Many brides who dreamed of their spring and summer weddings shifted their plans to either postpone or scale down their rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, ceremonies, receptions, and other social gatherings. Beyond brides, graduation, retirement, anniversary, and other parties were all also either postponed or reconfigured to keep everyone safe.
Certainly, the pandemic has impacted every industry, and also brought to light that no matter how introverted or extroverted a personality, we all have a need for human interaction and engagement.
It’s still important for guests to celebrate those special days, memorable occasions, and milestones. We have seen many new trends since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, rapidly, in the first quarter of the decade. The spirit of travel remains strong and our venue managers fervently support the idea that small does not mean insignificant. A few ways to modify meetings and weddings:
- Scale back the attendees while considering the option of multiple gatherings, perhaps themed for each category of guest type—family, friends, former classmates, girlfriends, coworkers, extended family, etc. It may mean booking your calendar more than one day, but if the pandemic has introduced any silver linings, spending quality time is key.
- Professional meetings can be accommodated as well: peer groups, directors, geographic regions, work groups, or mixed groups with varying levels of experience to learn from one another. Booking more breakout rooms, following best practices in social distance guidelines with fewer attendees in one room, and streaming for virtual attendees may help prevent the cancellation of larger conferences.
- You can still plan a destination wedding. Road trips, nature-based ceremonies outdoors, picnics, outdoor feasts, smaller venues—all are options with planners ready to accommodate, with additional guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.
- Your budget may be the same or smaller, and our vendors will give you options. You can modify your budget to now focus on your honeymoon, the meal, bridal party gifts, and all the special touches if you are finding specials on room rates, rentals, and other expenses.
- Meetings may open up to those who couldn’t have afforded travel originally; these attendees are potential clients you may not have met in person otherwise. Networking in a hybrid environment, with smaller meetings and more flexibility opens hosts to the potential for increased business.
- Creativity with food. Boxed lunches instead of buffets, meal kits for dinner back in your hotel room so you can stay productive after the meeting, bring your own coffee to support a local coffee shop before the meeting, etc. Some ideas may not be ideal but might offer opportunities for a greener occasion or event.
- Maybe your music is a DJ and your dream band will livestream a few songs if they’re on the road or have a big travel budget. It might add a surprise dimension for all the guests. Perhaps your keynote speaker is remote and your local speaker manages the breakout sessions.
Intimate gatherings are meaningful. Smaller meetings offer opportunities. The spirit of travel is fluid and planners are creative. Plan now and we’ll see you when the time is right.