We must have used the term ‘new normal’ countless times since the start of the pandemic. And yet, we are still recovering from the repercussions of lockdowns, curfews and social distancing. Majorly impacted are industries that function on social gatherings to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and most importantly weddings. Whether it is limited guest lists or last minute cancellations, a cloud of uncertainty hovers over every weddings taking place these days. However, it is only human to find a solution for every situation, and the rise of hybrid weddings is a testament to that.
With a mix of in-person and virtual events, couples are embracing hybrid weddings as the go-to solution to celebrate their big day safely without compromising on the guest list and without creating a dent in their savings. Closest relatives of the couple are present on-site to join in the rituals and celebrations, while extended families and friends ‘zoom’ in virtually, getting to be a part of the celebrations remotely. The intimate factor of hybrid weddings is appealing to millennials who, according to several reports, are willing to continue the trend even after the pandemic subsides.
Local bride Shimoli Mehta has a delightful story to share. Her three day wedding bash in Goa was canceled at the very last minute due to increasing Omicron cases. Disheartened at first, she could not have asked for a better blessing in disguise. Sharing her beautiful experience, she stated,
“ ‘Sometimes you don’t get what you had planned for, but what you end up getting is so much more lovely’, said my father-in-law as we cherished our intimate wedding celebration with only 50 of our closest friends and family members.While we had to postpone our grand wedding celebrations due to COVID, what we had was an an all heart, stress free ceremony & I couldn’t have asked for anything more! That’s the thing about weddings, the joy of being married is so loud that all the peripheral noise fades in its glory! I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be able to have two wedding celebrations, a T20 (50 person event) and a Test match (three day Goa party) to marry the love of my life!”.
For those looking to have a more luxurious wedding, this has also proved to be a boon. Since the guest list no longer runs in thousands, couples who can splurge are turning towards destination weddings, booking 5-star properties and resorts. However, couples opting for hybrid setups need to ensure that virtual guests do not feel left out, and they’re entertained in some way or the other. Several have taken it up a notch by gathering guests in different hotel rooms, and providing them with food, drinks, goodies and gift hampers. Additionally, millennial couples are choosing to send interactive evites instead of traditional invitations. A report by WeddingWire suggests a 62 percent decline in paper invitations in the last two years.
Hybrid weddings can be equally challenging for wedding planners and organizers to execute smoothly, without any glitches on live stream. Additionally, they cannot compromise on providing high-quality video and audio to the guests. But compared to managing guests with miscellaneous requirements, this has taken a load off their shoulders, allowing them to focus more on the couple and their needs. Wedding venue owners, who were focussed to host as many guests as possible, are now looking towards setting up newer facilities like a stable and reliable wifi connection, a technical team, better quality equipment and LED screens. Even caterers are offering two-fold packages, to on-site guests and virtual ones – if they’re in nearby hotels or rooms. With weddings undergoing a paradigm shift mid-pandemic, celebrations beyond borders have boomed, and industry insiders suspect it is here to stay.