned but also have a large gathering of friends and relatives when it is safe to be together again. This way, you can have your wedding cake and eat it too.
Every day, the staff of the Santa Barbara Independent works hard to sort out truth from rumor and keep you informed of what’s happening across the entire Santa Barbara community. Now there’s a way to directly enable these efforts. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.