Following 10.10.2020—What Would Have Been This Year’s Most Popular Wedding Date—The Knot Finds Nearly Half of Wedding Guests Will No Longer Join In-Person Festivities, Largely Due to Couples Postponing Their Celebrations or Reduced Guest Counts
Guests Report Masked Staff, Available Hand Sanitizer, and Socially Distanced Seating Are Most Essential Health Precautions for Upcoming Weddings, according to The Knot 2020 Wedding Guest Study
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Following what would have been this year’s most popular wedding day, October 10, 2020, The Knot—a leading wedding planning and registry resource—today releases its 2020 Wedding Guest Study, highlighting how guest behaviors and expectations have evolved in recent months as a result of COVID-19. Prior to the height of the pandemic in the US, more than 104,000 weddings were scheduled to take place throughout October 2020, with more than 14.1 million wedding guests in attendance.1 However, the global pandemic has interrupted millions of couples’ wedding plans around the world and impacted their guests as well. Among couples with weddings scheduled September 2020 through January 2021, 35% are postponing their reception, while 58% are not changing their date at this time, but adjusting plans while prioritizing health and safety.2
Communication with guests is crucial as couples pivot, especially regarding health and safety measures. In fact, more than 7 in 10 guests say it’s important to receive health and safety information before they RSVP. The health measures guests feel are essential to enforce at upcoming weddings include staff being required to wear masks (69%), hand sanitizer readily available at the venue (67%) and appropriately spaced seating (64%).
“The guest experience has long been a top priority for couples throughout wedding planning, though in 2020 this focus has included increased health measures in order to create the most celebratory, comfortable and above all, safe, celebrations,” said Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor-in-chief of The Knot. “Plus, couples have been incredibly creative when it comes to maintaining constant communication with guests and assuring them that their health is top of mind, from creating videos on social media with wedding updates, to offering color-coded bracelets that note guests’ comfort levels with in-person interactions.”
Many Celebrate To-Be-Weds Virtually as In-Person Guest Attendance Drops
COVID-19 has ushered in a variety of new event formats and wedding trends, one being a rise in couples adding a virtual component to their weddings. According to The Knot 2020 Wedding Guest Study, nearly 3 in 10 individuals (27%) who had planned to attend at least one wedding in person this year have now celebrated through virtual video streaming services, with nearly three quarters of guests noting that the virtual wedding experience was very good or excellent—more than a third of guests (35%) even dressed up for the joyous occasion. And this trend isn’t going anywhere: 43% of couples with upcoming weddings plan to incorporate virtual elements to include guests who cannot physically be there.2
While attending virtual celebrations has been on the rise among guests in 2020, in-person attendance at weddings this year has dropped, as nearly half of individuals (49%) who planned to attend at least one wedding now report they will no longer attend in person, the majority (72%) noting wedding postponements or reduced guest counts as the reason. One in 4 guests say they’ve chosen to no longer attend in-person celebrations for COVID-related reasons, including uneasiness of being in a social setting (49%) and concerns about health and safety protocols being followed at the event (37%). Most guests want to understand the health and safety measures that will be enforced before RSVPing, with the majority noting that they want to know whether masks will be required (63%), what the estimated guest count is (60%), where the wedding will be held (58%) and if social distancing will be enforced (56%). More than a third of guests also say it’s important to know where other guests will be traveling from. Nowadays, more than half of couples (59%) plan to increase communications with guests and provide FAQs to keep them informed.2 Couples can add all health and safety information to their wedding website on The Knot for easy communication with guests.
Health and Safety Measures Are Essential for Guest Comfort
Wedding guests are eager to celebrate with their loved ones, but they want to ensure health and safety remains a top priority. According to The Knot 2020 Wedding Guest Study, the majority of wedding guests prefer outdoor celebrations with less than 25 people in attendance (75%), though 50% of guests say they are comfortable with a guest count of approximately 75 people if the wedding is outdoors. Guests also prefer required masks (66%), assigned seating (50%) and plated dinners (64%). And while the majority of guests report wanting mask requirements (66%), 8 in 10 guests report they would be comfortable removing their mask at some point during the festivities, mostly for eating or drinking (49%). Those 40+ years old, however, are more likely to not want to take their mask off at all, compared to those aged 18-34. Additional health measures seen as essential by guests include masks required for staff (69%), hand sanitizer provided by the venue (67%) and socially distanced seating (64%).
Couples hear their guests’ concerns and are prioritizing health and safety with their vendor teams. Among those not changing their wedding date, nearly all (94%) couples are making safety changes and taking other precautions to adjust to pandemic conditions.2 Additionally, more than 6 in 10 couples are downsizing their guest lists to abide by local state, city and county guidelines.*2 Although guests and couples both want celebrations to be safe and celebratory, each party has differing thoughts on who should enforce health measures. Nearly half of guests believe venue staff (47%) and the couple or the couple’s family (44%) should be responsible for enforcing health protocols, while couples prefer that their guests self monitor and follow their desired health and safety rules (37%), or expect venue staff to be responsible for enforcing health protocols (31%). On the other hand, more than half of vendors believe venue staff should be responsible for ensuring health measures are enforced, while nearly a third of vendors believe the responsibility lies with the couple to adequately communicate with guests ahead of time to ensure everyone follows all necessary health protocols.3 At the end of the day, ensuring a wedding is safe for all in attendance is a group effort. Together, couples and wedding vendors are responsible for setting, communicating and enforcing all health protocols, while guests need to follow all health measures in place.
Gift-Giving More Important Than Ever Before
Guests recognize the difficulties that engaged couples have endured this year and empathize with the countless changes they’ve had to make to their original wedding plans, making gift giving more important than ever before. Even the majority of guests (75%) who are unable to attend the wedding festivities still plan on gifting the newlyweds. Plus, 7 in 10 guests say the global pandemic will not have an impact on how much they spend on a wedding gift, and nearly 1 in 10 (9%) guests who will no longer be attending a wedding in person plan to spend more on a wedding gift than originally planned. While more than half of guests (51%) attending a postponed wedding say they’ll send their gifts closer to the new wedding date, The Knot editors recommend gifting to-be-weds near their original wedding date to help the couple honor their original plans. The Knot Registry makes guest gifting easy, with all of the engaged couples’ registries—from retailer and charity registries to cash funds—all in one place. The most common gifts guests are purchasing from couples’ registries on The Knot in recent months include Crate & Barrel wine glasses, Pyrex glass measuring cup sets, pot holder trivets by Jennice House, Crate & Barrel Tour champagne glasses and AmazonBasics silicone nonstick baking mats.
Although weddings look very different this year due to the global pandemic, guests want to celebrate their loved ones’ weddings when the appropriate health and safety measures are enforced and local guidelines* are adhered to. Couples are equally prioritizing these health and safety precautions to help ensure safety at their celebrations. Although couples wish to celebrate with all their loved ones in person, they also respect that their guests may have varying levels of comfort around attending their upcoming wedding and make it a priority to include them in the celebrations from afar.
*Gathering Guide is a third party source. Individuals should check directly with local officials on all gathering restrictions.
Source1 — According to product data comprised of wedding dates selected by users on The Knot as of March 20, 2020
Source2 — The Global COVID-19 Weddings Report; conducted in September 2020 and fielded among users of the The Knot Worldwide family of brands: US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, India, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru and Chile with weddings originally planned September 2020 through January 2021.
Source3 — Recent survey conducted by The Knot Worldwide among wedding professionals, August 2020, N=4000
The Knot 2020 Wedding Guest Study was conducted in August-September 2020 among over 750 adults recruited from a third-party research firm (N=771). All respondents were adults aged 18-54 who had planned to attend at least one wedding in April through December 2020, from a variety of locations around the US.
About The Knot
The Knot is the nation’s leading multiplatform wedding resource offering a seamless, all-in-one planning experience—from finding inspiration and local vendors to creating and managing all guest experiences, wedding registries and more. The trusted brand reaches a majority of engaged couples in the US through the #1 wedding planning website TheKnot.com and #1 iOS and Android mobile app The Knot Wedding Planner, The Knot national and local wedding magazines, and The Knot book series. Since its inception, The Knot has inspired approximately 25 million couples to plan a wedding that’s uniquely them. Visit The Knot online at TheKnot.com and follow on social media: Facebook.com/TheKnot and @TheKnot on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
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