Coronavirus Crisis Impacts Nearly Half of 2020 Marriage Proposals

Coronavirus Crisis Impacts Nearly Half of 2020 Marriage Proposals

More than 6 in 10 proposers changed the location or date
A virtual engagement

The coronavirus pandemic not only wreaked havoc on travel plans and celebrations in 2020, but it changed how lovestruck suitors proposed marriage and planned wedding festivities.

Nearly 1 in 2 (48%) people planning to propose in 2020 had to rethink their plans because of the pandemic, according to a new survey from wedding planning website The Knot.

While the COVID-19 crisis forced changes in how many engagements began, it didn't discourage couples from preparing to spend the rest of their lives together.

Pandemic restrictions prompt delays, dependence on tech

With the pandemic leading many to delay travel in 2020, it's little surprise that nearly 7 in 10 proposers (67%) had to change the location of their planned proposal. Likewise, 63% changed the date. Of those proposers whose dates were impacted, 6 in 10 delayed the proposal, and 71% of those who postponed did so because of restrictions due to the COVID-19 crisis.

More than half of respondents (56%) said the pandemic changed how they proposed. For example, 52% said they adjusted how family and friends were involved.

The pandemic ushered in a new dependence on online services and digital apps. That trend could be seen in the wedding business, too, as some turned to technology to make the proposal process flow easier. For example:

  • 13% chatted with jewelers online when shopping for an engagement ring
  • 10% held virtual engagement parties with loved ones post-proposal

Proposers more spontaneous in 2020 than year before

While the pandemic may have made the planning process more challenging, it may have inspired some couples to act faster.

Those who proposed in 2020 were more likely than those in the past to propose spontaneously, with 17% deciding that they would do so that day, compared with 13% in 2019.

Those who planned a more intricate proposal took less time to formulate plans in 2020 than those in the previous year. Half of those who proposed in 2020 spent less than four weeks in the planning stage. Meanwhile, in 2019, nearly half of those who proposed spent one to six months on the planning process.

Pandemic's effects likely to be felt until the wedding

Once the engagement became official in 2020, couples continued to expedite their plans. In fact, 2 in 3 couples (66%) started planning the wedding within a month of the engagement. In comparison, only 57% started making wedding plans that quickly in 2019.

Of the newly engaged respondents, 8 in 10 have already set a wedding date, with 73% planning to marry in 2021. Of the 20% who haven’t set a date, the majority (59%) said they’re holding off because of the continuing impact of the pandemic.

Methodology: The Knot surveyed 5,017 adults between the ages of 18 and 54 who got engaged between April and November 2020.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.