After a Year of Postponements and Virtual Micro Weddings, Nuptial Celebrations are ON

Weddings that were postponed due to COVID19 have blasted back onto the scene this summer, and local venues and businesses are working overtime to keep up with the pace.

Not only are last year’s postponed weddings back on the schedule, but venues and other wedding-related businesses are getting inquiries about receptions for friends and family to—at long last—celebrate elopements and micro weddings that took place in 2020 and early 2021.

Couples are flocking to wedding expos like this recent event held at the Little Man Ice Cream Factory. Photo by Basha Cohen

A couple recently sat down to enjoy a sample ice cream sandwich at a wedding expo hosted by Little Man Ice Cream Factory. They became engaged a few months into the pandemic and, now that they can get out into the community more, are starting to explore wedding options. Their family members wonder just how long this engagement will be, but the couple is content to take their time and get creative. Plus, venues seem to be backed up, so that gives them extra time to consider all the details.

Hayley Hamilton, catering manager at Little Man, reports she’s received double to triple the usual inquiries connected to weddings (for catering and for venue rental of the Little Man Factory), and that couples are looking to host smaller gatherings.

Outdoor venues are especially backed up with requests. In addition to weddings, popular venues managed by Denver Parks and Recreation saw a spike in demand—beginning in April—from schools planning outdoor proms and graduations. Kris Ryan, Parks Permit Administrator, took a quick break from the volume of inquiries to share details. Park sites are seeing 150% of normal use, while her department entered summer with 20% the usual staff. Requests increased dramatically a couple months ago and have held steady. She appreciates the patience the public has had with them. Ryan’s team is working with couples to help them understand the 100+ park picnic sites available to them. If they are looking for an outdoor option for an intimate wedding, they might just find a great option from that list.

Across the room back at the Little Man expo, a recent bride sits with a friend mapping out ideas for the celebration she wasn’t able to have after downsizing her wedding to a 10-person event outdoors at Rocky Mountain National Park last fall. She’s planning a traditional reception for next summer and is feeling rushed to secure a venue and nail down the catering plan. Yet she worries that uncertainties of the last year will persist into the next. She takes a deep breath and smiles, determined to forge on.

Rangefinder Magazine recently surveyed over 300 photographers to learn how they adjusted to pandemic wedding trends and which strategies they planned to retain. Photographers saw a dramatic rise in intimate weddings (20-50 guests), micro weddings (fewer than 20 guests) and elopements (just the couple and their officiant). Creative settings for proposals and pandemic weddings caused photographers to get equally creative around safety, lighting, and camera angles. They’re packaging their wedding services in new ways now, adjusting to the flexibility and creativity couples have found their way to over the last 18 months. As it turns out, couples like that societal pressure to have a large wedding has eased, and they’re looking for ways to save on costs.

The wedding industry has learned many lessons from the last year. And, after the current rush to meet demand is behind it will, no doubt, settle on more ways to support the post-COVID priorities of engaged couples.


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