3 Ways The Wedding Industry Is Coping With The Aftermath Of COVID-19

3 Ways The Wedding Industry Is Coping With The Aftermath Of COVID-19

As the pandemic continues to sweep through America, the country’s $74 billion wedding industry is feeling the effects of it all. Over half of Americans say they plan to cancel their weddings, and around 63 percent are postponing their big day. As couples focus on regaining their deposits and crafting alternative wedding plans, vendors and wedding planners are having to quickly adapt their strategies to ensure their survival during the industry upheaval. From arranging venue tours for those planning their weddings to designing pandemic-safe alternatives for couples wanting to recite their wedding vows, here is how some of the wedding industry is weathering the storm.

Wedding Venues And Planners Begin To Turn To Socially Distanced, Remote And Discounted Ceremonies

For the small percentage of couples that are choosing to stick to their date or looking for alternatives, vendors are embracing remote options such as Zoom, micro, and socially distanced weddings. Wedding planners are now helping couples plan the perfect Zoom wedding – the new normal for wedding ceremonies. Meanwhile, wedding venues are now offering socially distanced options with 10 or fewer guests. For those in the midst of their wedding planning, venues are also offering virtual wedding venue tours and planning sessions to help couples make a decision and keep their wedding plans moving forward. 

Wedding Dress Retailers Hit By The Logistics Delays Begin To Turn To Off The Rack And Special Occasion Stock

Even for those organizing their nuptials during the pandemic, securing the perfect wedding dress remains a staple, and many brides are making use of virtual appointments. Company data by TieTheKnot showed the average cost of a wedding dress in 2019 was $1,600, with 95 percent of brides buying new dresses. Even though the online wedding dress market is expanding, in-store fittings continue to be the popular choice among brides. Yet with the impact on the logistics and shipping industry leaving wedding dresses in short supply, wedding dress retailers are having to come up with alternative options for brides looking for their perfect dress.

According to the American Bridal and Prom Association, up to 80 percent of western style gowns are manufactured and shipped from China – the starting point of the pandemic. This has meant severe delays in not only manufacturing, but also in the shipping timelines, leaving wedding dress retailers with no merchandise for fittings and sales. In response, they are turning to their warehouse inventory and sample pieces to keep brides satisfied. This has meant a limited selection for brides and their sizing criteria. All American wedding dress designers are also capitalizing on the unsatisfied demand by striking up new partnerships with retailers.

Wedding Venues Begin To Cope With Unprecedented Losses With Layoffs, Loans And Insurance

Data from the wedding planning website TieTheKnot indicates that over 45000 weddings were initially planned for the period April to May 2020. With a significant percentage of couples choosing to cancel or postpone their wedding, wedding venues are now left with hefty losses. Even with the choice to postpone and not cancel, wedding vendors are still left to cover spent fees and overhead costs, such as the labor already put in or loan payments for wedding venues. With the disruption to the wedding industry looking to extend as far as 2022 wedding venues are now having to juggle additional wedding postponements alongside new bookings for their 2021 calendar. As a result, they are now turning to short term cost control measures. 

So far, industry giants like Zola have laid off 20 percent of their staff and chosen to cut the salaries of those they are keeping on board. Smaller wedding businesses like wedding planning coordinator Aloha Bridal Connections say they have had to cut their staff by 80 percent in a bid to survive. Many vendors are also relying on the reimbursement of wedding insurance – a standard requirement for most wedding venues alongside federally funded small business hardship schemes.

Wedding venues and caterers are also going have to redesign their food and beverage services to ensure the safety of their customers. For caterers, this may mean additional costs, but for the wedding clients, it could be seen as a sign of reassurance. With the aftermath slated to last a while, the wedding industry is gearing up for this to be the new normal for a while.

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