In the past months, our mindset has shifted from thinking we were going back to our usual normal lives to knowing that some adjustments and changes are there to stay, a new “normal”! The pandemic has shaped both our lives and our businesses in unimaginable ways. Despite its devastation, it has also created opportunities, inspired unity, prompted equal rights, and enabled permanent behavioral changes that positively impacted our society and environment. When the world slowed down, our eyes opened up to the world beyond our livelihoods.
Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted the events industry. Collectively, we have had to reinvent ourselves. What was once popular attractions at your charity gala or wedding might not be entirely feasible anymore and might not return anytime soon.
From months of observation and industry insights, we have compiled a list of the top 4 trends and sub-trends that we believe will shape the wedding industry as we now know it. Here it goes:
1. Weekday weddings
Weekday weddings are becoming popular for three reasons. First, the majority of 2020 summer weddings and other social events have been postponed and transferred to summer 2021, so many prime dates like Saturdays and Sundays are fully booked! Second, some venues and vendors are hungry for your business, so weekday dates are being offered at discounts to fill their lost year's schedules. Third, there is no such thing as normal anymore! Anything is possible. Many statistical surveys suggest that more than half of the population desires to continue to work from home post-pandemic. If this is the case, people’s schedules will be more flexible, so a Tuesday night can easily be arranged for a night out. For this reason, we don’t anticipate that attendance will diminish for a weekday wedding.
If you are flexible in one way or all, you might be in a bargaining position. If you chose a weekday or an odd time of the year that is less popular like February, your accommodation needs would inevitably be cheaper, vendors will be available, and your venue might offer a discount on the room rental! You will be a winner in any case because your guests will be thrilled to get out of the house when nothing is happening in the city.
2. Theme weddings
Our industry suggests that this is very popular because, believe it or not, you will receive double the number of wedding invitations for 2021 than your usual wedding season! How do you make your wedding memorable? Brides and grooms are getting creative! The added time to plan, browsing Instagram and Pinterest and bigger budgets are contributors to this trend. Many hospitality studies show that people seek "experiences". By offering a unique personalized touch to your wedding, it becomes memorable! Here are some popular themes:
- A night out at the carnival, celebrating entertainment at its best with interactive games, a cotton candy machine, fried finger foods, and circus acts.
- A wonderland wedding emerged after many celebrities hosted theirs with this theme. Some features to make this standout can include a fantasy theatrical decor, unicorn-colors, oversized floral arrangements, over-the-top centerpieces, and a lot of lighting effects.
- A brunch wedding is increasingly requested because it’s not only different; it doesn’t end with dancing. In some provinces, dancing is temporarily prohibited, so this formula can easily disguise the need to end the day with a dance-off. It’s also a good alternative if you are someone who enjoys those mimosas and bright sunshine!
- A Hollywood “Great Gatsby” wedding continues to be a popular choice featuring large chandeliers, mirrors, feathers, and an overall classical taste. The Windsor Ballrooms is the idyllic venue for this with its original early 19th century ornamented walls and 20 feet tall ceilings and dangling crystal chandeliers.
Photo taken at the Windsor Ballrooms by Paul Doumit, August 2019.
3. Smaller intimate weddings
Inevitably this is a trend that is undeniable because of the pandemic. Understandably some brides and grooms who planned their fall wedding might not want to postpone to 2021, so instead, they are downsizing. Some might even call them “micro-weddings.” Of course, it can be challenging to uninvite some of your relatives and friends.
Still, you can ultimately propose a live web-diffused wedding and ceremony, especially for those family members and friends who might be unable to attend because they live abroad or are simply more susceptible to contracting the virus. Hiring a videographer is also on the rise.
Giving the option to your guests from the get-go in your invitation to either attend the ceremony only or to the entire event is an excellent way to avoid a large party. Some of your guests only attend the whole evening because they feel obliged, so by giving them a choice, everyone wins!
Nonetheless, if you want that fabulous big wedding, you have to be patient, but make sure you lock-in a potential date right away to avoid being left without options.
4. Elaborate dining
Right before the pandemic, caterers and decorators invested and created beautiful food stations with elaborate spreads. Self-serving food stations offer your guests variety and allow everyone to eat quickly and get right into the party! Today, the pandemic is forever changing how we can serve food. An excellent alternative to food stations and buffets are plated dinners and individually packaged meals. Interactive food stations will likely take over the market. A designated chef would be behind the station to take your order and prepare your dish while plexiglass would protect the food from guests' potential contamination.
Hosting a “travel-destination” theme wedding is trending because destination weddings are not possible now, so having a “destination menu” from around the world can be very inviting. Concurrently, it can also reflect your roots and heritage. It will be an undeniable success with your family with whom you typically share these traditional foods and a potential discovery for your friends who aren’t familiar with it.
Photo taken at the Windsor Ballrooms by Jay-R Monzon, November 2019.
Opting for a pre-selected welcome cocktail that is ready upon the arrival of your guests to the venue will limit crowding at the bar. Added servers to take orders is another right way to stop guests from going to the bar. The wine list and pairings can be pre-selected by the bride and groom with the chef and directly decanted at the tables. In this instance, how would you keep personalization alive? Custom design a cocktail list that is simple and diverse and pleasing to all palettes. At the Windsor Ballrooms, we offer a premium cocktail list that is customizable. We have an experienced bar staff trained to make any cocktail desired.
The slowdown of the world has brought awareness of sustainability, consumption, and pollution issues at large. In more ways than one, the pandemic has shaped our weddings into more sustainable events! For example, the ecological footprint of a local wedding is significantly less than a destination wedding. Smaller, more intimate weddings likewise. Plated dinner services avoid food waste commonly found with food stations. We must take into account that as COVID persists, the donation process of leftovers is cautiously restricted. For more inspiration on how to host your eco-friendly wedding, check out this article, "The Guide to Sustainable, Zero-Waste, Ethical Weddings"!
The most important thing you should do now is to lock in your date!
If you didn’t feel the sense of urgency in this blog post, please reread it! 2021 will be a very, very busy year for the events industry. Make sure you have your desired date saved!
Thanks for tuning in ☺ Please contact our sales team to learn about our turn-key packages and availabilities at email@example.com or 514.393.3588.
The Windsor Sales Team
Written by Laurie Robitaille, Sales & Marketing Manager, Translated to French by Isabelle Rochon, Director of Sales
 2 supporting studies: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2020/04/06/telecommuting-will-likely-continue-long-after-the-pandemic/ & https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/coronavirus-creating-huge-stressful-experiment-working-home/607945/