The 400 Billion dollar wedding industry has been devastated by the global pandemic! Essentially shut down and put on hold. Not only have couples had their dreams smashed and schedules thrown into disarray but for the vendors of this industry the means of making a living has been turned off like a light switch.
I am a professional wedding DJ and Master of Ceremonies and my last event was February 29. Our company employs 9 DJs along with photographers, videographers, musicians, and photo booth technicians. Sadly, I have not been able to protect any of those positions as our state eliminated any event of over 10 people. Essentially what we do for a living was made illegal.
Now, as the country starts to consider relaxing some of the lockdowns and restrictions in a multi-phase approach the wedding industry knows it won’t be business as usual. At the very least, weddings of 100+ guests won’t be a part of phase 1 or even phase 2. Here is my speculation of what a return to wedding celebrations will look like in 2020.
Currently, my state of Connecticut is on a quarantine until May 20. Almost my entire schedule to the end of June has been moved to fall, winter or 2021 dates. Realistically, I expect a few July weddings to happen. A few more in August with September being the first “sort-of normal” month. In order for weddings to happen it is certain the local states will have restrictions.
Masks would be required. This is the most oddly feeling restriction as I can only imagine a room filled with guests all wearing masks except at their tables when it’s time for dinner. Awkward indeed. Now, I can see some companies making real good money creating custom wedding masks for the bride and groom along with wedding party attendees and guests. This is the only way it will feel anything close to fashionable and having any chance of being embraced.
Limitations of 75-100 guests would most likely be the standard. Gone will be the dream of a 200 guest reception. Those might not return until 2021 and the emergence of a vaccine or the depletion of the virus to almost unmeasurable levels. This is something that concerns me for venues as they will have difficulty making profit with only small weddings allowed. But something is better than nothing, I guess?
Social distancing guidelines will be in place like 6 feet between tables and only 4 guests seated per table. Ballrooms will look remarkably different from the packed environments we were used to. Also, the amount of guests allowed in a ballroom up to the maximum would be determined based on square footage. So, venues with larger ballrooms would get the max and smaller ballrooms getting a reduced occupancy rating for guest capacity.
As a DJ I can’t help but wonder how dancing will be effected? If guests have to wear a mask I just can’t imagine a packed dance floor with unbridled enthusiasm. Now, let’s be honest? Will a bunch of 25-35 year old drunk guests adhere to all these guidelines? I don’t think so……
All of this could be avoided of course. With prominent testing guests could line up upon entrance to the venue and take a test with 5 minute results. All personnel including the DJ, Photographer and service staff would be tested so it would be with confidence that the wedding could move forward knowing everyone in that building were virus free. Will this happen? Not a chance! The 2021 vaccine is the only solution to getting weddings back to pre COVID-19 normalcy.
To my wedding colleagues I don’t write this blog article to further your despair. Rather I hope it will get you thinking so you can begin the process of adaptation. Life will go on, business will return and weddings will continue. Nothing will stop that! Weddings are not going to end, or couples ALL having ZOOM virtual receptions. We will be back to work by fall on the average and we need to be ready for the changes that are inevitable. And to the doom and gloomers who think things will never be the same I say this.
“People are social creatures. It’s our greatest need to be social and as long as that craving exists there will be celebrations of life!”