For better or worse, weddings have been transformed by the pandemic

When COVID hit South Florida, the wedding industry was massacred, said Melanie DeVito, the marketing director of the venue the Addison of Boca Raton

“I don’t think it was a pleasant or positive experience for anybody,” DeVito added. 

According to market research company IBISWorld, marriage celebrations are a $74 billion industry that includes everything from flowers to photography. A senior editor from a marriage-related website called the Knot, Esther Lee, said a 2019 Florida wedding averaged about $30,600. In 2021, the price has decreased by approximately $11,600.

An event coordinator for Cinco Farms Miami, Carol Falco, said the venue saw a 70% decrease in bookings in 2020. 

Wedding guests wearing face shields during reception. (Photo Courtesy by Dani Parada Photography)

“2020 was a really bad year for our business,” added Falco. “Not only did we had fewer bookings, but those made a year in advance for 2020 had to get canceled or postponed.”

To inspire couples and help their businesses, wedding vendors became more adaptable and promoted safety. 

“A lot of businesses had to adapt in very drastic ways to kind of get through this pandemic and how it affected the society,” said DeVito.

Falco said that outdoor venues are very popular now, and that the venue is anticipating an increase in bookings.

A makeup artist from Sephora and owner of Nikki B. Beauty, Nicole Bobbing, said that she added COVID safety measures to her policies to ensure client safety.

Hand sanitizer bottles for wedding guests as wedding favors. (Photo Courtesy by Dani Parada Photography)

She said that before the pandemic started, her business was steady, but in March 2020 all operations were shut down. That allowed her to reflect.

“Since opening back up from quarantine, I’ve been able to maintain a steady clientele,” said Bobbing. “Things are slowly but surely going back to normal.”

Like Bobbing, other wedding vendors took the opportunity through quarantine to reconsider their business.

A wedding photographer, Daniela Parada, averages 21 bookings a month. Before the pandemic, Parada would shoot 15 events. Additionally, since March 2020, she has added three members to her team. Her growth comes from understanding the new way wedding businesses and couples operate. 

Face masks for wedding guests as wedding favors. (Photo Courtesy by Dani Parada Photography)

“Weddings definitely took a shift,” said Parada. “I feel like everybody is now appreciating the little things in life and are prioritizing themselves rather than large groups of people or large parties which is amazing,”

Based on her clientele, Parada said couples are choosing micro weddings or elopements instead of larger celebrations. She now offers special photography packages for intimate gatherings, which is her most popular booking. 

Couple wearing face masks while walking through their cocktail hour. (Photo Courtesy by Dani Parada Photography)

“Elopements are trending right now and I feel like they are going to continue to trend,” said Parada. “A lot of people just know that they can put their money in other places or even have secure money. Who would have thought that a pandemic would have happened.”

Sofia Benitez is a senior majoring in journalism with a Bilingual Broadcast Journalism certification. After her studies, she wishes to pursue a career within the Hispanic news community and social media.