2021 has been an interesting year, to say the least. Thanks to a global pandemic, a mass social upheaval, and an economy teetering on the brink of a recession, the wedding industry has experienced rapid shifts in the market, impacting professionals and couples alike.
Fortunately, the event industry is made up of adaptable creatives who have handled the ever-changing landscape with grace. While we saw some temporary adjustments to weddings in the past year, several significant shifts will continue to transform the way we do business and interact with the market.
Here are the four must-know changes to consider as you prepare for what’s expected to be the busiest wedding season on record.
A “wedding boom” for the ages
A year’s worth of postponed events has caught up with the industry, driving business up and filling calendars for industry professionals across the globe. In addition, the uptick in weddings has affected timelines and availability, keeping our time in high demand.
With 2022 gearing up to be the biggest wedding season we’ve seen in decades, expect to maintain this pace for at least two years before seeing schedules go back to “normal” pre-pandemic levels. As a result, burnout will become a major concern, so expect conversations about mental health and work/life balance to become much more common.
A social reckoning and realignment
The tragedies of 2020 launched a long-overdue conversation about systemic racism and the inequalities that underline every aspect of society. A spotlight on the disparities and biases present within the wedding industry at large has ushered in a much-needed change this year. Diversity and inclusion have become the driving factors behind conference speaker lineups and referral networks to staffing and preferred vendor lists.
Wedding professionals are more intentional about who they partner with and how they can turn their values into meaningful actions. In that, many businesses are finally making moves to educate themselves, put their team through D&I training, and align their business operations with their values.
An evolving market
As many millennials trade in their wedding invites for baby announcements, it’s time for the industry to set its sights on the up-and-coming Generation Z as they age into the prime demographic for weddings. Thus, wedding professionals must be mindful of Gen Z’s core values, habits, and preferences.
The modern couple wants to invest in brands and services that are not just talented but also align with their social values. Being vocal about socio-political issues on social media may have been a faux pas in the past. Still, today’s market wants to know what your brand considers important and how you’re addressing it.
A focus on meaning and intention
Micro-weddings are here to stay, as COVID continues to influence the way weddings look and feel. Even as the pandemic settles down and becomes less of a factor, there has been a fundamental shift in the way couples plan their wedding.
Over the past couple of years, they have repositioned their priorities and put more stock in quality time with loved ones. As a result, guest lists are being shortened, with budgets redistributed to a more thought-out guest experience for a smaller group. If you’ve been considering getting into micro-weddings (or their even smaller counterparts, minimonies), you have not missed the train—these scaled-down celebrations aren’t going anywhere.
We will surely see these trends evolve as we head into 2022, along with the introduction of new changes to the industry. Consider how these fit into your plans as you review the wins and losses from 2021 and set goals for the year ahead. Perhaps it’s time to invest in D+I training, or maybe you need to adjust your marketing strategy to demonstrate your activism authentically. It all starts with setting the intention and planning how you will take action.