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Weddings After the Pandemic: Will Big Guest Lists Be Back?

Last year, during the height of the pandemic, wedding planning experts predicted that intimate weddings would continue long after the pandemic. But now that we’ve got the vaccines, are engaged couples really choosing small celebrations?

Let’s briefly look back to the wedding trends of 2020. At that time, many couples pushed back their wedding dates to the following year. They hoped that the pandemic would already be over by then. Some rescheduled only a few months later. They just waited for the restrictions to ease down. And to reduce the risks of getting sick, they trimmed down their guest lists.

Maxwell Cooper and her team at The Knot called the latter choice “mini-monies.” The wordplay, which combines “miniature” and “ceremony,” describes an intimate wedding with only around 10 guests. Those ten are usually made up of immediate family members, plus a friend or two. Such was the norm because the pandemic discouraged us from meeting with people outside our household.

Although mini-monies weren’t new, the pandemic has shed new light on it. It became more attractive to many couples, not just for its safety but for its financial perks. The shorter the guest list, the more budget you can dedicate for event styling, venue, and the wedding dress. Not to mention celebrate only with the people who are truly part of you and your beloved’s journey. In other words, you’re getting married surrounded by everyone who genuinely cares about you.

However, we also can’t deny the fact that we’re missing big weddings. If you have many friends and you like festive celebrations, you’d probably rather have a long guest list. But is that practical, considering that the COVID-19 threat hasn’t truly left us yet?

COVID-19 Vaccines’ Effect on Weddings

In September 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci recommended that couples consider rescheduling their weddings as far as 2022. His advice is something you shouldn’t disregard, as Dr. Fauci is the head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. As such, he’s a credible source for any information regarding COVID-19.

But when President Joe Biden announced that every adult in the U.S. could already get vaccinated by April 19, 2021, engaged couples might’ve forgotten about Dr. Fauci’s recommendation. With the CDC also declaring that fully vaccinated people can go mask-free in most settings, couples will really wonder if it’s already safe to go against Dr. Fauci’s advice.

As of May 13, 2021, fully vaccinated individuals are allowed to skip the mask outdoors. The CDC, however, didn’t specify if outdoor weddings cover that permission. We can assume, though, that weddings fall under the umbrella of most indoor and outdoor settings. Hence, if you’re already fully vaccinated, as are your guests, you may refrain from wearing your masks during the ceremony and reception.

On the other hand, if you’re tying the knot indoors, and you’d have guests who aren’t vaccinated or fully vaccinated, you have to keep your masks on. Getting the shots doesn’t make you immune to the virus. It just prevents hospitalizations and severe symptoms. Thus, you can still infect an unvaccinated person with COVID-19 if you don’t wear your mask and socially distance.

after wedding celebration

Wedding Trends in 2021

Since the health protocols are still in place, intimate weddings continue to be a trend today. And not just because of the threat of COVID-10. Rather, it’s the hassle of requiring all guests to be fully vaccinated. Indeed, it’s not easy to convince your friends and family to get the shots, especially if they don’t seem to want them. And though you can convince most of them, they’d probably get vaccinated on different days. Some of them may not make it to your wedding because their second dose is scheduled past it.

If unvaccinated guests aren’t the problem, it’s the difficulty of booking. Since many couples moved their weddings, 2021 became fully booked. Every ideal date, particularly the weekends of spring and summer, has been taken. That can leave you with no choice but to opt for a mini-mony.

To help couples re-plan their weddings, The Knot created a Rescheduler tool to make rebooking or choosing a new date easier. They also urge you to consider getting hitched on paper first, then celebrate it later. But if you’re really set on having a ceremonial wedding, choose an outdoor one, in a beautiful country wedding venue, for example. Such a place can accommodate an intimate celebration safely and stylishly.

Overall, don’t rush to make a big wedding happen this year. Remember, what’s more important in a wedding is being one with your partner, not the glitz and glamour. If you look at it that way, you can get married wearing rags, with just a single witness. The point is, if you really want a big wedding, you have to plan extra carefully, consider more details than usual, and prepare for possible challenges and stress factors.

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