Shrinking guest lists and postponed dates: COVID-19’s impact on wedding plans

A new study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Indochino finds that 93% of couples planning to wed had to change some aspects of their wedding. (Photo by Indochino)

Forty-eight percent of Americans planning a wedding would rather shrink their guest list and have it now than wait for their perfect day, according to new research.

The survey found respondents were split on what to do about their big day: while almost half would rather have their wedding now, 38% prefer to wait the pandemic out in order to have their full guest list attend and 14% are not sure yet.

But regardless of what they’re thinking in terms of the date, respondents are eagerly awaiting their wedding day — especially given current events: 70% feel even more excited now about their wedding and the happiness it will bring.

The survey of 2,000 Americans who were planning to wed in the next 12 months prior to COVID-19 revealed a staggering 93% are having to reconsider some aspects of their wedding.

Nearly half (47%) are reconsidering their reception venue due to the pandemic, while 45% are thinking about slashing the number of guests on the invite list.

Two in five (40%) are contemplating changes to minimize the possible health risks for their guests while 22% are considering holding a virtual wedding.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of custom menswear brand Indochino, the research revealed many couples are optimistic they’ll walk down the aisle soon.

Of those postponing, two-thirds (67%) anticipate pushing their wedding back six months or less.

Just 4% are concerned it will be pushed back by a year or more, although there is uncertainty for 10%, who have no idea how far their wedding will be pushed back.

Desi Kirby and Janell Hickman from Brooklyn, NY, had been planning their wedding in New Mexico in October 2020. In June, their venue canceled their wedding due to the pandemic. They quickly decided to pivot and have a smaller, local ceremony at Brooklyn Grange in September.

“I wasn’t excited about the change of plans, but I was a little relieved,” said Kirby, who will be saying his vows in a three-piece custom Indochino suit. “The smaller wedding has fewer moving pieces.

“The pandemic gave me more perspective on what’s important and it made me think more about who we want at the wedding. I like that it will be more intimate, and I feel better having 30 of our closest family and friends surround us with love.”

Budgets are also in flux as couples decide which aspects of their wedding deserve more cash than others.

Two in five (41%) want to cut costs on their venue and plan to spend less on transportation (38%), an indication that many couples will now wed closer to home.

Forty-eight percent confirmed they are looking to spend less by reducing their guest list and 45% estimate they’ll be spending less on alcohol — another surefire sign numbers are being altered.

The survey was more evenly split on changes to aspects less affected by external factors related to the pandemic like the wedding dress, groom’s attire, rings and photography.

“Brides and grooms everywhere are having to reimagine their dream wedding, whether that’s a new venue, a smaller guest list or a revised date,” said Drew Green, Indochino CEO.

“And while no one could have imagined that a pandemic would disrupt their big day, our research shows that couples are more excited than ever to get married, a sign that true love conquers all.”

Prior to the pandemic, 2,000 men married within the past five years were surveyed to examine how they felt about their big day — and results revealed nearly seven in 10 (68%) imagine their wedding day growing up.

Surprisingly all grooms’ most memorable moments of the big event happened early. A third revealed the best part was their “first look” with their future spouse while three in 10 (29%) loved saying their vows.

Results also found 28% listed getting ready as one of their favorite parts.

Even though three in four grooms wanted to look their best ever to walk down the aisle, 38% confessed their partner’s shoes cost more than their entire suit did. And 36% percent admitted the cake was more expensive than their suit.

Even though it’s one of the most important outfits they’ll ever wear, nearly seven in 10 (68%) grooms wished they had spent more time picking their suit.

Choosing a suit turned out to be an emotional experience for one in five grooms. It wasn’t all fun and games since one in 10 found it stressful (15%) or complicated (11%).

Still the suit played a major role for grooms on their big day. Seven in 10 (69%) revealed getting married didn’t feel “real” until they put on their wedding outfit.

The most common emotions among grooms when they suited up were confident (35%) and relaxed (19%). Sadly, some were left fidgeting seeing as 15% felt uncomfortable and one in 10 were hot or sweaty.

“While there are a lot of things beyond our control right now, there are still many aspects of the wedding day that will remain unchanged,” Green added. “The dress code is one of those and, for grooms, choosing your outfit is an easy and fun way to get involved and evoke your personal style.

“Make sure your suit fits well — we recommend planning at least two months in advance and exploring all of the colors, patterns and fabrics available to ensure your outfit is a wedding day highlight.”

First look at spouse 33%
Saying vows 29%
Getting ready 28%
Walk down the aisle 23%
Taking photos 15%
Cocktail hour 14%
Spending time with family/friends 13%
Moment alone with spouse 11%
First dance 11%
Dinner 10%

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<
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