Covid-19 was a gamechanger for weddings. Putting a stop to group celebrations of any sort in March 2019, the pandemic brought the hospitality and events industries to a standstill. Weddings were postponed, and some even cancelled, with couples around the world left devastated that their big day couldn’t go ahead.  

When restrictions were eased, weddings weren’t as we once knew them, and when restrictions were lifted altogether, different forms of celebration came to the fore. Now, the weddings industry is booming as rescheduled dates can finally take place, yet some trends noted as a result of the pandemic look set to stay.  

Of course, traditional weddings will never lose their appeal, but as we pass the third anniversary of the very first national lockdown, there is an evident shift in what is proving popular.  

Lower budgets 

The economic impact of the pandemic was catastrophic, forcing businesses to close – some permanently, and giving rise to furloughed staff and redundant employees. This made couples reassess their financial situation, and for those planning a wedding – reconsider their budget. 

Exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis, engaged couples continue to rethink their finances and subsequent wedding essentials. A lower budget does not mean a couple can’t have the day of their dreams, instead it entails a more thoughtful and savvy way of wedding planning.  

Great British Life: Couples are slashing their budgets and more so amid the cost-of-living crisisCouples are slashing their budgets and more so amid the cost-of-living crisis (Image: Getty Images)

Smaller guest lists

In line with the decline in wedding budgets and reduced maximum guest numbers, couples were also forced to cut their guest lists during the pandemic. While this was a huge disappointment for couples who had finalised their guest lists, the advantages of an intimate wedding have since become clear. With a focus on the purpose of a wedding, an intimate wedding can be a more meaningful choice for some couples.  

Not only does a smaller guest list prove financially beneficial, it also can be less stressful to organise and allows the happy couple more valuable time with their nearest and dearest on the day. With a renewed zest for life and appreciation for what’s important, couples are re-prioritising their plans and finding it less difficult to cull their guest lists in favour of a smaller celebration. 

Open air ceremonies

The importance of ventilation to mitigate the spread of germs in crowded spaces was reiterated countless times during the pandemic. At one stage, weddings were only permitted to be held outside. Pre-pandemic, outdoor civil weddings and partnerships were only allowed to be legally conducted beneath an approved structure in the grounds of a licensed venue. However, the government made a temporary change to the law during the pandemic, and since the summer of 2022 the law has now been made permanent so that couples can marry in a wider selection of outdoor areas within an approved premises.  

Couples who want to marry with nature as their backdrop are now granted greater choice and a heightened sense of freedom with which to create their perfect day, paving the way for a more personal start to married life.  

Great British Life: Outdoor ceremonies have been given the green light by the governmentOutdoor ceremonies have been given the green light by the government (Image: Getty Images)

Weekday weddings

The backlog of weddings caused by Covid-19 has posed an issue for couples planning a wedding post-pandemic, not least because of the lack of availability among venues and suppliers alike. Instead of securing a weekend celebration, couples have opted for weekday weddings to overcome the issue.  

Yet while weekend weddings become more readily available again, weekday weddings will forever be a more budget-friendly option – and with the burden of the cost-of-living crisis weighing heavier by the day, this can become a very attractive choice for couples who are feeling the pinch. What’s more, a wedding held on a Friday can pave the way for a full weekend of celebrations without the worry of work the next day.  

Personalisation like never before

Personalisation has always been key to every wedding, offering couples the chance to put their own stamp on the celebrations. However, the pandemic gave everyone the time to think and review what’s most important, and as a result couples threw out the rule book and made their long-awaited weddings their own to a greater degree.  

With a view to making their wedding a true reflection of the love they share and creating a day to be remembered, all aspects of a couple’s special day continue to receive the personal touch – from the table names that carry a special meaning, to the flower choices and flavours of their wedding cake.  

It also offers the chance for couples to get more creative, and DIY weddings are soaring in popularity as brides and grooms explore their artistic side while saving money in the process.  

Great British Life: Couples are getting creative to add their personal touch and save moneyCouples are getting creative to add their personal touch and save money (Image: Getty Images)

Virtual functionality

With family members and friends unable to travel during the pandemic due to ill health or international restrictions, brides and grooms looked for innovative ways to make absent guests a part of their weddings. Businesses were quick to jump on this bandwagon, offering live video streaming services to desperate couples across the globe.  

The trend looks set to continue with couples realising the ease with which it can be done, enabling guests to tune in from the comfort of their homes. This not only overcomes the logistical issue of including guests who may not be well enough or confident enough to travel to the UK, but it also offers an option for couples who choose a destination wedding away from home where a larger guest list may not be viable. Weddings can now be enjoyed by all guests, wherever they are in the world.