Social-distancing measures are likely to make big wedding celebrations essentially impossible for the rest of this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends that Americans cancel gatherings of more than 10 people “for organizations that serve higher-risk populations,” and many states have imposed limits on the number of people who can gather for any sort of party or event.
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Dave Grossman, who lives in New York City, was supposed to get married in April at an old luxury hotel 25 miles outside the city—but in early March, New York State officials directed residents to cancel any gatherings of more than 50 people. Grossman and his fiancée initially rescheduled their wedding for August, but then the venue announced it was closing for the remainder of the year. Now they’re not sure when, or where, they’ll get married.
Grossman, 44, and his fiancée, 40, both had a specific vision for what they wanted their wedding day to look like. Watching their dream crumble before their eyes, Grossman said, has been devastating: “This was supposed to be the most exciting time—like, We’re getting married soon! Instead, it’s all stress.” Naturally, though, the idea of a smaller, more low-key wedding is now starting to look more and more appealing to the pair.
When the coronavirus first hit, Kristen Maxwell Cooper, the editor in chief of the wedding website The Knot, initially saw a lot of couples push their ceremonies to later this year. But the pandemic has become a more prolonged ordeal than many of those couples expected at first—so some are turning to what Maxwell Cooper and her team at The Knot have dubbed “mini-monies,” for miniature ceremonies. Small enough to comply with size limits on gatherings and also to responsibly practice social distancing, these are pared-down, minimalist events with “usually around 10 people—just their family, maybe,” she said. Some or all of the ceremony “may be virtual. They may have a virtual officiant or something like that.” Maxwell Cooper added that most of the couples she’s seen opt for the mini-mony still plan to have a bigger celebration later on, after restrictions have lifted.
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Amy Jones, a wedding planner in Connecticut, told me that a few of her clients whose weddings were planned for spring and summer 2020 have chucked their original plans for a big event and gone the mini-mony route. This is especially true of those who want to get married on the sooner side so they can start a family. But more common, as Jones and other people who work in wedding-adjacent industries told me, are the clients who are (perhaps optimistically) rescheduling their weddings for the same weekend next year. As a result, scores of weddings that were supposed to take place in 2020 have been moved to 2021, and they land on the calendar on top of the weddings that were already planned for 2021 before the coronavirus arrived.