There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the wedding industry on its head.
From limits on venues and public gatherings to mask mandates, lockdowns, and travel restrictions, brides and grooms have been navigating a sea of uncertainty, all while trying to make big decisions about their big days.
We wanted to learn more about the effects of the pandemic on weddings in 2020, 2021, and beyond — so we surveyed engaged couples to learn about their plans, concerns, and hopes. Some of what we learned wasn’t all that surprising — like that most people planning a wedding in 2021 are concerned about their guests contracted COVID-19 — but there were some surprises in the data, too — like that a 75% majority of people are worried their 2021 wedding will only be remembered as a “pandemic wedding.”
Here are some of the key things we found you can jump to:
- 65% said their 2021 wedding was postponed from 2020.
- 51% said they aren’t getting married at their ideal venue.
- 72% are inviting fewer people and 65% have considered not inviting guests they consider at-risk.
- 70% are worried about guests contracting COVID at their wedding.
- 43% are less excited for their wedding day and 60% are worried their wedding won’t be fun.
- 73% are worried their wedding will be remembered as a “Pandemic Wedding” including 49% who strongly agreed with that statement.
- 26% are canceling events like engagement parties and bridal showers and 30% aren’t planning a honeymoon.
65% of 2021 Weddings Were Rescheduled After Being Postponed in 2020
Barring any more pandemic-related delays, 2021 could be a huge year for weddings. 65% of people getting married in 2021 said they originally planned for a 2020 wedding, but rescheduled due to the pandemic.
What’s even more surprising about the number of postponed weddings taking place this year is how they might have affected the usual “peak” season for weddings.
Typically, the season with the most weddings is fall, with October being peak time for tying the knot. But this year, the season with the most weddings is late winter to early spring.
That seems to be driven by all the rescheduled weddings, many of which are taking place during the “off season.” 42% of those who postponed their weddings are now planning to get married (or have recently tied the knot) from January to April, compared to just 30% of people who chose those dates who originally planned to marry in 2021.
More Than Half of Respondents Aren’t Getting Married at Their Ideal Venue
51% of people getting married in 2021 said they had to forgo saying their “I do’s” at the venue of their dreams. This is likely due to constantly changing local restrictions on crowd sizes and public gatherings, as well as ongoing restrictions on travel in much of the world.
Most People Are Limiting or Reducing Their Guest Lists
It should come as no surprise when restrictions on group gatherings are such a common social distancing procedure. But most people getting married in 2021 said the pandemic has affected their guest list.
72% said they’re inviting fewer people to their wedding. And 65% said they’ve considered not inviting guests who they consider at-risk, like elderly family members.
Overall, People Think Weddings Will Be Less Fun This Year
Normally, all the stress of planning a wedding pays off when the special day arrives and the bride and groom can party to celebrate their love. This year, though, the stress of planning a wedding in a pandemic is clearly taking a toll.
43% of people said they’re less excited for their wedding day because of the pandemic. 60% said they’re worried their wedding will be less fun.
And they’re not only thinking about themselves — people are also worried about how others will view their weddings. 73% said they’re worried that their big day will be remembered as a “pandemic wedding;” nearly half of people are extremely worried about that. And surprisingly, men are more worried than women in this regard — 77% of men don’t want their wedding to be remembered as a “pandemic wedding,” compared to 68% of women.
Many Wedding-Related Events Are Being Canceled in 2021
26% of people getting married in 2021 said they’re canceling events like engagement parties and bridal showers. Bachelor and bachelorette parties are also being skipped, but women are more likely to give that up than men — 30% of women said they’re not having a bachelorette party, while only 13% of men said they’re not having a bachelor party.
30% of couples getting married this year aren’t planning a honeymoon, likely because of ongoing travel restrictions. More than half of them plan to save the money they would have spent on a honeymoon, or use it for everyday expenses.
The Pandemic Might Show Up at Weddings In More Light-Hearted Ways
Surprisingly, not everyone planning a 2021 wedding wants to avoid the pandemic and its effects. 29% of respondents said they plan to have pandemic-related decorations or use the pandemic as a theme for their wedding.
Overall, Couples Are Struggling to Balance Pandemic Safety and Their Dream Weddings
One of the most overarching themes that emerged from this data is that COVID-19 is still a major concern for brides and grooms in 2021.
70% said they’re worried about their guests contracting COVID-19. That number increased as respondents got older, showing that the pandemic is less of a concern for young people than it is for those over 35.
Additionally, 70% of respondents said it’s important to them that guests get the COVID-19 vaccine if they’re able to.
There is some good news amid all the worry, however. Only 8% of survey respondents said that they and their partner disagree about COVID safety procedures at their wedding.
And, with all the precautions brides and grooms say they’re taking this year, we’re glad to see many people are acting so neighborly — setting aside some aspects of their dream weddings to make sure their guests stay as safe as possible.
Using Pollfish.com, we surveyed 1,017 people on Feb. 1, 2021, who said they are currently engaged or have gotten married in 2021. Their ages ranged from 18 to 54, broken down like this:
- Ages 18-24: 15.14% of respondents;
- Ages 25-34: 30.38% of respondents;
- Ages 35-44: 41% of respondents;
- Ages 45-54: 13.47% of respondents.
Survey respondents were all from the United States, and came from 45 states and the District of Columbia.
57.33% of respondents were male. 42.67% were female.