The Runaway Altar. Disrupted Wedding Arrangements in the Covid-19 Era
For many, 2020 seemed like the perfect time to tie the knot. A nice year with a nice round number to make your wedding plans all the more memorable. We can only imagine the disappointment for many when their plans have been called to an abrupt halt. Looking back at the year so far, it has been a very confusing time to be alive. A season filled with lockdowns, government-imposed regulations, travel bans, and quarantine procedures; this extent of government intervention into our daily lives has not been witnessed since the gloom and doom of World War II. To add to the woes of many, news of “superspreader” weddings or public gatherings have been a real downer. The most notable recent case happened on September 17 in the United States, carrying with it a toll of 7 deaths and 177 infected. With such dreadful news appearing on our feeds almost daily, it can be difficult to keep a positive outlook on the situation. We sincerely empathize with couples, wedding planners, and event organizers during these trying times. However, as with all obstacles in life, always seek the silver lining. Difficult situations can create unlikely allies, and complex problems create innovative solutions.
The Silver Lining
Wedding marketing starts long before the actual ceremony. Numbers from WeddingWire indicate at least 90% of couples use social media as the preferred method to announce their ceremony. The same report also states that at least 88% of wedding arrangements and planning are conducted online. These figures were gathered in a pre-COVID world. From these trends, one can surmise that the wedding culture was moving towards digital integration long before mandatory social distancing was imposed. Some existing digital ideas that can help couples and business owners alike:
- A personalized wedding website. This adds charm and a touch of class for your special occasion.
- Wedding planning apps. Because manual checklists are a thing of the past. Planning a wedding can be huge work, so keep every element organized digitally!
- Virtual appointments and AR Gown fitting. So many users are purchasing their clothing online, and the same is true for weddings! With AR tech, you can even upload your measurements and images to get that perfect fit. Digital tech can bring more empowerment and choice to any would-be bride, offering personalized services, price, and stocking more designer brands than any traditional showroom.
- Point-of-sales accessibility is becoming scarce as social distancing becomes more prevalent. Business owners should consider more innovative approaches to digitizing aspects of their operations where possible. E-Commerce bridal services are not entirely uncommon in this day and have also been found to be more widely accepted than ever before.
- With audience targeting functions, business owners can also expand the scope of their customers beyond what is available in their first-party data. For example, creating lookalike audiences can assist in further ad targeting on both search engines and social media. With more consumer spending patterns shifting to online solutions, the wedding industry can embrace this change and create all-inclusive campaigns to tap into the digital markets.
- Curated appliance and furniture list. So many home appliance/ furniture resellers are providing personalized digital lists for wedding registries. It has never been easier for a couple to tick-off all their appliance/furniture needs for their new dream home. Websites such as The Knot, Zola, and Wedding Wire even offer highly personalized registries for free!
As bleak as it may seem, the wedding industry has already embraced digital wedding culture long before the rise of COVID. It is definitely the time to leverage on this and adapt to the new normal. Allow us to end with a quote from Association of Wedding Professionals (AWP) president Leticia Hsu: “We see unlikely alliances come together and collaboration across different industries; this is perhaps the only silver lining in this time of uncertainty. With a more proactive approach to the situation, everyone should think outside the box and try to quickly evolve”