Published: Monday, May. 10th, 2021
Last year, determined couples changed the face of the wedding industry with their pandemic-era nuptials. Suddenly, words like ‘minimony’ and ‘microwedding’ were on every wedding planner’s masked lips, and wedding officiants were adjusting their service offerings and ceremony packages to accommodate smaller gatherings and last minute elopements.
But now, most states have loosened their gathering restrictions and more than half of Americans have received at least one dose of a vaccine. The pandemic isn’t over by any means (case numbers are still climbing in many areas here in the US) but for many, things are getting back to normal. That means weddings are, too.
What will become of the minimony, and other trends like microweddings, virtual and hybrid wedding ceremonies, and elopements? Will couples continue to request these kinds of ceremonies, or is it safe for wedding officiants to pull these specialty items off the summer menu?
Bethel predicts that the minimony -- those tiny, casual ceremonies held in tiny, casual spaces, often as a precursor to a larger event later -- will probably become less popular as things settle into a new ‘normal.’ This is because for many couples, the need for a small ceremony followed by a sequel wedding has passed. Friends and family who have been vaccinated are more comfortable flying, venues are beginning to allow larger groups as state restrictions loosen, and ceremonies and receptions are being combined once more.
Microweddings, on the other hand, are only going to get more popular. These small-in-size (but not in style) ceremonies give couples permission to plan something more intimate than a typical oversized wedding, without sacrificing any of the decadence and poshness of a full sized event. With a smaller guest list, couples can make their budget go farther -- spending more on individual guests than they would have been able to before. This gives creative couples, and their creative wedding officiants, a lot of freedom to create truly memorable and intimate experiences.
Bethel is certain the hybrid wedding ceremony is here to stay, and we couldn’t agree more. If you haven’t had the chance to officiate a hybrid wedding yet, these are ceremonies in which some guests attend in person and others join remotely over a video conference platform like Zoom or Skype, or a streaming service like Facebook or Instagram Live.
From an officiant’s perspective, these ceremonies are a little trickier to deliver than they might seem, because the audience is larger than it looks at first glance. But once you get the hang of remembering that your audience is larger than those few sitting right in front of you -- sometimes hundreds of people more! -- and adjust your approach accordingly, these ceremonies are a lot of fun.
And for couples and their families, hybrid weddings make life infinitely easier. Friends and family members anywhere in the world -- in other states and even internationally -- can join without the financial obligation of a plane ticket and hotel room, and guests with health considerations can attend from the comfort of their own home. Couples win with hybrid weddings, too, because their guest list isn’t restricted by their budget. They can include far more loved ones than they might have been able to in the past.
Elopements hit peak popularity during the pandemic, but they’ve always been a favorite for couples looking for a certain kind of experience. True elopements -- those attended only by a couple, their officiant, and maybe a witness or photographer or two -- offer a wedding experience unlike any other. They work wonderfully for spontaneous or last minute weddings, destination weddings, adventure weddings, and even as planned, private ceremonies for those wanting a special memory.
It’s this versatility and romantic energy that gives elopements enduring appeal, and we can guarantee that we’ll keep seeing them -- for as long as lovers want to say ‘I do!’
Bethel Nathan is a wedding officiant and business elevation coach based in sunny San Diego, California, where she’s been performing weddings since 2009. (As of this writing, she’s officiated over 1,000 weddings!)
She runs Ceremonies by Bethel, an inclusive wedding service that specializes in creating authentic custom ceremonies, and Elevate by Bethel, a coaching service that helps small business owners succeed by building companies they love.
She’s also Vice President of the International Association of Professional Wedding Officiants (IAPWO), and is a frequent guest speaker at wedding conferences across the country.
In the words of one of her happy couples, “Bethel is amazing, kind, patient, has an amazing way with words and a truly beautiful speaking voice.”
Photograph courtesy of Ceremonies By Bethel
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