Weddings were a big deal back in the B.C. era (before Covid) when they were a $55 billion industry in the U.S. alone. And they were becoming progressively more grandiose in the months leading up to the worldwide closure in early 2020. The fact is that weddings have long been about status and wealth as much as they have been about celebrating love. However, the rise of social media platforms like Instagram has only served to elevate weddings even further.
It became the norm to host events that lasted several days in exotic settings, complete with welcome receptions and farewell brunches.
Wedding plans being cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus aren’t the most necessary sacrifices to make after a year of unimaginable sadness and loss. This is not to argue, however, that abandoning a project for which you’ve poured months of effort — not to mention cash — is an easy thing to do. Small-scale events can quickly turn into big ones, and every couple assumes they’re invincible until things go awry.
As of last summer, anyone planning to say “I do” in 2020 had well had a backup plan in place. Thousands of wedding vendors were displaced due to the cancellations, venue closures, and travel restrictions that followed. A happy medium emerged: couples began to consider micro-and elopements as alternatives to the traditional large weddings that had been the norm for so long. They often hire an elopement photographer.
The popularity of these weddings
Ninety-six percent of couples had to adjust their 2020 wedding plans, while only 7 percent cancelled their weddings outright, according to The Knot’s research. Of the 43% of couples that held a minor event last year, most of them considered it their only celebration, not a Covid-forced forerunner to something more significant in the future. Last month was the busiest ever for bookings at Eloped, a wedding planning website specializing in intimate ceremonies, indicating that this trend will continue into 2021. More time is being spent on experiences as opposed to minutiae like the colour palette.
Once upon a time, the Embark Beyond elopement team would see one of these couples once a year. Now? Earlier this month, they were in the process of organizing four events over a week. Hannah Cregg, Embark’s director of events, adds, “We started seeing them gain popularity in June.” “The elopement trend really began blossoming for many since scaling down their nuptials [during lockdowns] didn’t make sense.” “As solitude becomes the ultimate luxury in today’s climate, the idea of elopements is being explored more and more,” says John Graham, managing director of Vermont’s Twin Farms, probably the most romantic hotel in New England.
Micro-weddings in exotic locales are on the rise as an alternative to the traditional destination wedding.
Many hotels offer elopement and micro-wedding packages, like the Ocean Club at the Four Seasons Resort in the Bahamas.
During Covid-19, several couples from Beverly Hills to the Hamptons have chosen to hold their ceremonies in the privacy of their lawn. In addition, a large number of hotels in North America, Latin America, and Mexico have adapted fast to meet increased demand for elopements (which typically involve up to 10 people) and micro-weddings, taking advantage of the relaxation of travel restrictions (which include up to 50 guests, depending on state restrictions).
Having a small destination wedding may bring all the advantages of a traditional destination wedding, like being on vacation with your loved ones, while also offering the perks of a smaller model. That long-lost cousin you didn’t want to invite to your original wedding but now regret it? There’s now a good reason not to include him. A smaller guest list allows you more one-on-one time with each participant, rather than having to engage in endless small talk rounds with 200 individuals in attendance.