Wedding planning is all fun and games until something super unexpected, unpredictable, and uncertain happens. In today’s world, that super unexpected thing is COVID-19: the virus & pandemic that’s our new normal. While there are much bigger problems in the world to solve than how to plan your wedding during this, it’s still a sh*tty feeling to realize that the most special day of you & your S.O.’s life may look a little different than what you imagined.
Luckily for Jack and I, we have been planning our wedding for almost 18 months, so most of our vendors and plans have been locked in. Not so lucky for us, we still don’t know if we can fully have the big celebration that we had originally planned for this September. With this pandemic and the uncertainty that goes along with it, we don’t really know where CA will be in September and what social-distancing rules will apply. If there is one thing I’ve learned from this situation, it’s that you can have the most perfect plan in place, and it can all change the next day. Overall, you’ve got to be open to change and be willing to roll with the punches. Not having your ideal wedding is upsetting and can bring your spirits down, but the most important thing to remember is that big celebration or not, you still get to spend the rest of your life with the person you love.
Whether you just got engaged, have been planning for months or are postponing, below are some of the things I’ve learned throughout this entire process.
IF YOU’RE NEWLY ENGAGED & WANT TO START PLANNING:
Be Realistic. The truth is, we don’t know when this will all be over. A lot of 2020 couples had to postpone to 2021 which means 2021 is probably looking pretty crowded already. It’s important to be realistic while planning, and even consider a longer engagement than you originally planned. Doing so will save you the headache and heartache that many couples are facing now while they navigate canceling or postponing.
Ask ALL the questions when hiring vendors. By now, most vendors will have new rules & guidelines in place for situations like these. If you’re planning a wedding that may still be affected by COVID in the future, be sure to ask your vendors what their postponement policies are, what their sanitation process is like, etc.
Know that you can actually take your time during this pandemic. The excitement that you feel as a newly engaged couple is one of the best feelings! However, I can imagine that this pandemic puts a strain on the fun & excitement that goes along with wedding planning. I feel like most couples rush to get through wedding planning because they just want to be married already. This isn’t bad by any means, but Jack and I knew that life throws a lot of sh*t at you and we wanted to be able to take our time planning and actually enjoy it. I am sooo thankful we did, because pre-pandemic, life was still just as hectic and crazy! While things are slowly starting to open and most of us are on a WFH schedule, use this time to really do your research and have preliminary conversations with vendors before you rush to book them. There’s so much uncertainty already with this pandemic, don’t make your wedding plans one of them!
IF YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT POSTPONING:
Confide in your planner (if you have one). This is the first step that we did right when COVID started. We weren’t ready to postpone, but we did have a lot of questions and knew that this pandemic would ultimately affect a lot of things. Our planner quickly replied with what the expectations would be for having to reschedule and we immediately felt at ease. Talk to your planner about any rescheduling fees, additional charges and contract obligations. Get everything out in the open so you aren’t bombarded with any surprises later on.
Talk to your vendors. Like I said earlier, this pandemic has affected everyone in some sort of way. It’s important to know what your vendors are doing to adapt to the situation. Will caterers be wearing gloves & masks while serving food? Are buffet stations or tray passed hors d’oeuvres still allowed? Are venues allowing guests to self-park instead of requiring valet? Are your vendors still in business? These questions are tough to ask and these conversations are uncomfortable to have…but again, I truly believe getting everything out in the open and being on the same page from the start. If you are continuing to plan during this time and you aren’t sure what the COVID situation will be like during on your wedding date, it also may be a good idea to get a “back up” date on the books with your venue, vendors and planner. Let’s hope you don’t have to use it, but for some peace of mind, it always great to know you have a backup plan in place.
Know what you and your S.O. are willing to sacrifice. There are so many scenarios that can happen with COVID. There are things that are out of our control, like cities and states basically shutting down. Then there are things in our control, like limiting guest count and enforcing social distancing. What are you willing to sacrifice and what are you not willing to give up? If you knew you could keep your date and have half the amount of guests show up, would you? If you could keep everything the same, but everyone has to wear masks, is that a deal breaker? It’s important to thoroughly and thoughtfully know that you are willing to sacrifice and what you’re not. Your date might not be in jeopardy, but if things like a smaller guest count, increased social-distancing and strict sanitary guidelines are now required, then perhaps postponing to post-pandemic days are what’s best.
Understand the financials and actually LOOK at what’s in your contract. I was a little thrown off at how some vendors are raising prices for couples who have to reschedule to the following calendar year. Depending on the vendor, it completely makes sense if they are still delivering their services up until your wedding date. However, if every vendor did this, that easily can add a lot of extra expenses to your overall budget. I’m not the lawyer in the family BUT a lot of contracts have force majeure clauses for events like this where it essentially makes it impossible for your event to happen (i.e. your city won’t allow gatherings larger than 20 people). Again, I’m not a lawyer so don’t take my word for what’s in your contract, do the work and actually read your contract. While you may be able to get out of your current contract and *potentially* get your money back, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll have to pay higher prices for the new contract you create with a new date. Also, be sure to clarify what their policies are for future events and how they plan to handle COVID moving forward.
If you’re keeping your original wedding date, be understanding and sympathetic to guests who might not show up. This is by far the most important thing to remember! Don’t be selfish and get upset if people kindly decline attending your wedding during this pandemic. I’m in a couple of facebook groups that are about all-things-weddings, and I’m shocked at how nasty and selfish people are on there. While you may think you’re personally unaffected by this pandemic…it’s completely rude and selfish to hold it against someone else for doing so. We’ve all got something we’re going through and none of our reasons to decline are really anyone else’s business. We shouldn’t be responsible for putting other people at risk either or guilting them into doing so. Don’t be that bride or couple who hosts a wedding but shames people for not attending when it’s not entirely safe to do so.
You can still get married during COVID and still have your big celebration at a later date. COVID is something that is so much bigger than us and unfortunately isn’t going away any time soon. At the end of the day, being able to safely celebrate with your loved ones and having your health is so much more important than a celebration that is completely different than what you originally planned (in my opinion). If you postponed the big party but still want to tie-the-knot during COVID…you absolutely can! COVID can cancel a lot of things…but why should love be one of them? Small & intimate ceremonies are definitely a thing right now, and no one will think it’s weird that you did that during a global pandemic. The party will always be there, and remember that what matters most is that you get to say “I do” to the person you love!
Are you a bride, groom, or someone who is involved with planning a wedding right now? How are you dealing with COVID and this pandemic? What are some ways you are getting through it? Drop a comment below!