Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s topic: what we can expect during the 2021 wedding season.
A couples’ wedding day is supposed to be one of the most special days of their relationship; renting out a venue, getting a caterer, surrounded closely by all the friends and family they want. With over 2 million weddings per year in the U.S., this $50 billion industry brings business to event spaces, caterers and restaurants, hotels, and thousands of employees that make the wedding day just right –– and then COVID came.
Once cities in the U.S. started implementing stay-at-home orders and people realized the gravity of the pandemic, couples began rescheduling their weddings or canceling them all together. The very nature of a wedding, close contact often indoors, was one of the prime breeding grounds for the virus making it unsafe to continue with wedding plans. Findings from The Wedding Report break down survey results from couples and businesses that show the coronavirus’ impact on the wedding industry in 2020 (surveys conducted in March and June 2020):
- 21% of couples are or have postponed to later in 2020
- 41.5% are or have moved to 2021
- 7.0% are or have cancelled altogether (some likely married but cancelled the full event)
- 46% of couples are cutting their budget by an average of 31%
- 58% of couples are cutting their guest count by an average of 41%
This survey was conducted in the first half of 2020, so it’s likely that more weddings were postponed or canceled due to second and third infection waves we experienced in the second half of the year. The Wedding Report estimates that the cancelations and rescheduling’s cost the industry approximately $30 billion, but it might be able to regain some of those losses with an increase in 2021 weddings.
Weddings are a culmination of everything hospitality: front-of-house and back-of-house foodservice workers, venues, hotels, and entertainment (to name a few). We all understand the impact to the hospitality industry due to the pandemic, but with mass vaccination underway and cases decreasing, what can the wedding industry expect this year?
Cutbacks on ‘Non-Essential’ Services
Couples who had to reschedule their wedding (some of which had to multiple times) will likely be looking for ways to lower their spending by cutting back on services they deem as non-essential for their big day. This may include catering (for example, going from plated dinners to buffet style), entertainment, or materials like invitations.
Getting Creative with Venues
Although capacity restrictions look much different now than this time last year, there’s still some speculation about the appropriate number of guests for a pandemic wedding – especially if we experience another wave of new cases. (Check out gathering restrictions by state here.) It’s likely that couples will be getting creative with their wedding venues because of two reasons:
- They want to decrease their spending.
- They need to accommodate for a unique number of guests.
Those deviating from standard wedding venues will be looking for places that could still host a wedding even if social distancing or capacity restrictions are in place.
Challenges with Upholding Health + Safety Measures
As an event manager or wedding planner, it’s important to make sure that all guests are abiding by your states’ mask mandates or other health measures. If you don’t, you could risk a fine or jeopardize the safety of guests.
Break with Tradition
In order to continue cutting back on the (often) expensive, non-essential aspects of the wedding, traditional events like bridal showers and rehearsal dinners may be left in the dust. Not only will this save some serious cash, but it will also reduce possible virus transmissions.
More Competition Amongst Couples
As referenced earlier via The Wedding Report, 2021 is expected to see more weddings than the average year because of rescheduled weddings from 2020. Couples hunting for the perfect wedding venue or a great deal on invitations may run into competition from other couples.
As we enter wedding season, which many consider to be from late Spring through early Fall, couples hoping to exchange vows will need to keep in mind what to expect during wedding season in the post-pandemic landscape. By understanding its’ impact to the hospitality industry, there will be less surprises and challenges for couples and businesses to face when planning their special day.
Need an extra hand with event set up/break down or dinner service? Contact LGC and our team will make it happen.