Engaged Couples Prioritize Health and Safety Measures at Wedding Celebrations, With Smaller Guest Lists, Readily Available Masks and Sanitizer, Socially Distanced Seating, and More
According to the Global COVID-19 Weddings Report by The Knot, WeddingWire, Bodas.net and Hitched.co.uk, Wedding Cancellations Remain Low Amid Pandemic, as Couples Around the World Postpone Celebrations or Proceed With Caution, Following Local Guidelines and Implementing Health & Safety Measures
NEW YORK, NY—October 7, 2020—Today, leading international wedding planning brands The Knot, WeddingWire US, WeddingWire India, WeddingWire Canada, Bodas.net and Hitched.co.uk, released findings from its Global COVID-19 Weddings Report. Data from the report provides insight into how couples around the world—with weddings originally planned for September 2020 through January 2021—are planning and hosting their celebrations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report, which surveyed nearly 10,000 to-be-weds globally*, reveals that couples with upcoming weddings plan to postpone their reception celebrations (50% global average) or keep their original wedding dates (41% global average) rather than cancel altogether (9% global average). With established event guidelines and more readily available personal protective equipment, more couples today (versus the start of the pandemic) are working with their vendors to create smaller events on their original wedding dates that follow local regulations and are intended to be safe for both couples and guests (global increase of 28% since April 2020).
Couples who moved forward with wedding celebrations during the summer months prioritized health and safety measures (76% in the US) by providing hand sanitizer (89% in the US), encouraging social distancing (78% in the US), requiring staff to wear masks (70% in the US), and offering face masks to guests (63% in the US)1. These measures continue to take precedence for couples around the world with upcoming wedding dates. The majority plan to incorporate health and safety measures and take other precautions to adjust to pandemic conditions (83% globally) across nearly all countries, including providing guests hand sanitizer and face masks, and cutting down their guest lists to meet local guidelines in their area. Those who are choosing to postpone cite they’re doing so due to “concern with how long COVID-19 will last,” and now plan to wed in 2021—with few postponing to 2022. They plan to keep their guest lists as is in hopes of celebrating their wedding the way they always envisioned.
“Our company data shows couples who celebrated their nuptials during the summer months did so with an abundance of caution, prioritizing the health and safety of their loved ones,” said Dhanusha Sivajee, chief marketing officer at The Knot Worldwide. “We’re happy to see couples with upcoming wedding dates continue to place health and safety concerns at the forefront of these gatherings. The Knot Worldwide family of brands stands behind our local wedding professionals across the globe who have partnered with couples to help them through this time. Through their perseverance, we have seen creative solutions come to life, including unique guest entertainment during plated dinner service in lieu of a traditionally packed dance floor, or potentially hosting multiple small events in one day instead of a large gathering to avoid dense crowds. We urge our couples in every country to prioritize the health of their family and friends, themselves, and the wedding pros that make these special days possible.”
“No matter how a couple chooses to celebrate their love for one another during this time—whether a socially distanced ceremony and reception on their original wedding date, or an intimate minimony followed by a rescheduled larger reception next year—we want to assure couples that love is not canceled,” said Lauren Goodson, senior director of insights at The Knot Worldwide. “While our data shows that there are slight variations to how to-be-weds in each country around the world are adapting to this new phase of weddings, the overall sentiment of wanting to celebrate one of life’s biggest moments remains.”
Health and Safety, Socially Distanced Seating and Guest Communication Take Priority
Couples around the world are keeping the safety of their loved ones top of mind. Nearly all couples surveyed (94% US and 83% globally) indicated they would be making safety changes and taking other precautions to adjust to pandemic conditions, including health and safety measures like hand sanitizer and face masks for guests, adjusted food service and seating arrangements to comply with social distancing restrictions, new forms of guest entertainment, and alternative event formats such as hosting several small events in one day instead of one large gathering. Couples are also coming up with more unique and creative approaches, such as providing guests with color-coded bracelets indicating their comfort level with interacting at the event. For guests who don’t feel comfortable attending an in-person event, some couples are incorporating a streaming technology, with virtual wedding add-ons being most popular in the US (43%) and Canada (49%) and less popular in Western Europe (6% in Italy, 9% in Spain, 10% in Portugal and 18% in France).
“Despite the precautions we had to take, everyone had a great time,“ said Anna J. from the US. “Our wedding was smaller than we originally planned and was entirely outdoors. Everyone wore masks when not seated and we encouraged people to only sit with those they came with, reducing the number of people from eight to four per table. No wine glass was used twice and we didn’t have any dancing, aside from our first dance. Many people said they enjoyed our wedding more than any other they had been to.”
“We had to considerably reduce our guest list and offered the option to watch a virtual stream online [to those who could not be there],” said Antonio O. from Mexico. “We then adapted everything for a wedding at my parents’ house. It was a very stressful and hectic few weeks, but we finally achieved what we were looking for (and much more) with an intimate wedding with people who celebrated our love.”
Postponements vs. Original Plans Vary By Country
Data from the Global COVID-19 Weddings Report shows more couples with original dates September 2020 through January 2021 are planning to postpone their wedding receptions rather than proceed with their original wedding date or cancel altogether. However, postponements vary by geography and the state of COVID-19 in the wedding location. Couples with fall and winter wedding dates in the UK (71%) and Latin America (69% in Argentina, 69% in Peru, 66% in Chile, 65% in Colombia, 59% in Brazil, 59% in Uruguay and 54% in Mexico) are more likely to postpone their weddings, in comparison to couples in Western European countries (74% in France, 61% in Italy, and 57% in Portugal), India (58%) and the US (58%) who are not making changes to their original wedding dates as of right now.
Postponing doesn’t mean a couple can’t have the wedding of their dreams. The study finds a majority of couples who are delaying their celebrations do not plan to cut their reception budgets (80% global average), lower their guest lists (71% global average) or hire fewer vendors (87% global average). Additionally, most couples across the globe are postponing to 2021, with few pushing farther out to 2022 (3%).
“This year, Fred and I have been together for 10 years, and we wanted to celebrate our love by getting married on the same day,” said Ornela S. from the UK. “It all seemed so perfect, until COVID happened. We had to postpone it to next year because we have a lot of family abroad, and we didn’t feel like taking the risk of not having them there and putting their health in danger. It has been a roller coaster of emotions for sure, but we are healthy and still very much in love, and we cannot wait to pronounce our vows.”
Most Couples Anticipate Less Guests
For couples with weddings in the next five months, most (56% global average) note they will have a smaller guest count by 25% or more. With the safety of their loved ones top of mind, one in three couples across the world note they chose to postpone their larger wedding celebrations due to concern that their guests would be worried about attending on an earlier date. Continually updating guests with the latest information is also of paramount importance to couples, with nearly half (41% global average) providing a list of FAQs via their invitations, wedding website or an email to keep everyone informed of wedding plans.
“The decision to conduct a wedding in the lockdown amid the COVID scare wasn’t easy, but things are unpredictable and changing every day,” said Bhavdeep K. from India. “Our families decided to go ahead with a small wedding. We planned an Anand Karaj ceremony at the Sarabha Nagar Gurudwara in Ludhiana with very close friends and family in attendance. A sanitizing foot wash was placed at the entrance of the Gurudwara and every guest who attended the wedding was wearing a foot cover inside the Gurudwara. A table was also set up with drinking water, hand sanitizers and face masks. The seating mats were placed six feet apart from each other to maintain social distancing.”
Some Couples Plan to Legally Marry in Advance of Reception Celebrations
Wedding postponements have ushered in new event formats and adjusted timelines. Many couples are participating in what The Knot has coined a “minimony,” or a mini-ceremony in advance of a couple’s rescheduled wedding reception. On average, 30% of global couples will get legally married prior to their rescheduled reception, with those in the US (56%) and Chile (42%) most likely to do this.
The Global COVID-19 Weddings Report is based on data among 9,767 couples who originally had weddings planned between September 2020 and January 2021. The survey was fielded in September 2020 to users who have provided their email address to The Knot Worldwide. The April phase of the study was conducted among 14,356 couples in the same 15 countries.
About The Knot
The Knot is the nation’s leading multiplatform wedding resource offering a seamless, all-in-one planning experience—from finding inspiration and local vendors to creating and managing all guest experiences, wedding registries and more. The trusted brand reaches a majority of engaged couples in the US through the #1 wedding planning website TheKnot.com and #1 iOS and Android mobile app The Knot Wedding Planner, The Knot national and local wedding magazines, and The Knot book series. Since its inception, The Knot has inspired approximately 25 million couples to plan a wedding that’s uniquely them. Visit The Knot online at TheKnot.com and follow on social media: Facebook.com/TheKnot and @TheKnot on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
WeddingWire is a trusted online marketplace, connecting couples with local wedding professionals and a suite of comprehensive tools that make wedding planning easier. Operating within a $250 billion global industry, WeddingWire helps millions of couples every month find the right team of wedding professionals to personalize and pull off their special day. Couples around the world can read millions of vendor reviews and search, compare and book from a directory of hundreds of thousands of vendors local to them. Visit WeddingWire online at WeddingWire.com and follow on social media: Facebook.com/WeddingWire and @WeddingWire on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest
Bodas.net, part of The Knot Worldwide group, is a leading bridal portal designed to help the bride and groom organize the happiest day of their lives. With its international presence, the group has created the world’s largest bridal community and virtual wedding marketplace on the Internet. It has a comprehensive database of over 560,000 wedding professionals and offers couples tools to prepare their guest list, manage their budget, find their suppliers and more. The Knot Worldwide operates in 15 countries through different domains such as Bodas.net (Spain), WeddingWire.com (USA), TheKnot.com (USA), Matrimonio.com (Italy), Mariages.net (France), Casamentos.pt (Portugal), Bodas.com.mx (Mexico), Casamentos.com.br (Brazil), Matrimonio.com.co (Colombia), Matrimonios.cl (Chile), Casamientos.com.ar (Argentina), Matrimonio.com.pe (Peru), WeddingWire.co.uk (United Kingdom), Casamiento.com.uy (Uruguay), WeddingWire.ca (Canada) and WeddingWire.in (India).
Hitched is a leading UK wedding planning destination with a simple mission: to help people get married. For more than two decades, Hitched has provided couples with help, advice and inspiration covering every aspect of wedding planning from the engagement to honeymoon and beyond. Hitched is dedicated to ensuring every UK wedding couple has the help and ideas they need to make their wedding day a success, and that each stage of their journey is inspirational, enjoyable and simple. With thousands of the UK’s leading venues and suppliers, smart digital planning tools across app, mobile and desktop, along with the latest weddings news and trends, it’s no wonder Hitched remains the UK’s favourite wedding planning brand.
About WeddingWire India
WeddingWire India was launched in mid-2017 and is one of the fastest-growing wedding technology platforms in India connecting engaged couples with local wedding professionals. The virtual marketplace gives couples in India access to any and every wedding service provider and online planning tool they can think of. It is the one-stop destination for all wedding planning requirements with a robust vendor directory covering over 60,000 vendors across categories such as venues, photography, hair and makeup, catering, music and DJs, etc. With vendor management, checklist, website creation, budget allocation, guest list creation, community ideas and inspiration, millions of couples search, compare and connect with required wedding services from WeddingWire India’s vast directory of vendors. It’s dedicated to building innovative tools and resources and is present across apps, websites and mobile web as the online marketplace of venues and wedding professionals that simplify and inspire the wedding planning process unique to its customers. WeddingWire.in is an Indian subsidiary of The Knot Worldwide, the largest global wedding technology platform with over four decades of expertise in the wedding industry. The Knot Worldwide is present in 15 countries and continues to help people celebrate life’s biggest milestones. For more information, visit weddingwire and follow on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
*Global data includes the following 15 countries serviced by The Knot Worldwide family of brands: US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, India, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru and Chile.
1.) The Knot Worldwide data from 4,000 respondents in August and September 2020. Survey conducted via email to The Knot and WeddingWire users with original weddings between March 2020 and August 2020.