The thing about the Covid-19 pandemic, was that absolutely everyone was affected. Whether or not you tested positive for the virus or were under lockdown or lost a job or had to reschedule your wedding, every single person was affected in one way or another.
Due to numerous wedding postponements as a result of the pandemic, 2022 was one of the busiest wedding years ever. As we feel our way and establish the “new normal”, the destination wedding industry has definitely changed a bit. It is not just couples that are having to adjust, but also vendors in every possible sector. Let’s take a look at how the destination wedding industry has changed in Italy.
Being locked down taught us some very important life lessons. We were all forced to reevaluate ourselves, our relationships and our lives. In this time of reflection, we have found that many couples reevaluated their priorities and have gotten back to the whole reason that they wanted a destination wedding. They want to get married, surrounded by their closest friends and family and to celebrate their love in their own style. But what does that look like now?
Let’s address the elephant in the room, first of all. We can all attest to the fact that inflation has hit swift and hard. With the increased cost of gas, supply chain problems, product shortages, delays and cancellations, (for example, remember hoarding toilet paper?), this has become our new normal. It has affected all of us, across the board. As a result, we are seeing the price of everything ticking up, and the wedding industry is no exception. These are real and tangible expenses that we are all facing, even vendors, and we need to recognize and anticipate these additional costs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the end is in sight anytime soon.
The Great Outdoors
Here in Tuscany, we are blessed to have some of the most beautiful scenery and some of the best weather on the planet (well, in my opinion, anyways). The summers are hot and rain is sparce, so we have a larger number of days that are beautiful, sunny and clear, than a lot of other locations. This has been absolutely perfect for new social distancing recommendations.
With the incredible number of spacious venues here in Tuscany, we are able to offer couples the opportunity to have the ceremony, aperitivo, dinner and after-party all outside at different spots. These vignettes make for a richer experience for both the couple as well as guests.
Big Changes to Guest Lists
Couples are taking a second look at their original guest lists. For some weddings, we are seeing an decreasing trend in the number of attendees. This could be due to a number of reasons such as changes across job markets and decreased income, difficulties within the travel industry, the addition of new babies (or furbabies), or lingering worries about international travel and Covid. In our experience, these smaller guest lists offer the couple a much more intimate ceremony and the opportunity to spend quality time with a fewer number of guests.
On the other side of the coin, some guest lists are swelling exponentially. Most of us are tired of being cooped up at home and we are developing a terrible case of wanderlust. What better opportunity to get dust off the passport and suitcase and help your friends and/or family celebrate their nuptials.
Traditionally, the weekends were made for weddings. However, because of the sharp increase in the number of weddings post-Covid, weekday weddings are becoming more and more common. This has turned out to be a great option for couples and vendors, alike. Vendors are able to have supplemental business and income midweek, when traditionally there would be none, and often couples are able to receive a midweek discount on some services. It has truly become a “win-win” situation for all.
Vendor Contracts Look Different
The French phrase, “Force Majeure”, is a term used to excuse their performance from a contract. Traditionally, circumstances such as hurricanes, tsunamis, wildfires, destruction of the venue have been the industry standard. Now, we can add Covid to that list. The pandemic caught everyone off guard and Italy was hit especially hard. If you will recall, it was the first European country where the Covid-19 virus was detected and identified. Many businesses were never able to recover from their huge economic losses and went under, but thankfully, many businesses in our sector were able to weather the storm and are back stronger than ever.
Necessity of Flexibility
Of the many lessons we have learned during the pandemic, it is hard to think of one bigger than learning to be flexible. (Yes, even my “Type A” personality has had to let go of the reins a little bit.) Flexibility when it comes to ordering and shipping delays. Flexibility when it comes to rescheduling everything. Flexibility when guests arrive at their home airport only to test positive and be turned away. Flexibility, for, well, everything. Every couple dreams of their wedding day being absolutely perfect and free from any unpredictable events, running on time to the second. However, as we have seen, those days have been exchanged for compassion, understanding, and empathy. Which I think is fair to say, we could all use a little more of in our lives.
Look for More Eco-Friendly Offerings
When it comes to feeding your guests, the landscape has changed a bit. Gone are the buffet style hors d’oeuvre and in their place are single-size servings. Not only does this reduce the overall amount of food waste, but vendors are getting creative with their presentations, using recycled and/ or compostable wares, sustainably sourced bamboo utensils and picks and even banana leaf serving receptacles. While these may seem like small steps forward in the name of sustainability, every little bit counts.
No More Family-Style Meals
We have all become a little more “germ-aware”, I will call it. I think the days of family-style dining and buffets, while might not be gone forever, will be gone for the foreseeable future. In their place, we have the much more formal plated and served meals. Not only does it keep everyone from unnecessarily sharing germs, it is also an huge win for the sustainability and eco-focused group.
Preparations and Ceremonies With a Digital Twist
During the pandemic, it is fairly safe to say we were all forced to become a little more “technologically savvy”. Whether it was because people transitioned to work at home and had to host or attend more online meetings or because we could not see our friends and loved ones as easily as in the past and spent more time on video calls – the fact is, we all adapted.
Staying On Top of Planning
Planning a destination wedding, in a different country (and presumably, a different time zone) comes with its own set of challenges. As couples began to embrace online video platforms, they felt much more comfortable on video calls with their wedding planners as well as other vendors. This opened up an avenue for additional conversations during the planning process and allowed them to stay connected and engaged during times of uncertainty.
Live-streaming Ceremonies for Loved Ones
Technology also opened up opportunities for friends and relatives that were unable to be in attendance. The number of ceremonies where couples chose to livestream for friends and family unable to travel grew astronomically over the last two years. Even now, as the world is opening back up, it remains a popular option for couples to share their most special of days with those across the globe.
The entire world is different post-Covid and we have all had to adjust and adapt. This is true of any industry, including the wedding industry. These trying times have forced us all to appreciate the fragility of life and how easily our worlds can get turned upside down. Moving forward, it is important to remember the need for understanding and flexibility. While this article briefly touched on a lot of the “new normal” in the destination wedding industry, it was written from a place of hope and anticipation of what the future holds.
Let Unique Events in Tuscany help you plan your wedding, elopement or vow renewal. We are here to help and answer any questions you might have. We would love to set up a call and chat!
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