– Words by Jane Zatlyny Wedding Photography by Lia Crowe
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many facets of our lives, but couples trying to marry have faced particularly difficult challenges. In the first year of the pandemic, in particular, weddings were postponed, often multiple times, and uncertainty dominated the day.
Jane Carson and her husband Tyler Leblanc got engaged in 2019 and were due to wed in September 2020.
“When the pandemic started in March, we thought we would be safe for September, but obviously that wasn’t the case,” says Jane. “We kept trying to make the best of a bad situation, but with the ever-changing restrictions we found it very stressful trying to plan a wedding.”
Jane and Tyler hosted several small celebratory events on the way down the aisle, including a party to celebrate the anniversary of their original wedding date with their immediate family. Finally, on their third attempt, in August 2022, the Victoria couple married on the beach in Tofino.
“It turned out that was all we wanted,” says Jane.
Cristina Fazio and Sam Powell, also from Victoria, got engaged in the summer of 2021. They had seen friends forced to cancel and rebook their weddings, but hoped that with the end of the first year of the pandemic, they could keep their summer 2022 wedding date.
“We had always intended to have a good-sized wedding, so we bet COVID would let us go through with our plans,” Sam explains.
The couple tried to stay flexible and not get too invested in what they were planning.
“If we couldn’t have organized a bigger wedding, we would still have kept the date,” adds Cristina.
Fortunately, they were able to proceed as planned with their wedding in August.
“Couples now have so much appreciation that they can actually get married,” says Diane Hall, former president and publisher of wedding bells and editor of WeddingWire Canada: “When they plan their weddings, they take nothing for granted.”
Here’s a look at the wedding trends that will likely persist even after the pandemic is well and truly – we hope – in our rearview mirrors.
Highly personalized weddings
Prior to 2020, wedding styles were heavily influenced by celebrities and influencers, says Diane.
Not as much today: “Couples personalize their weddings a lot more and are a lot more intentional with their wedding expenses, whether that takes the form of hiring a diverse team of wedding vendors, supporting local vendors and charities , or reduce their carbon footprint.”
We’re also seeing more “relaxed formal” weddings, she says: “Couples remain interested in elegant weddings, and using Instagram-worthy photography to document their wedding style remains a very important part of the day. .”
Small guest lists
Despite being a mandatory requirement during the worst days of the pandemic, small guest lists have remained popular with many couples, says Jessica Minnie, owner and creative director of Petite Pearl Events in Vancouver. .
“As people attended beautiful, intimate celebrations, they became more comfortable making that decision for themselves.”
Smaller guest lists also allow couples to create a more luxurious wedding experience for themselves and their guests.
Hire professional help
Hiring a wedding planner is always a wise investment, especially in times of uncertainty.
“With this decision, you’ll have experience in your pocket every step of the way and can enjoy the planning journey, as well as the weeks leading up to your wedding day and of course the wedding day itself,” says Jessica.
Wedding planners also help couples demystify vendor contracts and ensure cancellation policies are in place.
Wedding vendors have learned to incorporate more contingency plans into their recommendations, knowing that things could change. For example, this beautiful custom floral arch can now be used indoors or outdoors and moved around, says Diane.
“It may have been an altar first, but can also be placed behind a wedding table or used as a backdrop for a photo booth.”
The return of the elopementss
Sara Laking, photographer/owner of Sara Spectrum in Tofino, has seen a continued growth in runaways, or “mini-moneys,” where there’s usually just the couple, the photographer, maybe a wedding planner, and a officiant present at the ceremony, and a feast is held later.
“There are no distractions and they’re really able to relax,” she says. “It creates a very authentic experience.”
Jessica has seen more couples legally marry before or after the actual ceremony.
“We encourage couples to make it legal during their rehearsal or in private immediately after the ceremony for a very special moment together, clinking a drink and getting some beautiful captures of this huge moment in their lives,” she says.
More outdoor weddinggs
To WeddingWire CanadaDiane noted that the outdoor setting remains very important for Canadian couples, and not just to prevent possible transmission of COVID-19.
“Outdoor weddings allow for a lot more creativity around decor, tent rentals and other details,” she explains. “Couples can have mobile food trucks and bars in old vintage trailers to create a festival vibe.”
Outdoor weddings also open up the possibility of taking aerial photos.
“It’s really about using Mother Nature to create this beautiful environment,” adds Diane.
Travel bans originally drove this trend, but hybrid weddings seem to be here to stay, especially where travel costs would be prohibitive for guests.
“They also allow the couple to have a more luxurious experience for their in-person event,” says Diane, adding that virtual coverage can be quite elaborate and inclusive. “Couples can also create a signature cocktail and send their virtual guests a recipe or gift package with a mini bottle of bubbly, wedding cake and party favor so they can feel part of the celebration. ”
It’s party time
After the isolation of the first two years of the pandemic, couples and their guests are ready to let loose.
“This generation still really wants to get married,” says Diane. “While the responsibility now falls more on the couple for the safety measures they take, everyone really wants to celebrate.”
Let’s toast to that!
Story reprinted with kind permission from Boulevard Magazine, a publication of Black Press Media
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