Down to Business: COVID’s lasting impacts on the wedding industry


I have a couple of new phrases in my Dictionary of COVID Times, minimony and sequel wedding.

The wedding planning/products website The Knot claims credit for them, saying it actually coined the latter a year before COVID to describe multiple ceremonies held for cultural or religious reasons.

But once the pandemic hit in 2020 and shut down so much of life, “sequel wedding” became apt for the big, second celebrations that couples wanted once everything reopened, after their original plans were scuttled or were replaced by a “minimony” – an exchange of vows virtually or with just a few in attendance.

We had both in my family, even though I didn’t know their names at the time.

Daughter No. 2 and Now-Hubby got engaged along the rail at Saratoga Race Course in 2017 but couldn’t get the venue and date they wanted until September 2020. Early in the pandemic (and our shared naivete), September seemed far enough off to be a safe bet – until it wasn’t.

So the wedding dress stayed in the closet and a simple ceremony with immediate family and a couple of friends (as officiant and photographer) was arranged on a beach north of Boston on the desired September date: the minimony.

The sequel, at the favored Bay State venue and with most of the original plans in place, occurred last summer. Rather than overseeing an exchange of rings, another friend/officiant ruminated on what makes marriages last. Afterward, everyone partied hearty at the reception.

That put Daughter No. 2 and Now-Hubby among the quarter of people married last year who had to postpone from 2020 because of COVID, according to a survey The Knot released earlier this year.

The site, which polled 15,000 couples married in 2021, suggested weddings were “trending back to normal,” and predicted 2022 would be a banner year – 2.6 million weddings versus the 2.2 million U.S. annual average pre-COVID. Other wedding-watchers offer similar big numbers.

Locally, Katie O’Malley Maloney, wedding planner and founder of Katie O’ Weddings & Events in Albany, echoes the back-to-normal sentiment for this year and 2023, but notes the small-business nature of the industry means recovery hasn’t been universal.

Her business, run with wedding planner partner Casey Benson, arranged 30 weddings and events in 2019, five in 2020 and 46 in 2021.

“2020 was one of the most difficult years for us in terms of time, energy and brain power,” she told me by email, describing long hours spent scheduling and rescheduling while supporting couples emotionally.

This year, the women made the conscious choice to limit bookings to 34, “so we could both spend more time with our couples but also our friends and family,” she said.

“After a season of 46 weddings and events – with only 52 weekends in a year! – we dug deep and decided what was most important to us as planners and people.”

Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist. Opinions expressed in her column are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. Reach her at [email protected].

Categories: Opinion

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