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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wedding postponements during the coronavirus pandemic are dropping like petals from flowers past their prime. 

Why it matters: Weddings are a $74 billion industry, employing florists, reception venues and catering halls, photographers and videographers, clothing stores and more. But waves of cancellations are crashing over vendors, and currently engaged couples are apprehensive about scheduling future nuptials.

  • Per the New York Times, most weddings in spring were canceled or scaled down to small ceremonies. 
  • Wedding planners say they expect ceremonies in late summer and early fall — the wedding industry's busiest season — to be canceled as well. 

Wedding vendors and couples have widely used video conferencing to salvage the experience and their businesses.

  • Zoom marriage ceremonies have gained popularity, and some lawmakers are adjusting statutes to allow for them.
  • Governors in New York and California have issued executive orders to allow weddings to be licensed and officiated remotely during the pandemic.
  • Colorado's governor has also expanded access to marriage licenses by allowing mail-in applications.

Vendors are adapting their services to accommodate social distancing orders.

  • David's Bridal in April launched a "virtual stylist and virtual appointment experience," to accommodate remote shopping.
  • Smaller vendors are offering add-ons and adjusting dates to retain reservations.

Between the lines: The lull could significantly amplify an already shifting decline in weddings — both in frequency and size. 

  • Millennials prefer smaller, more intimate weddings to large gatherings, shrinking the demand for services. 
  • Debt-ridden millennials last year were taking out loans to cover wedding expenses.  

Marriage as an institution is in decline, with more couples opting to skip the formal union.

  • The rate of marriages in the U.S. sank to a record low in 2018 amid declining religious observances and growing acceptance of unmarried households.

Go deeper

UN poll: Most see climate change as global emergency during pandemic

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C) fronts a Fridays For Future protest at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm in September. Photo: Jonathan Nacksrtrand/AFP via Getty Images

64% of people from around the world say climate change is a global emergency, a United Nations poll published Wednesday finds.

Why it matters: It's the biggest global survey on climate change ever conducted, with some 1.2 million participants from 50 countries — including the U.S., where 65% of those surveyed view climate change as an emergency.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.