The future of weddings is looking bright after a year of delayed ‘I dos.’ The majority of 2021 weddings are going on as scheduled, and the COVID-19 vaccine rollout has made 81% of couples feel even more confident moving forward with their plans. But, the past year has forever changed how we celebrate -- and how the wedding industry operates.
We surveyed 468 trusted wedding vendors, who are all part of Zola’s Wedding Vendor Platform, about the future of weddings. We asked about the financial impact of the pandemic, how businesses are recovering, how they are feeling heading into wedding season, and what they predict weddings will look like moving forward. These vendors provide outstanding service for events across the country and include venues, photographers, videographers, florists, bakers, makeup artists, caterers, bands, DJs, and more.
Considering the vast majority of vendors are small businesses or sole proprietors, it’s not surprising that the financial hit caused by delayed weddings was tremendous. Vendors have faced other unprecedented challenges as halted supply chains disrupted industries nationwide, such as limited availability of wholesale florals. But, wedding vendors are resilient, finding ways to adapt by adding new services to their portfolios, adding even more transparency into their contracts, and supporting couples always.
Looking ahead, vendors are feeling optimistic, hopeful, and more excited than ever to get back to weddings. One in three say that they are fully booked or even overbooked for 2021 with more events scheduled than in prior years -- but the majority do still want more bookings for this year. A third of vendors also report they already feel secure in their number of bookings for 2022! Six in ten vendors believe that the wedding industry will bounce back this year. And all agree that ultimately, love will prevail.
Read on for the full report, and check out Zola’s Wedding Vendor Platform to fast-track the vendor search process and book the best vendors for your big day.
In response to the pent-up demand for weddings, many vendors are scheduling more events than ever before, a strong indicator of an industry rebound.
In the immediate future of June & July, vendors report that most weddings will have guest lists under 75 people.
Intimate affairs, online wedding planning & event streaming, and an increased focus on guest safety will continue, but a return to destination weddings may be farther in the future. Here are the trends vendors believe will live on through 2022 and beyond:
Wedding vendors are resilient and are adapting to changes by adding new and unique services that couples need and want.
As couples become more eager to move forward with the planning process, the vendor community continues to help couples reimagine their weddings. Here’s more on how vendors are feeling, from vendors themselves:
“Every wedding we shoot or engagement session, you can feel optimism returning. There is a sense of unity and hope at these events again. Nothing is taken for granted.”
“We've noticed a lot of couples wanting to book much further in advance than we are used to or even willing to book. We just had an inquiry for May 2023.”
“I am concerned about another surge in COVID halting our industry again. I hope that venues and counties continue to follow the CDC guidelines. As much as I want normalcy again, we can't get there without precautions and safety. I think the most important step is stopping the pandemic first, and the only way to do that is to follow guidelines that save lives.”
“I think the return of weddings is great. Couples have put their dreams and lives on hold, and it's important that they celebrate.”
“I feel optimistic. I think couples are shifting towards smaller, more intentional weddings. My state has been pretty good about managing restrictions appropriately. Once I am fully vaccinated (in a few weeks), I will feel much safer.”
“I'm excited, but nervous about being able to give clients what they are hoping for since flower supply will be quite low until fall or later. The increase in flower demand has also caused the flower prices to increase and that's a hard message to pass along to couples who have already postponed 1-2+ times.”
“Excited and overwhelmed at my schedule. There are so many back-to-back weddings that I normally would not have scheduled. Also, I’m not making as much money this year because some clients paid in full a year ago.”
“I feel very positive about the return of weddings! I am mainly an intimate wedding and elopement photographer. I feel that couples are leaning into smaller weddings so I will be able to sustain an increased influx of couples over the next few years. I am almost fully booked for 2022, but definitely have some openings in 2021 still because of cancellations. But again, I feel very positive because I am showing up for my couples and that's what I'm really here for. To serve in any way they need, even if it's just a pick-me-up phone call!”