Wedding culture and trends have changed dramatically since the dawn of the 2019 pandemic. Weddings used to be massive social gatherings at a big venue in a city near your hometown, and attending guests ranged from high school friends to co-workers to distant cousins.
2020 was a year of change for weddings. Many couples were separated for lengthy amounts of time, many weddings were cancelled and rescheduled multiple times, and many new trends formed. The biggest trend to emerge from the pandemic wedding era was that of elopements or destination weddings.
The priorities of many couples shifted and many engaged couples chose to have small weddings with only nuclear family and close loved ones in attendance. Some couples also prefer to elope alone. Typically these small weddings would be in a rural or exotic location to create a fantastic lifetime memory for the engaged and soon-to-be-married couple.
One of the most popular locations for destination weddings or elopements is the Hawaiian islands. The stunning beauty and many beaches draw couples to travel there for their wedding from all other areas of the world. The north shore of Oahu in particular is a lovely place to have a private, small wedding beachfront ceremony. There are 51 beaches in 11 miles and the terrain varies from ocean front to tide pools to mountains and volcanoes.
This couple is on beach on Oahu that sits between a crater and a lava mountain. They spent most of their time near the tide pools watching the waves slap against the lava rocks.
Couples who are interested in eloping in Hawaii should find an officiant or photographer who is able to guide them through the most beautiful and least crowded parts of the island because tourism on the Islands is almost constant.
Some of the best times to get married in Hawaii are weekday sunrises because those are often the least busy times on the beaches, depending on the season. The best months of the year to get married on the Hawaiian islands are usually April-October unless the couple is hoping for a rainy elopement.
When celebrating on the beach after the wedding, be mindful to pick up all trash or personal items and to respect the native plants and animals by avoiding them. Hawai'i will only remain beautiful if each tourist and resident meticulously picks up after themselves.
Since the culture of weddings has shifted to focus on smaller weddings with only the most important people in attendance, and more weddings than ever are taking place in exotic locations, the general style trends of brides and grooms have also shifted to be more casual and comfortable so the couple can let loose and have greater mobility for swimming or hiking.
Wedding dresses have specifically changed in style. The most stylish wedding gowns used to be strapless satin fitted stresses. But for the adventurous bride in an exotic wedding location, lightweight dresses that blow in the wind are much preferred. Some brides pack their wedding dresses in backpacks and hike up mountains so they want lightweight dresses that are easy to get in and out of.
If a traditional wedding with seating charts, matching bridesmaids, tents, dance floors, caterers and tastings seems overwhelming and like a chore, I would suggest considering an elopement that includes only your closest loved ones in a gorgeous location. I specifically suggest the Hawaiian Islands because it's truly as gorgeous as everyone says.
Emily is a photographer originally based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who now equally divides her time between small destination weddings in exotic locations and large traditional weddings. During her off-seasons she tries to keep her tropical plants alive with moderate success and is always on a mission to develop gluten free recipes to share with friends.