Will retailers be jilted by the trend toward micro and hybrid weddings?
The wedding industry is headed for a record-breaking year due to pent-up demand for nuptials, but two trends that developed over the pandemic — micro and hybrid weddings — may put a hit on spending in the years ahead.
Smaller weddings of under 100 guests were becoming popular in recent years, but micro weddings (about 25 close family members and friends) became the only recourse for many couples over the last year due to COVID-related restrictions. The even leaner elopement wedding is another related trend believed to have been accelerated by the pandemic.
The appeal of smaller weddings includes significantly lower costs, not only due to reduced guest count, but because many are held in backyards. For the couple, a smaller-scale wedding can reduce stress in planning and creates a more relaxed vibe during the affair. The couple can spend more quality time with guests and each other. And without the formalities and expectations around larger weddings, the couple gains more freedom to explore outside-the-box ideas for the event.
The hybrid wedding typically has only close relatives and friends in physical attendance but allows guests from afar to virtually celebrate the nuptials online.
“Tuning in virtually has allowed people to be more accessible to participate in a virtual toast or wedding ceremony regardless of what hurdles life throws their way,” Anna Lucia Richardson, founder of Anna Lucia Events in Tampa, told The Washington Times. “Almost anyone can set aside one hour to tune in to be a part of the moment.”
Savings from fewer guests have reportedly encouraged some couples to boost spending in other areas, such as flowers and jewelry. A Washington Post article, however, concluded that smaller and virtual weddings are driving a shift toward simpler, shorter and less-expensive wedding dresses. Skimpier wedding presents should be expected from those virtually invited to weddings.
Other pandemic-related trends include the emergence of virtual showrooms where brides and their friends select, share and vote for their favorite dresses. At-home try-on programs also took off. This year, weekday weddings are surging as postponed weddings from 2020 battle for space.
- Couples are ready to ‘go all out’ as wedding industry sees surge in business, says The Knot CEO – CNBC
- Kelly Cook of David’s Bridal: The pandemic ‘threw a hand grenade’ into the wedding planning process – Glossy
- Wedding Season 2021 Is a Perfect Storm – The Atlantic
- Weddings Took a Big Hit in 2020. Enter the Micro-Wedding. – The New York Times
- Vaccines Unleash Wedding Boom. ‘Everyone Is Ready.’ – The Wall Street Journal
- Smaller cakes, shorter dresses, bigger diamonds: The pandemic is shaking up the $73 billion wedding industry – The Washington Post
- Hybrid weddings to stick around post-pandemic, experts predict – The Washington Times
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How do you see the shift toward smaller and virtual weddings and other pandemic-related changes affecting the retail opportunity? Is the trend toward smaller and virtual ceremonies and receptions here to stay?