Small wedding reception area

It’s been a tough 18 months, and like many sectors, the wedding industry received a huge blow due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year, the marriage rate fell by 69% in the UK, with approximately 73,600 weddings and same-sex civil partnership ceremonies postponed to 2021/2022. Those who were lucky enough to wed had to limit the number of guests, host virtual ceremonies, socially distance, and scrap the reception buffet. But as the economy slowly tries to rebuild, we reveal a number of pandemic wedding trends that will emerge after the pandemic.


Tech-savvy ceremonies

The industry implemented a digital model during lockdown, and the demand from couples continues to grow. With the likes of businesses adjusting to the ‘new normal’ offering virtual bridal appointments and online venue tours, planning a wedding has been made easier for future brides and grooms.

Livestreaming a wedding was once reserved for celebrities and royalty, but thanks to clever technology platforms like Zoom, Teams, and Skype, loved ones are able to attend virtually on the big day.


Eco-friendly and sustainable

The growing trend towards supporting local businesses and minimising environmental impact will continue to influence couples’ planning decisions. Reports suggest that just one wedding alone can produce as much as 20kg of plastic waste – from cups, gift bags and fake confetti.

Shifting to more sustainable décor such as invitations made from recycled paper, vegan menus, and composting any leftovers will help to reduce landfill waste and better impact the environment. These accessories can be bought from small and independent businesses found on sites like Etsy, Not On The High Street, and local markets.

New research from North London Waste Authority (NLWA) also shows that two in five people planning weddings in the next five years say making their wedding as green as possible is a key priority.


Small, intimate weddings

As a result of lockdown restrictions and budget restraints, the desire for more intimate events gained popularity. The option enabled couples to hold a celebration sooner than expected and on a money-friendly basis. So if you’re searching for a wedding venue in Newcastle, check out smaller, more intimate venues like boutique hotels or even one of its famous castles!

Research conducted by wedding planning website Hitched reveals that getting hitched midweek is considerably cheaper than weekend weddings because there’s less of a demand for them. Many couples are also choosing to buck the trend completely, shunning extravagance in favour of a micro-wedding.

Opting for a smaller ceremony gives you more freedom, lessens the nerves, and allows for quality time with your guests.


Sober-curious ceremonies

From a glass of bubbly to an open bar, alcohol has always been seen as essential for the big day, but more and more couples are putting alcohol-free alternatives on their wedding menus. Those choosing to avoid or reduce their alcohol intake for personal or wellness reasons will have a huge impact on the weddings of the future.

According to research, 89% of couples said they would have guests who aren’t drinking alcohol at their wedding. So, if you’re hosting your wedding in a County Durham hotel, ensure they are catered for by asking the bar to offer quality soft drinks and mocktails.


Creative catering

A wedding cake doesn’t need to be four feet tall and traditionally flavoured – more and more couples are personalising their culinary delights as smaller guestlists have led to innovation. We’re seeing unique cupcakes and spectacular grazing boards flood our Pinterest and Instagram feeds.

Hygiene is also at the forefront of everyone’s minds, so serving individual portions rids the worry of a cramped buffet and shared cutlery. According to research, couples needlessly chuck out a tenth of all their wedding food – running up a food waste bill of £488.

Businesses, brands, and suppliers must continue adapting to these consumer demands – from the venue to the vows – to ensure they offer the best possible experience for future newlyweds.