Wedding traditions and customs that will most likely disappear in COVID-19 aftermath

covid wedding mask

Wedding traditions and customs that will most likely disappear in COVID-19 aftermath

The novel coronavirus has changed life as we know it and weddings are not immune to the pandemic. While our hearts might break that the wedding you’ve dreamed about your whole life might have to exist during a historically unprecedented time, it’s time to reimagine what’s possible. 

Couples who planned their epic weddings for any time since March 2020 have been scrambling to figure out how their nuptials will occur – do they cancel? Do they postpone? Do they do a private ceremony and big party later post-COVID? How can they make choices that will let their big day happen while also keeping their loved ones safe? Well, we reached out to some wedding experts to see how weddings are changing, and what to drop from the agenda entirely as brides and grooms are fighting for their new spin on Happily Ever After. 

wedding traditions

Long Receiving Lines 


While Receiving Lines are already starting to seem out-of-date, for some families, it’s a wedding tradition that must happen. Receiving Lines typically puts the newlyweds at the end of the line to receive hugs, kisses, handshakes, and well wishes from every single guest at their wedding. Ushers help to facilitate the exit from the ceremony so that the bride and groom get that special face time with each guest.

How else will you make sure to greet Great Aunt Marjorie and her new beau? Well, this seems like an obvious element to get the chop in the time of Covid-19. Socially distant? Not a chance. 


Instead, expect to see more table-to-table greetings at receptions with smiles and waving replacing the physical contact. A genuine smile and moment of connection is preferred by so many couples anyway. It’s real, it’s doable, and it doesn’t smudge makeup or dirty up suits. 


Intimate Indoor Venues 

While we may see many couples opt for the great outdoors, the real detail to avoid for weddings in the time of corona is low ceilings and tightly-knit seating options. The outdoor wedding will flourish but with so many times of year being intemperate for that option, indoor weddings will start to look different. Look for large open areas, relaxed guest seating, and guests extending into different rooms to congregate, rather than all clump in one area. 


The Fountain Room at the Lumber Exchange Event Center is a perfect example of a safe, high ceiling, elegant wedding space with flexible seating for your unique event. Spread out throughout L/X and give your guests options to meaningfully enjoy your dream day. 


Large Crowds 

It’s always been difficult to create that ultimate guest list. Collecting all the names from the bride’s side, the groom’s side, the friends, the work group, the obligatory reciprocal invites – it can seem impossible to complete this task. 

Well – it’s going to get harder. Getting invited to a wedding is now going to be an honor to every single especially chosen guest. Though statewide guidelines vary and things continue to change week to week it seems, the CDC recommendation remains clear about what to avoid: large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain 6 feet apart. 


What we are seeing in this first round of coronavirus response from couples has been really lovely and meaningful. Couples have been holding mini-ceremonies on their day of the postponed wedding and pushing their larger celebration to a future date. This can include having the cake baker bake a mini wedding cake, ordering a small floral arrangement from the florist, or even hiring the photographer to come and capture the special occasion from a safe social distance. 


But as couples now have time to plan, they are starting to make innovative choices in how to celebrate together than include larger spaces, more interesting seating, and cutting guest lists down to the most important…sorry Dad’s work friend Bob who you’ve probably never met anyway. 


Out of Town Guests 

Traveling is definitely a challenge during the pandemic. Most people are comfortable driving at this point, but guests who would need to fly present a few different challenges. Some states even require mandatory quarantine periods after passing state lines. So perhaps if your wedding list of VIPs requires out of state travelling, plan ahead… and we mean way ahead.

Traveling is complicated already – it might not be worth sacrificing the rest of your wedding for it. 


Dessert Tables and Passed Hors D’Oeuvres


These two time honored traditions might not be as obvious as a cut in the current state of the world, but both present opportunities to spread the virus that just aren’t worth the extra luxury. Your typical cocktail hour might not come to a screeching halt, some experts are saying, but with some changes in how you get your munchies satisfied, we don’t need to kiss it goodbye entirely. Instead of plates of appetizers making the rounds through a crowded reception area, expect a more hands-off approach. A favorite idea we’ve seen is beautifully curated small boxes with delicious appetizers within for each guest. 

When it comes to dessert, expect individual slices of cake prepared and delivered directly to each guest. Dessert buffets (which we have to admit, have always been a favorite) will look more like individually wrapped treats and candies, or pre-plated desserts. It’s a compromise to make, but marriage is built on compromise – might as well practice now with the wedding planning. 


For Better or Worse 

Some wedding experts say downsized ceremonies and receptions could actually mean that this year’s wedding guests may notice unique touches and a few more special flourishes.

As an accidental upside of  COVID-19, personalization is playing a larger role in couples’ celebrations, whether at their tiny ceremony or in plans for their upcoming wedding, as they’re coming up with unique and innovative ways to celebrate their love.

Smaller guest lists may actually leave couples more to spend per guest like investing in special favors or experiences. 

We don’t know how long this will go on, but we do know that WE must go on. And weddings are the start of something eternal and withstanding, something stronger than Covid – your love and your love story. We will see you through this hard season of changing expectations and grieving normalcy by digging into who we are and making the most of a challenging situation.

Welcome to the new version of Wedding Season. 


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