15 Pandemic Wedding Trends Vendors Say Should Stick Around

covid-wedding-ideas-wedding-partyIf you would have told us pandemic wedding trends and COVID wedding ideas would serve as inspo for couples planning their special day a few years ago, we would have scoffed. But, due to COVID-19, over the last year and a half the way we celebrated was, indeed, drastically different and filled with, of course, pandemic wedding trends and COVID wedding ideas.

{photo above by Nicole Kirshner Photography | styling + florals: Luna Muse | coordinator: Pop the Champagne Events | HMU: Beauty by Melina | Dresses by Daughters by Simone via Coterie White | van: Mali Booth}

The wedding industry was hit hard by COVID-19 safety regulations and guidelines, which forced couples to either postpone their big day to the foreseeable future or find other ways to share their marriage with family and friends. For those who did not postpone, the term, micro-wedding essentially became the “it” concept for those exchanging “I dos” in 2020 and 2021.

To accommodate the ever-s0-changing environment, industry pros not only had to pivot their services to help put on these micro-weddings but also ensure that celebrations remained safe for all who attended. Face masks and color-coded socially-distancing wrists bands became the party new favors as well as other COVID-inspired details, as vendors and couples attempted to navigate planning a wedding in the middle of a pandemic.

However, it turns out not all of the pandemic wedding trends that popped up throughout the last few seasons are necessarily bad. There are actually a few of them that vendors say should stay popular—long after the whole six-feet phase. Want to know what COVID wedding ideas vendors say are here to stay? From unique venues to remote planning to even curated guest lists, we asked the pros to tell us some of their favorite COVID wedding ideas. Check them out below!

photo by Kelly Ginn Photography as seen in this colorful at-home wedding

1. Opportunities for new venues.

“Following the pandemic, outdoor venues will continue to be prioritized, giving opportunities for new locations to thrive!” – Lisette Gatliff, Owner, Lisette OC Photography

2. A focus on local entertainment.

“Solo musicians and trios have been getting booked more as a crowded dance floor has become less popular – it’s a great way to incorporate up and coming local musicians into your special day!” – Lisette Gatliff, Owner, Lisette OC Photography

3. Less stress over booking vendors.

“More backyard weddings means more dates open for vendors since these can take place any day of the week and there’s no worry about a venue being booked already.” – Lisette Gatliff, Owner, Lisette OC Photography

photo by Eric Doolin Photography as seen in this orange-inspired styled shoot

4. More intentional time on the wedding day.

“As a photographer, I find that a more intimate wedding creates images that are more meaningful and sentimental to a couple since the guest list is limited to the closest family and friends. Plus, I get more pictures of couples enjoying time to themselves soaking up their day without the stress of having to socialize with a ton of guests.” – Lisette Gatliff, Owner, Lisette OC Photography

5. More time to focus on planning your honeymoon.

“At Bliss-On, we’ve tried to keep positive vibes throughout the pandemic. It’s no surprise that micro-weddings and delayed honeymoons are trending, and after a year like 2020, everyone deserves a vacation getaway and your honeymoon should be the ultimate retreat! Think about all of the details of your micro-wedding – from flowers to favors – then focus your attention on your honeymoon! With more time to plan, you will have more time to perfect the details of your trip. Take your time researching locations or resorts, set aside a budget to splurge on special activities that fit your setting (like scuba diving, a cooking class, or a special tour of the city!), and treat yourself to fun things to pack for the trip – try a Bliss-On bridal swimsuit to bring the feeling of your wedding day to your special trip with your one and only!” – Kat Platt, Co-Founder & Designer, Bliss-On by Kat Platt

covid-wedding-ideasphoto by Mary Costa Photography as seen in this backyard micro-wedding

6. The ability to take advantage of remote planning.

“Planning a wedding is an incredibly time-consuming process. Planners attend many in-person meetings with clients and meet and vet wedding vendors to view products. Thanks to technology, we adapted. We can still connect and engage virtually for regular check-ins, planning meetings, and design decisions over Zoom. Working remotely provides the same benefits as an in-person meeting. I love that we are saving dollars; I can spend more time with my clients and vendors while reducing emissions. Today and in the future, I can accomplish the same goals!” – AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events 

7. Covered culinary experiences to treat your guests.

“Buffets are over and meal preparation, in general, looks different. Chefs and caterers are covering meals to add an extra level of safety. My favorite culinary accessory is the glass cloche, a dome-shaped covering for a meal that’s removed before serving. I love these because they are statement pieces that add a wow factor to the dining experience, AND they create an extra level of food safety! We love to etch the cloches with the bride and groom’s logo or personalize them with each guest’s first name and serve first courses with cloches filled with smoke for servers to reveal an impressive meal presentation.” – AJ Williams, Founder & Creative Director, AJ Events 

8. Curated guest lists.

“One of the positive outcomes of the pandemic is that couples have become much more intentional with who they decide to invite to take part in their special day. Despite what most people think, couples are not decreasing their wedding budgets as a result of the pandemic. In fact, in my wedding planning business, I have seen an uptick in clients who are looking to expand their wedding budget to create an even more memorable experience. Instead, couples are much more selective with their guest list, favoring a celebration consisting of close family and friends over a large wedding party. A carefully curated guest list might mean a smaller headcount, but it offers couples the opportunity to create even more special moments within a wedding to making it stand out. Hiring a larger band or planning a specialty performance, or being more extravagant with florals and decor to visually elevate the experience are examples of how we’ve created impactful and memorable moments in our post-pandemic events.” – David Tutera, Owner, David Tutera

“While many have had to downsize their wedding guest list due to pandemic restrictions, this might not be a bad thing after all! Having to curate your guest list to a smaller count forces you to really think about each and every person you’re inviting. You can be assured that everyone that makes the list is someone who genuinely cares for you and your partner, has supported you and your relationship, and will be a meaningful addition to the group on your special day. Having your closest family and friends by your side (versus everyone from your mom’s weekly pilates class that she wanted to include!) can only be a positive thing!” – Anthony & Michelle D’Anna, Owners, Michelle’s Catering  

photo by Priscila Valentina

9. Food can become the main event, not a sideshow.

“In years past, wedding meals have often become quick feasts for guests to hurry through to move onto the main attraction: dancing. However, couples have been able to use COVID safety precautions against dancing to their advantage by coming up with other forms of entertainment, including culinary masterpieces. From multiple course extravaganzas to curated tasting menus to wine pairings, the possibilities are truly endless when it comes to feeding your guests. You can treat them to a show-stopping meal that will feel like a true delight for everyone to enjoy, rather than rushing them through a plain plate of chicken!” – Anthony & Michelle D’Anna, Owners, Michelle’s Catering  

10. More possibilities.

“Hear us out on this one – you might think your options are limited after the pandemic, but it’s actually given couples a chance to be more creative in their wedding plans. Weekday weddings, unique venues, new forms of entertainment in lieu of dancing (private concerts, magic shows, live paintings, and more!), the ability to live-stream guests that wouldn’t have been able to attend…there are endless new options that have come about that couples might not have considered before! Moving forward, couples will be able to throw traditional “dos and don’ts” out the window and can choose to plan a wedding that fits their vision, whatever that may look like.” – Anthony & Michelle D’Anna, Owners, Michelle’s Catering  

11. More focus on the guest experience.

The pandemic has given couples a reason to keep guest counts small and create a more intentional experience for their guests. Fewer couples are feeling the need to please everyone and invite everyone, and the pandemic has given them the “excuse” they needed to focus on those with who they can truly celebrate with on the special day. Couples who had saved for their big wedding during COVID are realizing the benefits of being able to go above and beyond with smaller guest counts when it comes to the food, beverages, entertainment, and more, and as newly engaged couples see these trends surfacing, it is inspiring future couples to keep the momentum going.” – Heather Alana, Founder & Principal Planner, Epoch Co+

covid-wedding-ideasphoto by Alicia Thurston Photography as seen in this pop-up wedding inspo

12. No more early morning flights.

“Since the Pandemic has restricted elaborate travel, honeymoons aren’t immediately following weddings. This change is actually a fantastic one and should continue. It gives the couple a chance to savor the day after instead of racing off.  Also, it allows them to save up for the elaborate trip and gives them something to look forward to down the road.” – Erica Sacco, Owner & Creative Director, Erica Marie Events

13. True personalization of wedding details.

“When couples were planning large gatherings, the opinion and need to satisfy the masses sometimes forced them to pick things that were “the norm.” With smaller guests counts, couples didn’t feel the need to please tons of people. Instead, they were able to focus on the personal details that made up their relationship and put that into their wedding. Whether choosing your favorite date night meals as your wedding dinner or creating a bar menu that reflects your personality as a couple. I hope infusing your love story, your memories and these personal details into your wedding day sticks around post-pandemic.” – Krisy Thomas, Owner, Southern Sparkle Wedding & Event Planning

covid-wedding-ideas-receptionphoto by Rossella Putino Photographer as seen in this styled shoot

14. The chance to create a weekend full of events.

“Instead of putting your total budget into entertaining hundreds of guests on the wedding night only, my couples are moving towards providing an all-inclusive guest experience for the full weekend because they truly want to spend time with each and every guest who is attending. Starting with a thoughtful rehearsal dinner/welcome party where every guest is welcomed when they arrive for the weekend and carrying that same attention to detail through to the wedding day and finally to the day after where everyone gathers for one last meal and says their goodbyes.” – Daulton Van Kuren, Owner &  Creative Director, The Refined Host

15. An opportunity to put budget towards dramatic floral installations.

“Our couples have decreased their guest counts but are not shying away from decreasing their floral budget – in fact, they are upping their budgets to wow their small guest count. We’ve heard so many couples say that they are ready to celebrate and party with their nearest and dearest after a year in isolation.” Shauna Karver, Owner, J29 Events

Looking for more COVID-19 wedding planning advice?  Check out our helpful guide #onGWS here.