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2020: The Year That Changed Everything

How 2020 Has Affected the Way We Get Married

Five trends introduced or accelerated by the events of 2020 that might become as lasting as saying “I do.”

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Wedding-dance-floor enthusiasts, fear not—if the local event planners we talked to are any indication, 2021 and 2022 will be extra busy years for jumping and yelling “Shout” with your tie securely fastened around your head. While some couples moved ahead with elopements and downsized backyard ceremonies this year, the majority of clients chose to delay their nuptials (or at least the party portion) in order to have their big day still be, well, big.

Lilli Black, CEO of Sweetly Paired, says her company usually does about 75 weddings per year; in 2020, she postponed about 60 events. As a result, Sweetly Paired now has around 150 celebrations on the books for 2021. But that doesn’t mean they’ll all be exactly the same as if this past year had never happened. “A lot of the feels 2020 has given us are going to influence how weddings are done,” Black says. Here, a handful of ways planners think this extraordinary time may affect how Coloradans get hitched going forward.

A Renewed Focus On What Matters

COVID-19 wedding
Photo by Danielle Roth Photography

“The biggest thing we saw this year was people re-evaluating what their priorities were,” says Adrienne Coffey, owner of A Touch of Bliss Events. “People were starting to make decisions for themselves as a couple instead of factoring everyone’s opinion in. They had the convenient excuse of COVID, but I think people will feel more empowered to do what they want to do.” That could take the form of, for example, destination shindigs with a smaller group or more individualized touches. Says Black: “I’m seeing a lot of personal attention to stuff. Maybe he’s a super nerdy Lego gaming guy, and she’s into rock climbing, so they do a handfasting ceremony with climbing ropes and Lego figures on cakes. It’s more reflective of who you are as a couple, rather than being about impressing your mom’s friends from college.”

Pared Down Guest Lists

Microweddings were coming into vogue before we were all forced to choose quaranteams and hunker down with our pods, but Virginia Frischkorn—founder and principal of Bluebird Productions, which primarily puts on events in the Roaring Fork Valley—thinks they could become even more desirable and acceptable. “People are realizing that they can take the same budget for 150 or 200 guests and instead really thank, say, 40 people they truly care about for going out of their way,” Frischkorn says. “You can do personalized, much more luxurious welcome amenities—not just a paper bag with Advil and a snack. People are hosting group hikes, picnics, rafting, or horseback riding and really providing a phenomenal guest experience.”

Better Livestreaming Options

COVID-19 wedding
Photo by Chad Fahnestock Photography

Although no one expects Zoom rooms to take the place of churches and banquet halls, planners say a variety of vendors—from videographers to DJs—have invested in equipment and honed their skills to include more sophisticated livestreaming setups for guests who can’t be there in person. (Think: your 8.5-month pregnant sorority sister who lives across the country or your grandma whose health won’t allow her to attend your gondola-assisted reception.) “Overall in the industry, it’s becoming more of a service,” Coffey says.

Thoughtful Sourcing

Between coronavirus-induced manufacturing and shipping issues in places like China that generally make wedding-party-favor staples like monogrammed robes and etched wine glasses and social-media-fueled emphasis on voting with your wallet, Black says she’s seeing couples be much more intentional about where they source their various goods and services. “Clients are asking about local businesses, especially those owned by women, LGBTQ folks, and people of color,” Black says, “and saying they want to support as many as they can.”

Kids First

For some brides working with Calluna Events, putting off their big wedding festivities was fine, but delaying starting a family wasn’t, says owner Heather Dwight. “It’s a personal choice, but especially if you’re ready to move on with a family and kids, you might not want to wait another year,” Dwight says. For a lot of couples, that meant elopements or courthouse nuptials in 2020 and shifting celebrations planned for 2021 and beyond to include the newest members of the family. “Having kids in the wedding is a fun little addition,” Dwight says. “It reminds you that it’s about the little things and the love.”

The Year That Changed Everything

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