Tying the Knot in 2020: Wedding Advice and Industry Predictions

The wedding industry has been redefined in ways that not even the event pros could have imagined. Rolling postponements, contract negotiations, vendor conversations, communicating changes to wedding guests – not to mention fluctuations in color scheme, design and floral selections based on seasonal shifts of wedding dates - these are some of the challenges that 2020 couples now face (on top of the “normal” planning stress).

Where do couples go from here?  Our Assistant Director of Sales, Dawn Williams Evans, with nearly 20 years of events management experience, answers a few questions that are top of mind for her wedding clients as well as offers tips, insights and future predictions for how the wedding industry will evolve.
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Q1: What advice would you give to couples who are making the decision to either postpone their wedding or move forward with a smaller scale celebration than originally planned?

Dawn Williams Evans: Be flexible and focus on the love! It is definitely disappointing when your plans have to be changed for such a major life event, but trying to stay open and embracing the changes may surprisingly lead to an even better event than before. Be practical when making your decision—is getting married and inviting only your nearest and dearest in 2020 most important to you, or does waiting it out to try to stay as close to your original plans as possible make the most sense? Every couple/family is different and there is no one size fits all solution. Whatever you decide, make a firm decision and inform your guests of the changes as soon as possible.

Empanadas made by our catering team

Q2: What are some considerations for food and beverage for a wedding that takes place during the pandemic?

D.W.E.: The major consideration for food and beverage that I think is most important right now is low to no contact food service. For clients that opt for plated meals for their celebration, this is easier to execute and will not look incredibly different from pre-pandemic service. For other types of services—cocktail receptions with passed items and meals with stations for example—we need to be as creative as possible in how we are presenting food to guests. Beautiful individual containers for small bites, premade cocktails in unique vessels and modern takes on French style service during cocktail hours are just a few options we are exploring.

Q3: What should 2021 couples be doing now?

D.W.E.: 2021 couples should be working to contract their preferred wedding dates with their venues and vendors! Because so many 2020 couples are postponing their celebrations into 2021, popular dates and seasons are becoming limited already for next year. Take this time to virtually tour your top wedding locations to help you narrow your list and then work to schedule in-person visits at your top two venues. Also, be open to unconventional dates and months—a Saturday in September or October may be harder to come by in 2021, but a Friday night in your preferred season may be available.

Newly married couple on Wilson Plaza
Champagne Glasses
Smaller, more meaningful celebrations with people who are really important to the couple will continue to be the path that weddings follow.
Set up on Wilson Plaza
Crabcakes made by our catering team
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Q4: Where do you think the wedding industry as whole will be one year from now and beyond?

D.W.E.: As a whole, I think weddings will be the first types of live events to come back strongly. People are more willing to take a “calculated risk” to be with loved ones then they are to go to a conference, especially now when there is so much content available virtually. Wedding industry professionals have to be more fluid than ever, not only how they provide services, but also on what specific services they can provide right now. A year from now, I think clients will be working to incorporate some pre-pandemic traditions with post-pandemic innovations. No matter how large the gathering is going forward, I predict that couples will now always have a digital component to involve people who can’t be there physically.

Q5: Do you think the “conventional” weddings will make a comeback post-pandemic or will we see a more permanent shift to micro-weddings and smaller gatherings with less fanfare?

D.W.E.: I think the pandemic has created some permanent shifts in the way people are approaching their weddings and lives in general. Smaller, more meaningful celebrations with people who are really important to the couple will continue to be the path that weddings follow. Personally, I feel that fanfare will be at an all-time high—people are really grateful to be able to gather in any capacity these days. I think couples will use the opportunity to really lavish on their guests—unique menus, gorgeous upgraded tablescapes, picturesque outdoor spaces, and much more. These personal touches will help to make each wedding even more memorable, especially after people have been distanced for so long.

Nighttime shot of couple outside Ronald Reagan Building