This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
For most people, planning a wedding should be an exciting time in anticipation of a big important day. During a global pandemic like COVID-19, however, that has all completely changed, and many things for couples are not going as planned. The process of planning a wedding has come to an almost total halt.
Most wedding vendors and venues are taking a hard hit when things like social distancing, no large groups, and the need to wear masks keep from bringing people together in the joyous celebration of marriage.
Not all is lost though, so don’t get too discouraged; there are other options out there to assist in planning your wedding during trying times. There are many other ways that can be considered as great alternatives to keep your wedding on track.
It may require some true soul-searching, communication, and a lot of adjusting to decide and plan what is best for you and your soon-to-be spouse. You will need to consider what things you may be willing to overlook that aren’t as important, and others that you have to keep. Here are some great tips about how to go about planning a wedding when a pandemic hits.
Communication is Key
Before taking on any other matters, know that communication is going to be of the utmost importance. Whatever changes amidst your plans, you have to be able to inform all of your possible guests, both friends and family, of anything that is going on. Staying in touch ensures that you will have the support you need. This also includes keeping in close contact with your wedding vendors and planners, as well as your guests.
You’re also navigating in unchartered waters, and this can be extremely stressful. As if wedding planning isn’t stressful enough! So be sure to lean on your support system as much as you can throughout creating all of your changes. You can even reach out to other couples who are going through the same issues since many of them are right now, and brainstorm with one other for new ideas or see what they have done or are doing to keep their weddings on track.
Postponement and Guest List Changes
While most people who don’t want to have to postpone their wedding, there are others that will do so, hoping that certain guidelines and restrictions will be lifted by the time their wedding comes around. It can certainly feel less stressful to not have to change your plans, but just push the date out – however, the uncertainty of when things will be uplifted so that get-togethers will be acceptable again might make picking a new date very tricky.
There are plenty of couples out there who have taken this whole stride, without feeling the need to postpone or cancel their weddings. If you can still make everything work without having to postpone or cancel, then that’s great!
However, if you’re just looking to cut down your guest list and still keep your current wedding date, here are a couple of suggestions to help you do so:
SIT DOWN AND CREATE A NEW GUEST LIST
We know that no one really wants to have to cut down their guests, but if there are any corners you can cut here to allow for fewer people overall, this is the time to do it. People will be understanding and receptive during this time of need not to attend a wedding but still will send their best wishes.
BREAK IT DOWN
Once you have a “new” guest list, take some time to break it down even further. Separate your guests into categories such as immediate family, college friends, best friends, coworkers, etc. Think about people that you will see every day and those you truly don’t get to see often that are important to you or your fiance. From there you can prioritize, keeping the wedding small and letting others know that you will find ways to celebrate with them separately.
If you’re more likely to postpone because you feel that you need more people there than guidelines will allow, there are other options here too, such as changing your venue or going virtual.
Outside Weddings and Venues
Having your wedding outside is going to be a great option in the wake of a pandemic. You’ll have plenty of space to distance everyone if you’re outside, and you can even plan to have both your wedding ceremony and reception in an outside location so that people don’t have to move around and have everything in one place.
The only downside here is that you never know how the weather is going to be on any given day, so be prepared as much as possible. When you plan a wedding outside, have things for your guests like umbrellas or even canopies if you can, just in case of rain or wind. Even hot days you can offer you guests things like sunblock, hats, or sunglasses to give it a fun little twist.
This option to move outside has “been one of the best choices for many couples who didn’t want to postpone,” according to respected wedding planner, Evelyn Francesca in San Diego, who also says that “even though these couples have had to decrease the size of the guest lists, they were still able to keep their wedding dates and work with their planners to move to an outside location that was more accommodating.” This is a great alternative to keeping your original date. Many vendors will work with you and do what they can to ensure you can still have the wedding of your dreams, even though it may not be quite how you pictured it.
Technology is a wonderful thing, and many other couples have pivoted to do virtual weddings in favor of keeping their date (and maybe saving a little more money). Many planners have also recently created virtual wedding packages. You might have narrowed it down to only a small, in-person guest attendance, but have many of your other guests watching over a Livestream, maybe even doing a “drive-by” before or after the ceremony to wish you luck.
Virtual weddings are another cost-saving avenue that you can take, and maybe in doing so you can plan a more ultimate honeymoon for you and your new spouse. Try to think positively, look for silver linings where you can, and work with your wedding planner if you have one.
Not everyone wants to have to go to “Plan B” for their wedding, but in some cases, it can still turn out into a pretty perfect wedding day. The important thing that you should remember besides communicating with each other on your next steps is to find out what matters the most to you while planning your wedding, and just ditch the other stuff that isn’t.
Maybe if you’re a newly engaged couple you are just willing to wait for this whole thing to play out until you can do it the way you want. Maybe you were further along in your planning and you need to make some adjustments to your guest list, or look into an outside location, or even plan a virtual wedding. Your wedding can be whatever you want it to be, so don’t sell yourself short just because of a hiccup. Keep on the bright side and get help where you can, and your wedding will still go off without a hitch!
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