Vendors’ availability (and ability to do their jobs) will also have a significant impact on what weddings look like in the next few years. Olivia Hawthorne is a hair and makeup artist in Portland, Oregon, where reopening guidelines stipulate that hairstylists and makeup artists must drape each client with a clean cape and change into a clean smock themselves between clients. They’re also strongly encouraged to wear clean personal protective equipment for each new client. On the morning of a wedding, when a bride and her bridesmaids tend to get their hair and makeup done together, both time and money spent would add up quickly, Hawthorne said. “So doing a smaller wedding at this point would just be overall a lot more feasible [for me], especially with all of the extra time that we’re going to need for sanitation.”
And, of course, as Grossman and his fiancée recently discovered, economic hardship will force some small venues and vendors to close or dramatically reduce their services between now and next summer. Danielle Tamasi, a florist in West Des Moines, Iowa, told me that a majority of her 2020 wedding clients have postponed their ceremonies, and she’s already worried about whether she’ll be able to keep making the rent payments on her studio space as a result. Tamasi said that some vendors she knows are staying afloat by asking couples who have postponed their weddings to pay their full vendor fees ahead of time. Still, closures are inevitable, meaning some couples will have to essentially start over on their wedding planning. Some might just give up and elope—which might mean having a tiny low-key ceremony, getting married at a courthouse or by a virtual courthouse officiant, or holding a self-uniting wedding.