7 Ways Covid-19 Has Changed Wedding Etiquette

A wedding reception decorated with lights and a sign that says "Love."

Weddings have not remained untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas big crowds, dancing, and close social interaction were completely normal at weddings before 2020 came around, the same can’t currently be said for these celebrations. There are so many ways these momentous occasions have been changed due to the pandemic. We’re delving into how wedding etiquette has been altered due to the virus that took the world by storm.

1. Elopements Are More Accepted

A bride and groom kissing in the middle of an urban street.

Elopements used to be a bit taboo; after all, family and friends naturally want to be included in this huge milestone for a couple. However, now they’re more common than ever. It’s been a completely normal occurrence for couples to elope and then have a delayed celebration for their wedding, which is not how things were before the pandemic struck. A separate party to celebrate an elopement may have been seen as tacky by some previous to COVID-19, but now it’s completely normal.

2. Plus-Ones Aren’t Guaranteed

Before COVID hit, it was expected by many to receive a plus-one with their invite to a wedding, but those assumptions are currently a thing of the past. This is because many couples are opting to keep their celebrations as small as possible to reduce their own exposure and the exposure of their guests to crowds. For that reason, guests are less likely to be able to bring someone that the couple doesn’t know directly to their wedding.

3. Guest Lists Are Downsized

A small wedding ceremony decorated with floral garlands.

Given how the COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving, it’s not uncommon for couples to have to downsize their guest lists, even after sending out save the dates. While uninviting an originally included guest was previously a huge faux pas, it can now be a pretty normal occurrence. As infection rates rise, couples need to do what they can to keep themselves and their guests safe. Unfortunately, many times this involves paring down the guest list to a more intimate affair.

4. Receiving Lines Are Out

Receiving lines were previously a must for many couples and were seen as a great way to greet guests and accept their congratulations right after the marriage ceremony. However, given the fact that person to person contact (hugging, kissing, and even shaking hands) is currently somewhat frowned upon, these are a thing of the past. Many couples will opt to skip receiving lines altogether.

5. Multiple Celebrations Are the Norm

A bride and groom sitting at a table with their wedding guests.

Because couples are looking to have more intimate guest lists, it’s more common for brides and grooms to plan multiple celebrations instead of one large reception. This is something that would have previously been seen as tacky, but given the fact that this is a safe way for guests to celebrate without being exposed to a big group, it’s now not only completely acceptable, but encouraged by many!

6. Over-Communication with Guests Is Key

Due to the pandemic, brides and grooms are now forced to over-communicate with their guests about a range of topics. For instance, are they requiring masks at their event? Are there any contingency plans should they have to postpone? Are vaccinations required for all guests? Is the wedding going to be indoors, outdoors, or a mix of the two? Will there be dancing? For the safety and comfort of guests, these questions are top of mind. Whereas previously couples didn’t need to give many specific details about their big day to guests, now they need to be pretty explicit so guests can make an educated decision surrounding whether they’re comfortable attending.

7. Bridal Fashion Is More Colorful

A bride wearing a green dress as she walks through a field with a large bouquet.

Although somewhat unexpected, COVID-19 has somehow changed wedding attire! Brides are now opting to change up what they’re wearing from a traditional white gown to something bolder or out of the ordinary. Many speculate that this stems from the darkness that COVID-19 brought with it and the yearning to do something fresh and exciting. It could also reflect that these celebrations in general have changed, and what’s acceptable to wear has changed along with it!

Wedding etiquette has changed in many ways due to the pandemic. One thing’s for sure: with COVID-19 still a force in the world today, wedding celebrations will continue to change and evolve.

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