By now, we all know COVID-19 just like, majorly sucks. And while everyone was all “2020 is the worst,” things aren’t going to magically improve as soon as the new year hits. Distributing a safe vaccine will take a while, and experts agree: Unfortunately, 2021 weddings aren’t going to look like the weddings of the past. In fact, according to lead wedding pros, it’s time to reframe your mindset.
“Change is never easy, especially when it comes to altering one’s visions for a big milestone like a wedding. The idea of ‘normal’ weddings pre-COVID is unfortunately not what we will be seeing at weddings in the near future, but that doesn’t mean that they will be any less special—they’ll just be different,” Editor in Chief of The Knot, Kristen Maxwell Cooper, tells Betches.
While that’s just about the worst news ever, there is a glimmer of hope: The projected 2021 wedding trends are actually things past brides will be jealous of. Here’s how the top wedding experts suggest making your 2021 wedding the talk of group texts, but not in a “does she not realize there’s a pandemic” kind of way.
1. Welcome Boxes & Send-Off Kits
Image: Liz Banfield, Lovestruck Events
It looks like welcome bags are a thing of the past, especially now that there are more essentials needed for guests attending weddings. “We anticipate seeing couples lean into fun and functional items that guests can use throughout the evening, like customized, beautiful face masks and personalized hand sanitizer that tie into the couple’s overall aesthetic and theme for the evening,” Jeffra Trumpower, senior creative director at WeddingWire, tells Betches. “With health and safety being top of mind, we also suggest couples take the presentation of favors into consideration and package them individually for each guest rather than have them in a communal basket.”
In addition to health essentials, adding personal touches to the boxes is a great way to make guests feel included. Think things like symbolic snacks, small games, and (of course), alcohol. Have the boxes waiting for guests in their hotel rooms or at their reception seats as a reward for not bailing on your wedding. Shade intended.
2. Tented Spaces
Images: SMS Photography; Trenholm Photo
Couples have to face the reality that indoor venues miiiiiight not be the best move for the foreseeable future, so one of the most romantic and adaptable solutions is utilizing tents. Open-air but still covered, experts agree tented ceremonies and receptions will basically become the new must-have. “Couples are leaning into nature and fresh air in ways they did not in the past,” planner and designer Jove Meyer told The Knot. “In 2021 and moving forward, outdoor weddings will be on-trend as they’re also safer for guests and vendors. Tented weddings are the new ballroom.” Extra bonus: With lighting, drapery, twinkly lights, and maybe even some fog if you’re feeling that dramatic vibe, tented events are easily some of the most stunning to attend, and that was a fact even prior to COVID.
3. Elevated Virtual Components
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The fact that the term “virtual wedding” is a thing is something no one would have predicted a few years ago, but in the time of coronavirus, virtual components are pretty much the bread and butter of modern weddings. Pre-pandemic, couples were leaning more into tech-based elements such as online invitations and RSVPs, as well as decked-out websites and purchased domain names. Now, things are even more extreme. As for how to make your Zoom wedding a little more celebratory and a little less like another meeting people have to attend, both pros suggest leaning on your vendors to come up with ideas. A few of their faves, however, are to send guests a cocktail recipe or mixing kit for celebratory toasts everyone can do together or a dessert they can munch on throughout the celebration. Additionally, consider adding some ways to allow virtual guests to interact with each other, like an online cocktail hour.
“Add a virtual waiting room or lounge for guests to mingle prior to the start of the festivities or ask guests to stay on at the end to share well wishes for you to listen to after the celebrations,” suggests Maxwell Cooper. “With a video conferencing platform, couples can also task some guests to participate in readings during the ceremony or to offer toasts at the start of the reception.” No, it’s probably not what you dreamed about when you were little, but it’s an easy way to make those who can’t attend feel included (and will guarantee you more gifts).
4. Tiny Toasts
With smaller guest lists filled with your ultimate VIPs, there’s more time and capability to allow for more wedding day toasts. While speeches are usually just reserved for the maid of honor to cry and the best man to make some awkward comments about the groom’s dating history, the wedding pros at The Knot predict that “tiny toasts” will be a thing. Which is basically just more people talking. If you plan to implement this at your event, consider getting toast requests ahead of time and/or capping them at a time limit you feel comfortable with to avoid potential droners who just wanted an excuse to hold a mic.
5. Single-Tier & Mini Cakes
Images: Erin Hannum; Jenny Fu
Since the idea of everyone crowding around a cake, breathing their gross germs all over it while the couple awkwardly feels forced to shove bite-sized pieces into each others’ mouths was kinda gross even before corona times, experts expect this tradition to change slightly in 2021. While the faux cake fight might still be a thing, serving guests from one giant pastry probably won’t be. Instead, expect to see mini cakes which will be served to guests just as cake slices would be, brought directly out from the kitchen. These cakes can range from ornate with multiple tiers or more minimalist and single-tiered depending on the budget. Either way, one thing’s clear: Mini cakes are not only hella cute, but it looks like they’re the new trend that’s here to stay.
6. Bold Decor
Image: Irina Ventresca Photography
With fewer guests in attendance, the pros are expecting couples to go even bigger by way of details and utilizing things like exaggerated floral arrangements, lighting displays, and even in the outfits themselves. “Big, bold decor and fashion choices will be front and center for couples and their guests in 2021 weddings,” explains Trumpower. After scratching off 3/4 of your guest list, there’s a good chance you’ll have room in your budget for something absurd you would have had to pass on before, like a custom neon sign, ice sculpture, or horse-drawn carriage. While it might not be the best use of the money you saved on having a smaller wedding, the fact that the photos will make everyone jealous is totally worth it.
7. Mismatched Seating & Living Room Vibes
Image: Koby Brown
Considering more and more couples will be scaling back their events, having a wedding at their/their parents’ homes is not only less stressful, but it perfectly leans into new trends. Mismatched seating and ~living room style~ aesthetics are becoming all the rage for 2021 weddings, so things like couches, lounge furniture, pillows, and throw blankets are expected to be mainstays for future celebrations. This style not only looks bomb in photos but makes the event feel even more intimate and romantic. Plus, if you picture a boho wedding (real talk: who isn’t picturing a boho wedding in 2021?), there’s a good chance you already had this look saved in some random Pinterest board, so win-win.
8. Unique Venues & Activities
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With smaller guest counts, couples are now able to get more creative with not only the venues they choose, but also the course of the event. Expect more weekend-style retreat weddings, where the ceremony takes place outside a large cabin and the celebration includes things like a welcome event, pre-wedding s’mores around a fire, and maybe even a day-after group hike. If that sounds like your own personal hell, the options are pretty much limitless since microweddings are much more adaptable. “Couples are having, in particular, ceremonies at unique places that traditionally could not host a larger crowd or event. Take advantage of the smaller guest list and consider scenic and beautiful locations that were out of the question for 100 guests, but are now perfect for your party of 10.” Which means a mini castle tucked away in an isolated town is now totally fair game.
9. Cocktail Hour for One
Passed apps, buffet-style dining, and station meals are less likely to be seen due to safety advisories, and in their place, plated meals and seated cocktail bites are expected to become the norm. While part of me doesn’t like the idea because there’s no way my individual charcuterie board will have enough cheese for my liking, at least people won’t be silently judging you as you head to the hummus table for the fourth time. Plus, just like mini cakes, mini cocktail bites will most likely be super cute and perfectly plated for a photo op.
In addition to limiting the trips to a buffet, eliminating milling around at the bar is another important factor for a Covid wedding. In place of lines at bars, couples will likely opt for things like “grab and go” stations where cans of wine, beer, and White Claw will be waiting, or have servers bring drinks to the tables much like a restaurant (just hopefully without the bill at the end).
10. Restaurant Vibes & Performances
Image: Eve Rox Photography
Another win for changes made during Covid weddings, the days of having a set number of people at a table and pairing together random folks to fill seats is officially over (praise be). Experts agree weddings are going to start looking less like a sloppy nightclub with a strange mix of attendees to more of a performance event—which will b e a good thing if grandparents are no longer subjected to the vocal stylings of Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz in their rendition of “Get Low.” Pairing friends, couples, and people who live together in bistro-style seating and hiring alternative entertainment like comedians, singers, or dancers instead of having a packed and not-so-safe dancefloor is going to be much more popular.
11. Nostalgic Elements
Image: Dezirae Webster of Dez’s Golden Moments
With more and more weddings taking place in family homes and peoples’ backyards, it makes sense couples would ditch the stuffy elements and lean into their own personal histories (which is much better, IMO). From showcasing memorabilia or pictures from their childhoods to ditching tiered cakes in favor of childhood treats, there are a lot of ways you can make nostalgia work for your wedding. “A fun spin we’ve seen couples put on dessert is to give a nod to nostalgic treats, like mini elevated homemade Pop-Tarts in a seasonal flavor or a fun—again, elevated—spin on personal Dunkaroos,” notes Trumpower. Nostalgic elements are only going to gain popularity, so now’s the time to burn your most embarrassing baby photos before your wedding planner gets his or her hands on them.
12. Bright Colors & Fierce Florals
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The days of seeing wedding party after wedding party in pale pinks and neutrals are coming to an end, and in its place, bold colors are going to be front and center for upcoming nuptials. “We’re seeing a general 1960s and 1970s nod to mod aesthetics from event decor all the way to attire. Couples are moving away from neutral color palettes, and we’re loving the ‘60s-inspired hues like chartreuse and peach and ‘90s rainbow-inspired color schemes,” explains Trumpower. In addition to colorful events, both pros agree florals are going to become even bigger for weddings (if that’s possible?), as their colors, scents, and overall “wow” factor will help fill out spaces and make any venue feel extra special.
13. Weekday & Brunch Weddings
With lots of 2020 couples choosing to reschedule their weddings to 2021, there’s 1000% going to be an uptick in weekday and Sunday weddings. While you might initially think “f*ck that,” there are some pros to opting for a weekday as opposed to a weekend. First of all, it’s way cheaper to have an event on a Monday than it is to have it on a Saturday. Secondly, while your A-list peeps will probably take off work to attend regardless, the B-list people probably RSVP “no,” which is what you hoped would happen in the first place.
As for how to pull off a non-weekend wedding, a mid-week dinner party-esque celebration or a Sunday brunch reception are a few of Trumpower’s favorite ways to do a wedding on less traditional days. While it might seem like a hassle, with a little extra planning (something 2020 couples are more than used to, unfortunately), the events will be just as great as weekend ones. “Those who are planning a weekday wedding shouldn’t be afraid to play around with the format of their events as the typical format (rehearsal dinner followed by the ceremony and reception the next day) may not work during the week,” notes Maxwell Cooper. “We recommend couples work with their wedding planner or venue coordinator to figure out the format that works best for them. The same goes with timing; if guests attending the weekday wedding will have work the next day or will have to travel long distances following the celebrations, having the festivities carry on late into the evening may cause some to head out early. By scheduling the celebrations a few hours earlier, they may be able to avoid this.”
At the end of the day, couples will need to be flexible when planning their 2021 weddings. Both pros suggest couples grieve their original plans but try not to be resistant to the way weddings look nowadays—the changes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. But as Maxwell Cooper says: “These new visions, complete with hyper-personalized details, wow-worthy decor, unique entertainment, AND health protocols will keep loved ones safe and will generate excitement.”
While these changes might not be what you initially envisioned, it’s the whole “getting married” thing that matters. And besides, this just means everyone’s gonna have some majorly lit baby showers down the road which is something I, personally, could not be more excited about.
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Images: Victoria Priessnitz / Unsplash; Liz Banfield, Lovestruck Events; MS Photography; Trenholm Photo; Erin Hannum; Jenny Fu; Irina Ventresca Photography; Koby Brown; Eve Rox Photography; Dezirae Webster of Dez’s Golden Moments; Giphy (3)
Once upon a time, getting ready for a wedding (whether or not it was your own) meant endless salon trips and overpriced beauty treatments. As COVID-19 changed literally everything to do with modern celebrations, it makes sense that the global pandemic would royally f*ck up a bride’s beauty plan. While some salons have reopened, that doesn’t mean all brides have the option to go about the traditional pre-wedding glamming ritual. Whether your finances are all out of whack thanks to lost wages or you’re in a position (whether physically or morally) where you don’t want to risk spreading the virus, you’re probably wondering how tf you can still feel like a plucked, pruned, and polished bride the day of.
As someone who hated leaving her home even before the pandemic hit, I’m here to tell you that it’s totally possible to indulge in some hardcore beauty prep before the big day without ever setting foot outside your door. From teeth whitening to manicures, self-tanners to Botox, you can make all of them happen from home (yes, even the Botox). While it might not seem as glamorous as the prep plan you had back when the world wasn’t a dumpster fire, just think: If you film the process as you get ready, that’s content for TikTok.
Myth: You have to be an influencer-level #girlboss to utilize teeth whitening kits. While they are the bread and butter of sellouts on Instagram, a teeth whitening kit is an easy way to up your look without doing things like exercising or leaving your house. Some kits take a few days while others take 30, so time it out to ensure your best results line up with the big day. A kit like Colgate’s version of those IG LED light whiteners is a great option since it only takes 10 days, you only have to use it for 10 minutes a day, and it doesn’t cause sensitivity like a lot of other products/strips do.
Colgate Optic White At-Home Teeth Whitening Kit
If you’d rather go the most classic route, these Crest Whitestrips have over 15K reviews on Amazon (with a majority of them being positive). Just make sure to use toothpaste for sensitivity during treatment to avoid discomfort if you’re not down for the whole “beauty is pain” thing.
Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips
If you feel the need to ditch the razor to eliminate any cuts or bumps on the big day (still, as someone who shaved hunched over in the shower, painfully hungover the morning or her wedding, it’s really nbd), waxing a few days before your wedding will ensure you’re stubble-free for your wedding night. For smaller areas (like the lip, fingers, toes, and even brows), simple wax strips will get the job done. Opt for something created for sensitive skin like these strips which are dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and cheaper than bottomless brunch.
TOPNaturePlus Hair Removal Wax Strips
If you’re looking to do larger areas like your legs, arms, or your (peace be with you) bikini area, depilatory wax (aka what the salon uses) is the answer. To make things simpler, a hard wax kit that doesn’t involve strips streamlines the process. This kit from Amazon is $35 and works like a charm. Just know that it will take much longer than however long you would spend shaving in the shower, so block out a good chunk of your day if you plan to go from “Corona au naturel” to hairless from the ears down.
Bella Verde Waxing Kit – Home Wax Warmer
Having a ~glow~ is something most brides crave to make the white of their gowns pop. While spray tanning might give you flashbacks to the scene in Bride Wars when Anne Hathaway turns orange, not all of the options out there yield secondary color results. St. Tropez is one of those brands everyone seems to universally love, and for good reason. The products are high-end yet affordable and they don’t turn your skin orange. Snatch up the wildly popular bronzing water mousse which will give you more of a medium glowy tan that’s shockingly easy to apply.
St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse
While the bronzing water is ideal for anyone wanting a medium tan, there are other options depending on what level of baked you’re looking for. If you want a dark tan, opt for the bronzing mousse, or if you just want an “I hung out at the pool and responsibly applied sunscreen” sun-kissed look, the gradual tinted body lotion will get the job done. Whichever you choose, make sure to use an applicator mitt to avoid telltale streaks and give you even coverage.
St. Tropez Applicator Mitt
Manis & Pedis
Even the most laid-back bride usually opts for a mani and pedi on her wedding day. With plenty of ring shots, having at least polished nails is a simple way to feel put-together on your big day. If you want something quick and simple, swipe a polish on your nails the night before or morning of the big day after a quick shaping sesh with a file. Sally Hansen Insta-dri is great if you want a rich color and are notorious for smudging your mani. While it doesn’t actually dry instantly, it does dry faster than anything else out there (just keep your coats thin). Just make sure to use a top coat, obvi.
Insta-Dri Sally Hansen Finger Nail Polish
If you want a thicker, more salon-quality mani (and have the time/patience to do something more than a few swipes of traditional polish), consider getting a powder dip kit. While it will def help to watch a few YouTube videos before you accidentally spill blush-colored powder all over your bathroom, the results are just as good as a $50 mani after a bit of practice.
Acrylic Dip Powder Nail Color Kit
oVertone Golden Brown Healthy Color Duo
While home hair coloring is a gamble, there’s a way to get rich hues without going to a salon or drying your hair out with box dyes. oVertone offers a variety of shades from traditional colors like brown, black, and ginger to vibrant ones like pink and blue. The semi-permanent dyes are great if you want to add some warmth or depth without the commitment or damage of a permanent dye. Try out a few options in the months leading up to your big day to figure out what feels right. If you’re looking for just a subtle change, the color conditioners add some richness without a full-blown color change.
Deep Hair Conditioning
Deep conditioning to hydrate your ends and eliminate frizz is Beauty Prep 101. While most people have their tried-and-true deep conditioner selections, now’s the time to up your game because uh, even if there’s a global pandemic, it’s still your wedding, dammit. And by God, you deserve to feel pampered AF. First, grab a deep conditioner or hair mask to soak into your follicles and soften all of your “I can’t f*cking believe I had to postpone my wedding twice” damage.
It’s a 10 Haircare Miracle Hair Mask
From the end-all-be-all line that makes your hair looks like you haven’t been swimming in split ends for months, It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask is under $30 yet still more high-end than the old bottle of Suave in the corner of the shower. After rinsing, spray some It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In product on your damp hair and get yourself married with silky, “she didn’t just live through a pandemic, did she?”-worthy locks. Oh, and in a few days when your hair feels brittle and dull after drinking champagne and eating cake for an entire weekend, repeat the process and thank me later.
Whether or not you plan to rock a wedding day tan, having smooth, sleek, hydrated skin will not only photograph better, but it will also give you a glow no matter your skin tone. In the days leading up to your wedding, lather on some hardcore moisturizer to glisten the day-of. CeraVe’s famous Moisturizing Cream is dermatologist-approved, gentle on skin conditions and your wallet, and wins tons of awards year after year.
SOL DE JANEIRO Brazilian Bum Bum Cream
If you want something a little less “everyday” and a little more special, Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream combines a blend of cupuaçu butter, antioxidant-rich açaí, and coconut oil which wakens dry, dull skin. Oh, and it smells like a tropical vacation, which will 100% up the exotic vibes day-of, even if you’re getting married in your backyard.
Whether you have baby-thin hair that tangles in the slightest breeze, decided to give yourself a DIY cut during quarantine and lost more inches than you care to admit, or you just dream of rocking mermaid locks for your wedding photos, extensions are the key to getting those hair-envy wedding looks. If you’re forgoing a professional stylist and plan to do your own hair, however, selecting extensions that are easy to utilize by yourself is key. If you plan on wearing your hair down, Hidden Crown extensions are by far the simplest solution out there (and great for half-up half-down styles). Instead of clips or tape (which are tricky to perfect on your own, no matter how many YouTube vids your watch), Hidden Crowns are full crowns of hair that are secured with a piece of wire kind of like a headband. This means the chances of you throwing it across the room in frustration are greatly reduced.
Hidden Crown extensions
If you’re looking for something even simpler and plan to wear your hair in either an elegant pony, some sort of bun or updo, or get all boho with some braids, the Insert Name Here ponies are quite literally the simplest hair accessory I’ve ever used. You put your natural hair in a bun or ponytail, and then you just wrap the velcro of the pony extension around your elastic. It takes five minutes and gives enviable results. Add some Baby’s Breath or clips for an additional elegant pop.
No, I am not advising some back-alley at-home Botox injectables. If you’re looking for neck wrinkles and crows feet solutions for your bridal portraits and don’t feel like that’s a valid reason to leave your home and go to the doc for a non-essential visit (RESPECT), you can still have that “I’ve never squinted at my computer screen for 12 hours straight” wrinkle-free look. Firming creams and serums are literally everywhere, so don’t be afraid to test out products to see what works (bc wtf else are you going to do right now?). If you want a famous celeb-endorsed option, The Athena 7 Minute Lift cream is one of those products you’ll probably try once and then buy for the rest of your life. It’s all-natural, plant-based, and smooths out lines on the face, neck, and décolleté. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s cheaper and less invasive than actual injectables, so it could be a solution for your wrinkles even after the world opens back up for good.
The Athena 7 Minute Lift
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you prep for your wedding. 2020 is a whole new era of nuptials, so when it comes to prepping, do what makes you feel best. Whether that’s an entire home pampering day or just rolling out of bed and saying your “I dos” in your pajamas, as long as it’s with the person you love (and as long as you throw a kick-ass party when Corona is over), you’ll still make plenty of people jealous. And at the end of the day, isn’t that the point of weddings in the first place?
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Images: Elena Taranenko on Unsplash; Giphy; Amazon; Sephora; Ulta; oVertone; Alex Gaboury / YouTube; Hidden Crown Hair; 7 Minute Lift
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When it comes to weddings, we’ve come a HELL of a long way since March and April. Less than six months ago, we were crossing out every special occasion in our planners for the foreseeable future, hunkering down at home, and limiting the extent of our socialization to comments in passing with our roommates, but the wedding world has come alive as of late. Thanks to slightly loosening state restrictions and the rise of scaled-back celebrations like elopements, microweddings, and minimonies, couples are getting their “I Dos” done and happily moving on with their lives. At present, love is not canceled, but that can all change if soon-to-be-weds start going rogue and cases start spiking.
Earlier this month AP unmasked a disturbing reality about COVID weddings, writing, “No-mask weddings, no social distancing and dance floors prohibited in many states have been the talk of online groups for vendors around the country.” And when we consider that these vendors are pretty much living on Purell and a prayer as they return to the soirees that used to fill their calendars and pay their bills, it hits as especially inconsiderate. We get it, couples want their weddings to be as close to their pre-pandemic dreams as possible, but the fact of the matter is the risk of a wedding-related outbreak should necessitate some simple precautions like mask-wearing, maintaining six feet distance, ditching the dance floor, etc. While we get that you probably never pictured getting married surrounded by a sea of masked faces when you were seven years old planning your wedding, you probably didn’t plan for a global pandemic either.
In an effort to curb all the potential bride Karening before it becomes a thing, we chatted with a number of wedding professionals (including a photographer who was a corona bride herself) on the subject of mask-wearing and common sense safety during these (say it with us) unprecedented times. It’s the year 2020, folks, and the official wedding mood involves a mask, so here’s how you can embrace the novelty of these nuptials and have a great day.
Set Up Expectations
Whether you’re eloping, having a microwedding, or exchanging vows with a minimony, the best way to make everyone comfortable is to be transparent about expectations. This can be done easily through a “what to expect” insert included in your invitations. Betches co-founder and coronabride Sami sent something to her own wedding guests to give them a heads up on the ground rules for her upcoming wedding, including the steps she and her fiancé would be taking to keep everyone healthy and happy.
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ok so the #1 question we’ve gotten from microwedding brides lately is “how do I invite my guests while letting them know we need to be extra safe?” (2020 is so weird). so we’re giving you a sneak peek at what @sami’s including in her microwedding invitations. DM us with your invites, custom masks, or any other social-distance-safe wedding touches and we’ll share on our story!
In addition to being transparent with your guests, you should be open and honest with your vendors, too, about what you’re envisioning for your wedding photos, overall experience, and flow of the day. Nicole DeTone, the face of Nicole DeTone Photography, says that now, more than ever, it’s critical to discuss expectations before the wedding day. She and her second shooter will always wear masks and remain six feet away, but if her couple wants to omit face coverings for their (keyword: their) portrait sessions of the day, she’s okay with it—there just needs to be a plan in place to ensure safety for everyone.
“If my couples prefer no masks for group photos, I recommend going over the plan with their wedding party and family members beforehand to make sure they’re comfortable taking photos without masks,” she explains. “It goes both ways, too: I’ve had some awkward situations where family members were asked by the couple to either not be in the photo or, reluctantly, have them join without their masks.”
For DeTone, it’s imperative that brides and grooms discuss the dynamics with their photographer and planner, so that everyone is in the know about any people who are uncomfortable wearing masks or, conversely, who feel good about getting together for a group shot. That way, it’s much easier to plan certain poses, the number of people in a photo, and the location of portraits. Working together to plan out these “photo pods” can be a major relief.
Gift The Goods
We won’t lie, in the earlier part of this pandemic, we were quick to shake our heads at the mere suggestion of wedding or bridal masks. In our defense, at the time, having ANY kind of wedding was a bad, bad call and there was a critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the people who needed it the most, our health care workers on the frontlines. So, yeah, we weren’t exactly pro-bedazzled facewear, especially when the costs were kind of hard to justify. Now, though, things have changed, and it’s hard to imagine a wedding without any sort of masks in sight.
Shameless plug, I ordered a pair of Plum Pretty Sugar’s face masks earlier in the pandemic, and they are so comfortable and so pretty. They also just came out with a white embroidered mask for brides. And they’re just $30 ($20 for two, for the bridesmaids), which is definitely a lot easier on the wallet than the hundred-dollar bedazzled ones out there.
Now that things are much better on the shortage front (we seriously have so many cool masks to buy from both big and small businesses), and weddings are cautiously ramping up, we’re all for mask wearing at the main event. Our take: If you have to wear a mask on your best day ever, then it might as well be pretty. Claire Pettibone, the LA couturier responsible for some of the most stunning gowns on the planet, first felt a little conflicted about making something beautiful for this ugly virus. But her dissonance was quickly resolved when she realized that she could contribute to the cause, donating a mask for each one sold, and make brides feel comfortable on the day they need to most.
“Brides have been ordering our masks for themselves, and even more, for their wedding party and guests. We’ve also had a lot of people purchasing them as gifts,” she reports. “Most brides planning a wedding right now have very limited guest lists, and depending on where they live the regulations may be different, but of course, keeping family and friends safe is a top priority, so outfitting their guests with attractive masks is something to consider.”
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Our Slate fabric (bottom of these 3), sold out in less than a week! Sets will now be your choice: all Taupe, all Ivory, or a combination of the two. For every mask sold, we are donating one to healthcare and front line workers. Your purchase enables our Los Angeles based team to keep working while helping our community. Thank you for supporting our small business!💕 #clairepettibone #lovemask #facemask #bridalstyle #handmade #fineartwedding #fineartbride #smallbusiness #smallbusinesslove #localbusiness #smallbusinessowner
Claire says that most of her brides are choosing her classic solid ivory with lace butterflies option to wear themselves, but looking at her printed floral patterns for their guests. And since adding new child sizes for the flower girls and ring bearers to rock, she’s gearing up to go all in for the entire group—grooms included.
“We recently added a child size, and had a wedding where we outfitted all of the kids with custom plain ivory masks for the boys and butterflies for the girls, while the adult guests wore a variety of the prints,” describes Pettibone. “We’ve just had some requests for men’s, so that’s something we have in the works. Our masks are really well-made and comfortable, plus the adjustable silk ties have a more formal look, so they do work well for weddings.”
If You Mask Them, They Will Come…
All it takes to have uniform classy photos is consistency in the masks your MVPs are wearing. Jennifer Larsen, lead photographer at her namesake, Jennifer Larsen Photography, put her camera down for the day to have her own minimony last month, and she couldn’t be happier with the way she made masks work. In her opinion, there’s nothing wrong with leaning into the COVID circumstances. Just because masks are necessary for safety reasons, doesn’t mean they have to be ugly!
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“We provided our guests with white masks that read ‘Quarantined for Life: Jen and Ryan are Married!’ in rose gold foil,” she recalls. “We wanted to make the masks less of a burden and more like a party favor that would bring a little joy and commemorate this season. I love the way they came out, and so did our guests!” Perhaps because Larsen is a photographer herself, she had total confidence in her own photographer to document the day like she wanted; nevertheless, being able to trust in her photographer was such a key to her staying calm.
Lean On Your Photographers
We promise, a few masked moments aren’t going to read as a documentary of the pandemic, but if you’re truly concerned that your photos and video will be plagued by the state of affairs more than they already are, then opt for your couple portraits and those with close family to be done sans masks—in wide, open-air spaces. For Larsen, being flexible and inventive can be what turns a COVID-curated group shot into an avant-garde, glossy mag kind of vision.
“For situations where you’d like to take a group photo, but still keep distance, I think getting creative with your setup makes the photo feel a lot less awkward. Group people together by couples/households, and space them out in clusters to create balance on either side of the bride and groom,” she says. “You can incorporate some chairs, to improvise a dynamic sitting and standing, staggered look, and it will feel like an intentional, creative choice rather than an awkward restriction. You can even try mixing in some fun cheering or stoic expressions to change it up from a typical ‘just smile at the camera’ shot to a more spacious Vanity Fair-esque portrait!”
You’re The F*cking Bride, But You’re Not Above The Rules
As Alexis Alvaraz, a wedding planner from Chicago, tells AP, “There’s just so much emotional baggage that has come with weddings this year that the idea of masks at their weddings is the last straw… but there is danger in that.” That’s especially true if people aren’t following state mandates and CDC codes of conduct. That’s why vendors, especially wedding planners and caterers, are doing even more to help couples navigate the nuances of wedding safety. Dance floor be damned, there’s a way to do it.
Emily DeLoach, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sincerely Yours Events in Savannah, GA, has seen DJs and bands doing really cool things to make sure the guests have a good time, but safely. “I’ve worked with DJs and bands who have made QR codes that guests can scan at the event to submit song and announcement requests without having to have contact with their booth,” relays DeLoach. “This has been effective and fun, really engaging the crowd, curating perfect dance floor vibes, and getting loving announcements made to help bring the whole crew together!”
An outdoor silent disco? We’re down.
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This couple had a socially-distant silent disco at their microwedding as a fun alternative to regular dancing. Congrats Laura and Will! 🥂 “Obviously a reimagined ceremony during Coronavirus! But we were able to pull off a mini wedding with 40 family & friends in Will’s parents backyard on Cape Cod! I converted to Judaism during our engagement and Will and his two brother’s built the chuppah in the days leading up to the wedding. It was an epic evening with heartfelt speeches that ended with a silent disco with two channels – one of wedding classics and another live DJ’d by a friend with our favorite EDM mixes.” @theshensation 📷: @nicoleellengowan
And when it comes to food and drink, very easy ways to cross contaminate, caterers like Main Course Catering + Marketplace in New Paltz, NY, are adopting new ways to wow their couples. During the planning process, the Captain of Catering, Hogan Popkess, says that he and his team have conversations with clients about some of the options they have for events, including glass dome coverings on passed hors d’oeuvres trays, exclusively-served plates instead of displayed or family-style options. When it comes to masks, MCC’s staff is coming dressed in in-house made masks that match the ties they wear with the uniforms, plus black disposable gloves, so they look sleek while still being safe—if you care about that sort of thing.
Popkess also says of masks, “Some of our clients prefer everyone to have masks on the entire event unless of course they are seated and eating. Others have been comfortable without masks for the duration of the event. Our staff wears them the entire event as well as gloves to ensure our own safety and also make everyone feel comfortable.” He acknowledges, “The tables are turned when you enter a client’s home and you are a stranger. We have to keep our staff safe while also respecting the safety of the client and their guests.”
Following The Rules Can Be A Legit Piece Of Cake
Jen Larsen and her handsome hubby made sure that their wedding cake could be done safely for their July “I Dos.”
“We served cake after the ceremony, and that boiled down to little things like having hand sanitizer readily available for our guests, having a dedicated server to carefully cut and plate each slice, and pre-rolling individual sets of disposable utensils, etc.” she remembers. “I tried to think through any areas that would make guests feel uncomfortable or would be a high germ-spreading point of contact.”
The bottom line is that planning a wedding safely requires more thought and planning than before (as if planning a wedding wasn’t hard enough). But it can be done, and the extra effort of keeping yourself, your loved ones, and your vendors safe is well worth it.
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Images: Courtesy of Jennifer Larsen Photography; Courtesy of Tori Kelner Photography; betchesbrides (3), clairepettibone, plumprettysugar / Instagram
Remember on NYE when everyone was convinced 2020 was going to be our golden era? We all rocked the flapper dresses, gulped the champagne, and decided that this decade was made for us. Yeah, that didn’t exactly work out the way we thought, and for anyone with plans to wed in the new decade, it’s been an absolute nightmare. With restrictions and health concerns due to a literal global pandemic, a large percentage of weddings since March have been postponed, scaled down, or ultimately, canceled.
Now, as the country begins to open up, it’s sort of tricky to tell whether or not it’s okay to move forward with wedding plans. And while it’s confusing for newlyweds, it also poses a difficult choice for guests who still make the cut on reduced guest lists. Whether you’re a frontline worker, have a compromised immune system, are looking to protect your family members, or just don’t feel comfortable being in crowds yet (since, you know, it’s strongly advised to still adhere to social distancing measures until a vaccine is developed, which could take up to 18 months), deciding not to attend a 2020 wedding is a big—yet totally warranted—decision.
While couples planning weddings should think long and hard about their celebration, ultimately, guests have the choice of whether or not to attend. And if you’ve decided to RSVP “no” to events in the near future, here’s how to do it tactfully in a way that hopefully won’t ruin your relationships.
Tell Them At The Right Time
Just like with everything wedding-related, telling someone you’re not going to their event needs to be done at the right time. If you haven’t received an invitation yet, just wait. There’s no need to hit them with a barrage of texts yet. Once it’s time to RSVP, evaluate your relationship to figure out the best way to break the news. If it’s an acquaintance, a simple “regret” with a nice note about hating to miss it should suffice. If they’re a closer pal or you’re *gasp* in the wedding, it will take a little more finesse to tell them the news.
If you happen to be in the party (ugh), bring up your concerns ASAP—you don’t want to lay this on a bride the week before her big day. If you can discuss it before ordering a dress, all the better so you’re not stuck with a $200 baby blue chiffon gown you’ll never wear in your closet. In the normal world, after committing to being in a wedding, it’s majorly f*cked up to back out. Now, however, is a different story. Tell the truth, offer a solution (like attending virtually, of course), and continue to remind them how much they mean to you.
Be Honest (But Not Too Honest)
Chances are, the couple has thought through their decision extensively. While it’s risky to have a large-scale event right now, if they’re adhering to their state’s restrictions, there’s not much you can do. Gotta love Florida and Texas! That said, there’s no reason to lie or be unclear about why you’re missing their big day. Tell them you don’t feel comfortable, express your concerns if you must, then wish them the best. While you might want to send a five-page long text rant, it’s best to keep things short, simple, and polite.
Support Them As Best You Can
If you’re close friends with the couple or in the wedding party, your decision might be met with some serious guilt-tripping. Whatever your relationship is, that’s not a reason to put yourself, your loved ones, or other people at risk, no matter what the to-be-wed couple says. Once you decide not to attend, stand firm in your decision but offer additional ways you can help. Maybe that means offering to be there for them in other ways, like organizing streaming links or sending out favors to virtual guests. Just because you’re not going to be there IRL, it doesn’t mean you can’t assist the (most likely very stressed and upset) couple.
Send A Gift
Maybe I’m just a sucker for glitter cards and giant bows (I blame my sorority days), but gifts are truly my love language. And when it comes to weddings, it’s the love language of every single couple out there. No matter how much they insist that they don’t need gifts, that they don’t want gifts, send them a GD gift. This is doubly important if you’re not attending the wedding and even more so in the time of corona. Odds are that $200 check will mean more to them now than ever.
Don’t Feel Guilty
Okay, the couple probably wants you to feel at least a little guilty. Ultimately, however, this is a very stressful time for everyone, whether you’re getting married or not. While there are complicated decisions and not-so-great solutions on both sides, at some point, you just have to commit one way or another. Be kind, be respectful, and be ready for some really raging baby showers for all of the corona couples in a few short years. Trust us, they’ve earned it.
Images: Victoria Priessnitz / Unsplash; betchesbrides / Instagram
As we’re forced to face facts that coronavirus isn’t going away any time soon and brides and grooms start scaling down their weddings to elopements, minimonies, and microweddings, it’s clear that some changes need to be made. What might work for a standard 200-person affair probably isn’t the right course of action for a socially distant wedding. In addition to the obvious areas that are being reimagined (big bands are a no-go and buffets may become a thing of the past), some brides are finding that the big, poofy wedding gown of their dreams no longer fits with their scaled-down 2020 plans.
Whether you’re postponing your wedding altogether (but still looking for a way to celebrate your OG date), hosting something small now and delaying the big party to a future point in time, or scaling the whole thing back to just a few members of your inner circle (plus or minus all your would-be guests who you’ve invited to tune in on Zoom), your fashion doesn’t need to be fancy to be wedding-worthy.
We chatted with a number of experts in the wedding arena to talk about wedding gown alternatives. Restyling a dress from your closet archives, buying something that’s much more pared-down than a gown, or considering a couple trend-forward looks for the informal fête at home and the bigger bash to come post-COVID are all viable options for wedding wardrobing these days.
Recycling Something You’ve Worn Before
Repeating an outfit isn’t exactly how every bride imagines the wear for her wedding day, but then again, did anyone imagine that a virus would be getting in the way of people exchanging vows this year? Probs not. If style icons like Kate Middleton and Elaine Welteroth (Project Runway judge and best-selling author) can pull something out of their closet and make it new again, so can you.
Elaine Welteroth and Jonathan Singletary’s May wedding on their Brooklyn stoop quickly went viral, and Welteroth wasn’t shy about where she got her dress. She told Vogue that she chose not to overthink her dress, going with “an old, white, label-less dress from my own closet.” She said, “I hadn’t worn it in over three years. But it was the first idea that came to mind when I envisioned us getting married on my stoop.” Yes, that’s right, this trend maven recycled something for her wedding day, and it’s something that all brides (not just ones who are figuring out their dress details during a pandemic) might want to consider.
Nicole Sheppard, co-founder of the super curated, modern, and inclusive dress destination Wander Atelier, thinks that brides who are over this quarantine and just want to get married can absolutely do it in something they’ve worn before. “If you decide to elope ASAP, there’s nothing wrong with pulling from your own closet and adding a few bride-specific accessories à la Elaine Welteroth,” she says. Elaine’s dress was something old, but she made the look into something new with some custom-made shoes, and also incorporated something borrowed—the veil her mother wore at her wedding, which happened to match her dress.
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Sheppard notes that in addition to the many fun veils to try these days, “capes can also be a great way to layer without having to make the commitment of a veil.” Sheppard also loves “the idea of a headpiece: trade out a flower crown or a more traditional embellished headband for a dried flower piece.”
Opting For Something Simpler For Your Setting
You can also just lean into the comfort of casual if you’ll be having a city hall ceremony or a more intimate one at home. Sheppard says that many of her brides right now are gravitating towards simpler, more casual looks. The samples in her shop that she qualifies as simple are “chic, clean-lined silk gowns that are lightweight and breezy,” while her favorite casual picks include “jumpsuits with a wide leg or more modern, streamlined silhouettes.”
According to Savannah Miller, a designer who helped put elevated bohemian style on the map after spending years working alongside British fashion titans like Alexander McQueen and Matthew Williamson, a bride doesn’t need to sacrifice her bride card if she gets married in a more under-the-radar fashion. In fact, her own wedding day was the epitome of easy, breezy, bride behavior: “My wedding day was a prime example of low-key. We had to get legally married the day before the ceremony for our friends and family, and I was tearing around in a kaftan with a baby on my hip trying to coordinate everything,” Miller recalls. “We ducked out to do the official ceremony and it was the most meaningful part of the whole weekend, because, ultimately, a wedding should be just you and your partner looking into each other’s eyes and promising to love and cherish each other forever. That’s what it’s all about.”
Savannah Miller Lottie Dress
So a little white dress, a jumpsuit, a crop top and skirt, or some seriously trendy separates suit this new (wedding) normal. Many brands stocked in authorized bridal boutiques and shops, like Savannah Miller Bridal, are moving up their timelines and offering a leaner selection of their styles, in limited sizing, for brides getting married this summer. Some others have even launched quick turnaround collections online to appeal to the overwhelming number of COVID-affected brides. And it doesn’t have to be tagged bridal to be bride-worthy, either—you can scout out special-occasion options through your favorite ready-to-wear shopping sites.
Here are some buy-now offerings for corona brides getting married at home that are simple, beautiful, and still totally bridal.
The Little White Dress
Bride-adored brand Amsale recently debuted its Little White Dress collection, and it’s replete with crisp, modern, and polished options for brides who want a very aisle-appropriate aesthetic, but aren’t feeling a gown. They also have a brand-new virtual try-on feature to help brides imagine how they’d look in each dress, since in-store appointments still aren’t the safest bet. Items typically arrive within a 4-6 week shipping window, however, some dresses are available immediately. The Amsale team always goes above and beyond, too, to make sure these expedited deliveries happen without a hitch.
Amsale LW143 Stretch Crepe Dress, $425
Amsale LW138 Faille Dress, $385
One of Amsale Design Director Margo Lafontaine’s favorite features are the super comfortable, yet sophisticated stretch crepe fabrications that most of the designs are made from. We’ve been at home for so long that luxe loungewear has become the universally accepted fashion of the moment, but for your wedding day, even if it’s at home, you need something that’s equal parts comfy and stylish. This first jumpsuit, for instance, has pants that a bride will quite literally “want to live in,” according to Margo. Can’t argue with that!
Amsale LW161 Cami Neckline Jumpsuit, $550
The Jumpsuit, And Other Unconventional Couture
Nadine Merabi Hailey White Jumpsuit, $400
Nadine Merabi, luxury womenswear designer and minimony bride herself, just debuted her own collection of looks that are perfect for I Dos done simply. The White Collection is full of ready-to-ship styles that don’t feel too over-the-top, which is great for brides who want to tone down the formality, but not the fashion statement. We’re especially into the jumpsuits and midi options, because they can be worn down the aisle and then out of the house… when it’s safe for us all to get social again. Also, totally something you’ll want to throw into your suitcase for your honeymoon… whenever that happens.
Nadine Merabi Victoria White Dress, $335
The Ready-To-Wear Looks That Aren’t Bridal, But Can Be
Olivia von Halle Issa Ivory Slip, $400
As we mentioned before, your outfit doesn’t have to be bridal per se to work for your wedding , especially with elopements and limited-guest gatherings becoming the norm right now. There are so many ready-to-wear options, and spoiler alert, there are lots of great benefits to shopping modern and contemporary for your unique occasion. First, you won’t have to spend as much on your look as you would if you went through traditional bridal channels. You can also get away with purchasing something a little more edgy or alternative (sexy slip dresses, brave crop top combos, etc.), since the pressure to dress for a crowd isn’t really part of the equation. Finally, you can really have fun with your accessories, and either go more bride (with classic accoutrements like a veil, a cape, or a bouquet) or more anti-bride (choosing something that’s not ivory/white, smoking out your makeup a little more, or throwing on a leather moto jacket).
Allen Schwartz Raine Bustier Dress, $485
Even with all these ideas in mind, you don’t have to go back to the drawing board if you don’t want to. Nicole Sheppard, who was actually a wedding planner and owner of All Who Wander Event Design before she opened up her Caldwell, New Jersey dress shop, sees a lot of her brides staying the course and wearing their original, pre-pandemic gowns, even for smaller weddings. “But,” she says, “there are a lot of others who are getting creative, especially when doing a smaller wedding or ceremony in 2020 and a larger-scale event or reception in 2021.”
She adds, “Many brides are looking to their designers or even similarly minded contemporary fashion houses to find something that mimics their gown, but in a more casual, understated way.” Sheppard suggests, “a little white dress iteration or a dress that pulls in some of the most recognizable design details from their dream dress” that allows brides to “honor their original dress in a more low-key setting, but save the real deal for their party in 2021!”
People are also taking the opposite route, and Sheppard tells us her favorite “is a bride wearing her original gown for her 2020 date, as anticipated, but getting a new, even more fun gown for her 2021 celebration. We’re looking at puff sleeves, beading, a total mood, even bigger than before!” Basically, people are doing a million different things, and there are no wrong answers.
Savannah Miller reminds us that whatever details you decide on, it’s all about feeling your best on the big (or not-so-big) day. “I believe that every bride should feel like the best version of herself on her wedding day.” In 2020, “That may mean dressing in a slightly more laid-back way than you have initially anticipated, but it doesn’t mean you will look any less fabulous.” In such a crazy time for weddings (and life in general), this is exactly the mindset we all need right now.
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Images: Jonathan Borba / Unsplash; wanderatelier / Instagram; Savannah Miller; Amsale; Nadine Merabi; Shopbop; Allen Schwartz
So, how about 2020 weddings, huh? First spring events got taken away, then summer, and now weddings through the rest of 2020 and the start of 2021 are in jeopardy. While there’s no cut-and-dried answer for what the future of weddings will look like (it’s not like we have ESPN or something), being prepared, knowing the facts, and having a realistic plan is the best course of action to ensuring you get to celebrate safely.
Before you decide to say “f*ck it” and just optimistically move forward with your original plans, however, international wedding educator and founder of Love Inc., Brittny Drye, suggests taking a good, hard look at the current situation. “It all really depends on where you live and what your venue looks like,” says Drye. “Several states have already opened up and outdoor venues are allowing full capacity, whereas if you live in hard-hit places like New York City and/or have an indoor venue, there’s a strong chance that you won’t be allowed to celebrate at full guest capacity.”
We know it sucks. Like, really sucks. “It’s okay to be sad about it,” Drye insists. “Take the time to mourn the fact that this significant life event is having to be postponed” or changed. Whenever you’re ready (and there’s no rush, brides), a few options that experts suggest for having a wedding amidst these ~unprecedented times~ include scaling back to things like a minimony, elopement, or microwedding. Even if they look a little different than events did in the past, we’re putting them all out there so you can figure out which one feels best to your situation and relationship.
Minimony, Elopement, & Microwedding: Explained
There are three mainstream options for couples looking to celebrate (and pivot away from the big wedding concept which, truthfully, doesn’t exactly seem realistic rn). Here’s how Drye breaks the new events down:
Elopement: “An elopement is an intimate ceremony—usually just the couple, officiant and/or a witness. While traditionally elopements are spontaneous, they are now becoming much more planned events, with couples traveling to breathtaking destinations to do them.”
Minimony: “A minimony is a term coined by The Knot that has been applied to commitment ceremonies taking place during COVID for couples who have had to postpone their wedding. It’s a way to honor your original wedding date, and perhaps even get legally married, with the expectation of doing the full celebration at a postponed date. It typically takes place in your home and you may have friends/family witness via Zoom or a few in-person with social distancing.”
Microwedding: “Think of a microwedding as a cross between an elopement and a big traditional wedding. Microweddings are 50 people or less, but still have design details.” Basically, it’s like a pre-2020 wedding, but on a smaller scale.
How To Decide Which Event Is Right For You
There’s no right or wrong decision here when deciding how you want to move forward with your big day. Drye suggests sitting down and having a frank discussion about what you and your partner prioritize.
“Is it having all of your friends and family there in-person? Or would you rather spend money on the guest experience and have fewer guests? During these COVID times, what does your timeline look like? Do you intend to stick to your original wedding date no matter what, or are you okay with waiting?” If budget is your deciding factor, typically a minimony is the least expensive option, followed by an elopement and then a microwedding.
Tips For A Perfect Elopement
Elopements have been around since looooong before COVID, and for good reason: They’re (mostly) drama-free and romantic as hell. There’s literally zero concern about seating charts, who gets a plus-one, and whether or not to invite that one frenemy who always says passive-aggressive comments about your hair. It’s just you, your partner, your officiant, a witness or two, and a photographer so you can put the bulk of your budget toward getting breathtaking shots.
Just because you’re having the most intimate of ceremonies doesn’t mean your day needs to be any less beautiful. “Destination elopements are increasing in popularity—on a mountaintop in Colorado, amongst the rolling green hills of Ireland, on a beach in Hawaii,” Drye suggests. “And if you’re looking to add more stylized elements into your elopement, seek out a planner who offers elopement packages to help coordinate.” You can make it special by incorporating elements like wearing your mother or grandmother’s veil, having special readings or sharing your own vows, and even including elements such as a floral backdrop, a first dance in the woods, or a romantic picnic-for-two to celebrate afterward.
Tips For A Perfect Minimony
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Honestly if having an at-home wedding means eating a homemade cake like the elderflower and lemon one that @georgieleanor made, then I’m here for it. 🍰 “My fiancé and I took the opportunity to celebrate our non-wedding today. We were supposed to be on a beach in Bali getting married in front of 200 people from all over the world but instead we are, like most, at home. Sounds silly, but we actually enjoyed the “non-wedding” prep! We didn’t have any budget or access to normal shops, so we challenged ourselves to just use whatever we had in the house. Mini ceremony in our back garden was officiated by my little sister and zoom guests included closest family and lifelong fluffy friends: pookie bear, flopsy, phanfy and moo-cow. I baked an elderflower and lemon cake (with flowers from our garden), and my fiancé arranged the exquisite decor and Spotify playlist. We had such a blast focusing on today we almost forgot what we were missing. We’re just really grateful that, at a time like this, we still have each other. And today, that’s all that matters. Happy Easter everyone 🐣!!”
If you’re going the minimony route (which means you’re having either a legal elopement or a commitment ceremony and then partying HARD when it’s finally safe to have a large event) you can still make your at-home day extraordinary. “You can bring in vendors from your main event to incorporate elements into your minimony, such as having your DJ play a setlist for your guests to dance to or even your first dance, have your cake designer send sweets to guests and a mini cake to you so you can have a virtual cake-cutting ceremony, or have your floral designer create an arrangement to display,” suggests Drye.
Even if you don’t opt for a full minimony and choose to just reschedule, Drye advises to still do something special on what would have been your original wedding date. Dance in your kitchen, share a piece of cake, have a candlelit dinner, and rock that wedding night lingerie. The only thing sadder than moving your wedding date is moving your wedding date and spending your original date sitting at home doing nothing.
Tips For A Perfect Microwedding
If you don’t want to postpone, don’t want to have a ceremony at home, and want to celebrate with your VIPs, a microwedding might be the perfect solution. Basically, it’s a 50-person-or-less (including vendors) event that has all the good stuff a traditional wedding has: ceremony, reception, dancing, drinks, and spending way too much money on things like flowers and flatware.
“Microweddings were already on the rise pre-COVID, and what’s interesting is that while going that route can certainly save you money, couples were still spending average-sized budgets. If you really want to wow with the guest experience, microweddings allow your budget to stretch much more since you have fewer people,” says Drye, adding, “one of the perks of a microwedding is that it’s much easier to add personalized touches for guests, such as handwritten notes at their place settings, specialty tastings, or individual mini cakes for each person.”
In addition to creating a truly memorable guest experience, a microwedding also opens up the options to more creative venues such as breweries, museums, or gardens—places that can’t accommodate the more traditional large-scale events of the past. But note, while the wedding is on a smaller scale (and can typically be planned within a 6-month timeframe), it’s still a good idea to work with a planner if your budget permits. This will not only ensure the day goes as planned, but will also help with adhering to any and all safety regulations. Luckily, many planners now offer microwedding packages that are less expensive than their standard packages.
How To Change Your Plans
“Under normal circumstances, anyone you send a save-the-date to receives an invite, but we’re currently dealing with unprecedented times,” notes Drye. “If you’re pivoting from a large-scale wedding to a microwedding, elopement, or minimony, simply have an honest conversation with those on your guest list who you have to cut.” It might feel weird, but (I hope) literally everyone understands the health and safety concerns. Ultimately, what matters is that you have a day that feels the most genuine to you and your love story.
As for how to decide who to cut, Drye advises eliminating circles, as opposed to individuals, so people don’t take it personally. “For example, those who have to travel out of state or older guests who are more at risk,” she says. Once you make your decision, inform guests via phone or video call, not text or email. Yes, it’s awkward, but your chances of salvaging your relationship with those guests kinda rely on it.
At the end of the day, it sucks. It sucks that you have to change your plans and you have to plan sh*t all over again. Ultimately, however, as long as you marry your person and splurge on a top-of-the-line photographer, your day will still invoke jealousy out of anyone who happens to hate-stalk you and that, my friends, is what weddings are all about.
Images: Eliza Szablinska / Unsplash; @betchesbrides / Instagram (4)
It’s no secret: coronavirus is one giant happiness cockblock. It’s stealing jobs, lives, and security right out from under our noses. It’s messing with some of the most longed-for and looked-forward-to events, like graduations, proms, and weddings. While there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future of ~the best day of your life,~ I like to think it’s better to be informed than in the dark and luckily, The Knot released its report on the future of weddings, which shed some much-needed light on WTF is going on and WTF is going to happen to the wedding industry as a result of the pandemic.
According to The Knot, “Most engaged couples whose weddings have been impacted by COVID-19 are not canceling their weddings (92% globally, 93% in the U.S.), and are rescheduling for either later this year, 2021, or not making any changes at this time. With a strong desire to celebrate their weddings as they had originally planned, 94% of couples in the US and 87% globally do not plan to reduce their overall guest count, and 95% in the U.S. and 90% globally do not anticipate lowering their budget.”
What does this mean? Couples still want to party, they still want to shell out tons of money to do it, and they don’t really want to limit their guest counts. So, let’s figure out how can we make all of this happen. First, however, I want to say: Brides, this sucks. Majorly. I’m not here to sugarcoat or undermine it—odds are you’re getting that enough from estranged aunts and strangers on Facebook. What I am here to do is inform you and help you think of creative solutions you’re excited about that will make past brides pissed off that they didn’t think of the ideas first.
Guests Will Party In Shifts
“If and when the CDC and federal government do relax social distancing restrictions, there may be limitations in the number of people permitted to be in the same room,” Jeffra Trumpower, Sr. Creative Director at WeddingWire tells Betches. The problem is, literally no one wants to limit their guest count. The solution the wedding industry is going to start implementing is called a “shift wedding.” Basically, you get to have the same party, in the same venue, with the same vendor team, and everyone you want (and were forced to invite) can still attend, but you’ll just celebrate in shifts, with sanitation measures being taken between each.
How to make it not suck: Personally, I think the idea of shift weddings is genius. First, you can have an outdoor ceremony (yup, outdoor venues are expected to be on a rise) where everyone can attend and stand/sit far away from each other (or maybe you have the ceremony separately, just include your closest friends and family, or you had a “minimony” on Zoom prior to the celebration), then, you move into shifts. The first shift is, naturally, the older folks. Grandparents, parents’ friends, etc. Yes, this will be the most boring part, but on the plus side, you’ll actually get a chance to eat because it will be a good excuse to stop talking to strangers for a few minutes.
Once that shift is over, you can move on to your B-tier group of friends. Think of this as your pregame for your actual party with your ride-or-dies. You’ll get some drinks, chat about old times, and ease into the event. Then, finally, your faves (say, your top 50) come in and tear sh*t up. It’s like having your own pregame at your wedding, and honestly, it sounds kinda awesome.
Whenever events are allowed to happen again, you can bet your honeymoon fund that sanitation requirements will be increased, even after COVID-19 has calmed down. This means staff will most likely be wearing masks and gloves and some (if not all) guests will as well. Things like hand sanitizer stations and washing areas will become a staple in events and cleaning between each “shift” or event will be even more rigorous. While it might not be something you originally envisioned, experts say the guidelines are here to stay for a while, so plan accordingly.
“While weddings may look a bit different in the near future, the wedding professional community is incredibly dedicated to ensuring couples are able to celebrate their love with those nearest and dearest to them, while still being safe and healthy,” said Emily Clarke, founder of Emily Clarke Events.
How to make it not suck: “Putting a personalized touch to these measures will go a long way in normalizing the incorporation into weddings and keeping the positive, fun spirit of a wedding intact,” explained Clarke. “For instance, create personalized hand-sanitizing wipes in petite packages with guests’ names on them so people can sanitize as soon as they sit down for dinner.”
Another idea I’m obsessed with is having caterers walking around with personalized hand sanitizer on silver trays (just like they would with drinks at cocktail hour) or create a cute sanitization station.
Finally, utilizing gloves and masks can actually be low-key cute. Back in the olden days, gloves were seen as an elegant fashion accessory, and some brides still rock them today. Distribute gloves in your wedding colors (or all white or black) to guests and get some masks personalized for any high-risk or elderly guests to wear if they need. This could be a great time to incorporate your interests or hobbies as a couple, so don’t be afraid to do something silly, like your dog’s face on the mask.
As someone whose maid of honor couldn’t attend her wedding because she had just given birth, important people missing out on big days has been a part of wedding history since forever. Sh*t happens, things come up. The exciting aspect surrounding the uptick in virtual options is that people who wouldn’t have been able to make it in the first place (or for whom it would have be risky to do so) now have options that are thought-out and coordinated to be a part of your event, inside of just a shaky FaceTime, which is how my MOH watched my wedding.
How to make it not suck: The good news is, the wedding industry is full of the most creative people in the world, and their job is to create beautiful events. From sending at-risk guests personalized favors, food, and links to having a roaming Zoom party bot that can mingle with guests at the event (disclosure: I don’t know what a “Zoom party bot” is, but experts says they’ll be utilized and I’m picturing some sort of DJ Roomba-like robot with a screen zooming around and allowing home guests to interact) — the ways to incorporate social distancing don’t have to be a bummer. “We will get creative to make sure our couples’ weddings are as special as they can be, even in the midst of a pandemic,” insists Jove Meyer, the owner and creative director of Jove Meyer Events.
Catering And Entertaining
“Caterers will likely focus on plated dinners, instead of buffets or family-style meals, so there is less interaction with food and guests,” says Meyer. While traditional buffets might be out for a while, that doesn’t mean you have to completely forego your stations or hors d’oeuvres. Likely, it will just look different. If you long for a buffet, chances are your venue will instead have more, smaller stations and call different tables to get their food one at a time as opposed to a long, close-knit line.
Adhering to cleanliness codes and thinking outside-the-box with food prep and display isn’t a new concept for caterers, “but one that is certainly being amplified and enhanced starting now,” Christie Altendorf of D’Amico Catering told The Knot. “New levels of safety are being discussed every day to proactively protect our guests and staff. While what we know is rapidly evolving, I think it’s safe to expect, as live gatherings return, there will be several measures put in place that we’ve never had to consider before.”
While that might seem like bad news, it actually isn’t. “I believe we’re going to see many new serving styles conceptualized,” Altendorf insisted. Which means you might be at the front of what will soon be the hottest new wedding trend. Another aspect to consider is your dance floor. Classic, packed floors won’t make as much sense now, but that doesn’t mean the party will stop. Instead, things like satellite bars and floors will expand the range of the celebration.
How to make it not suck: Basically, your party space just got bigger and more interesting. Now, instead of one bar, multiple bars will be the norm. Instead of one small space to dance, multiple dance floors or levels will be incorporated. Instead of people either doing the “Cha Cha Slide” or sitting at their seats looking bored, having other entertainment to allow guests to spread out will be implemented. Weddings are about to become even more of an experience than just a glorified prom. Now more than ever, the rule book is getting thrown out and you can make your day entirely your own.
With venues being snatched up or already booked by couples, finding a new date can be a struggle, especially if you were planning on a Saturday event. In order to ensure your full vendor team is available, non-Saturday or even (gasp) non-weekend events are going to become more of the norm. Of those moving their dates, 8% of couples are switching to Thursday, 40% to Friday, and 33% to Sunday. On the plus side, if you always dreamed of getting married on a specific date (such as your dating anniversary or the date of your first kiss) but it fell on a weekday, people won’t bat an eye anymore.
How to make it not suck: The plus side is after everyone’s been stuck inside with literally NOTHING to do for God knows how long, most guests will relish being invited to an event where they can wear heels and talk to someone other than their S.O. or their plants. Monday wedding? Count me in. Wednesday wedding? F*ck yeah, I’m there. While these days weren’t usually chosen for nuptials, anyone who still has a job has tons of vacation days and everyone else just wants something to do. Don’t stress about the day of the week, because trust me, I’d crawl through glass rn to attend a weekday wedding.
After all this is over, weddings aren’t going to look the same, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be worse. In fact, there will be plenty of ways to make your event even better than it was going to be.
Images: Kendra Allen / Unsplash; Giphy (3)
As it becomes clearer that summer wedding plans are off the table, and fall weddings are next on the chopping block, couples are figuring out new ways to make their special day special. We’re seeing Zoom weddings, drive-by parades, and elopements. For anyone who can’t (or doesn’t want to) get on board with the microwedding vibe, plans of a postponement need to be communicated to guests—even if the details are still TBD. So, we chatted with experts on both coasts to see how changing the date can be done, and as much as it sucks, it’s not impossible. There are multiple ways to convey the 411 of your new day, and rockstar wedding vendors are making the postponing protocol as smooth as possible.
For Krystel Stacey, Founder, Creative Director, and Lead Stylist at So Cal’s Couture Events and wedding planner to Bachelor in Paradise’s Hannah Godwin and Dylan Barbour, it’s about being supportive and honoring her clients’ wishes.
“We’re hopeful that later-2020 weddings will go on as planned, but just in case our brides and grooms are worried, we’re working around the clock on contingency plans,” Stacey says. At the end of the day, she wants her clients to stay true to themselves, adding “What is best for your mom, best friend, cousin, or sweet Aunt Sally should be considered secondary to what is best for you both as a couple.”
Timing Wise, Most Pre-Fall Weddings Should Postpone
We’ve been polling our 2020 brides on Insta @betchesbrides for weeks now, asking whether they’ll be keeping or postponing their wedding dates plans—and truthfully, no one has a definitive answer or a magical cut-off date. While it’d be amazing to see into the future and find out more about this virus’s end date, unfortunately we can’t exactly speak to the manager of coronavirus. That’s why New Jersey-based stationer, Becca Goldberg of Suite Paperie, feels that clients who have chosen to postpone their weddings before October 2020 are making the best calls (and tbh, that’s what it seems like most of you are doing, based on all the recent Insta feedback on @betchesbrides).
“We’ve had a few couples who were supposed to get married in late March/early April postpone to later in 2020, but a couple who is planning a summer wedding isn’t going to be thrilled about swapping to a winter date,” she offers. “Their entire vision from invitations to dress to food to flowers will have to shift to an entirely new season—and that’s a whole other dimension of change that a bride dealing with COVID-19 rescheduling shouldn’t have to face.”
She explains, “Most of my October-December brides are hanging tight right now and moving forward as planned. Since we’re NY/NJ based and in the epicenter of the crisis, there’s a chance that, by law, the weddings will not be able to take place. However, we do have plenty of couples around the country who are having their weddings in lesser COVID-affected areas and proceeding with considerably less caution—for example, we have gorgeous acrylic invitations going out this week for an August wedding in Colorado Springs.”
Once You Have A Date Secured, Get Moving With Regards To Your Guests
Both Stacey and Goldberg have seen the majority of their couples postponing to 2021, and they’re behind it, too, especially if couples can either get their original wedding date just a year later (something that a lot of venues are advocating with their clients so that their event calendars are balanced). After all, a wedding planned for June 12th this year will probably look similar, if not identical, to a June 12th wedding next year. If the exact date isn’t available, then another date in the month should work just fine. Stacey let us know that even though she’s had some couples push till later this year, most are looking into 2021 for their new dates.
Of course, once you’ve gotten your date penciled in at your venue, with your vendors on book as well, you’ll want to notify your nearest and dearest so that arrangements can be made. Fortunately, since the social event scene at large has been totally eclipsed by the pandemic, most guests can expect that you’ll be making course changes, but you’ll still need to tell everyone sooner rather than later. A few ways you can notify guests are:
Your wedding website: You can seriously make one for FREE like anywhere, so if you don’t have one, make one (if only just to keep people from nightmaring you about your wedding status). As soon as you have your date, update your homepage with something along the lines of “Due to current COVID-19 circumstances, we’re going to celebrate on another date!” And then share said date, timing, and change of venue, if you have one.
Your inner circle: If you’re going crazy dealing with this postponement and can’t send out a personalized email yourself, then this is the perfect time to enlist your wedding planner, your bridesmaids, your MOH, and all your ride-or-dies. Have them text, call, or email all of your wedding guests and share your new date, along with a link to your website for real-time updates.
Your social channels: Not every couple will feel comfortable sharing all the I Do deets on their social feeds, but Stacey notes that with any “official” correspondence (i.e. change-the-date announcements), an identical social version should go up as well. “For ALL posts we suggest sending out the same change-the-date,” she says, adding, “if you are sending a physical save the date card, just send the digital version of that via email and then also post that digital version on your social media (the order in which you do so is totally up to you).”
Stationery Going Out Should Follow A Cadence, Somewhat…
Most vendors will tell you that code of conduct is nowhere near normal now, because WTAF is happening these days? Stacey and her team at Couture Events say, “You cannot please everyone and they will have to understand that COVID was not your choice and is out of your control. What you can control is what you want to do next.” We’re 100p aligned with their outlook, especially since changing the date costs money—creativity, on the other hand, doesn’t have to cost a thing…
Stacey even suggests that couples take advantage of the time spent at home during quarantine to experiment with sending a cute video in lieu of a traditional change-the-date card. Just try to avoid making something that might land you on our cringiest TikToks list.
PSA for brides: there’s no such thing as wedding etiquette anymore you officially get to do whatever the f*ck you want.
— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) May 8, 2020
If all of the above sounds a little too informal, or if you want something tangible, e-commerce stationer sites like Minted and Basic Invite are offering a completely curated selection of change-the-date cards. Basic Invite will even handle your mail so that you can avoid going to the post office #socialdistancewin. Just upload your guest list and they’ll print, stuff, and mail your cards directly to your guests. It’s legit so fast and easy, and the looks are luxe and stunning.
If you’ve been working with a custom stationer one-on-one, though, you probably have even more possibilities to put out the good word about your wedding. Plus, you’ll have someone helping you through the pain-in-the-ass process of when to send things, what to send, who to send to, etc.
Here are some general guidelines that Becca Goldberg, girl boss at Suite Paperie, has been following with her clients:
For couples who’ve postponed before invitations were sent: “We’re sending snail-mail change-the-date announcements at the time that the guests would be receiving the invitations (approximately 8-10 weeks out),” Goldberg says. “These can still read ‘formal invitation to follow’ on the bottom, since the guests haven’t received the actual invites yet.”
For couples who sent out invitations, but now need to postpone: “Since time is of the essence, we’re typically sending out an email with ‘formal re-invitation to follow’ to let guests know that they’ll be receiving something else in the mail when it gets closer to the date in 2021.”
Just writing out “re-invitation” makes me cringe, because I know how much invitations can cost. But Goldberg totally gets it, and she hates to imagine making her clients re-up their already-pricy investment. “Some things that we’re doing are digitally printing their invitation on duplex or even triplex paper and giving it the same finish as their original suite (beveled, foiled or painted edges), but at a fraction of the cost of letterpress or foil stamping.”
She adds, “The other thing we’re doing is keeping the additional information online. So, instead of a suite that has a RSVP card and envelope, details card, brunch card, etc, we’re just sending a main invitation and a single insert that sends guests to the couple’s website to RSVP, find new hotel dates, and more.”
For couples whose invitations were printed, but not yet mailed: “These are the trickiest scenarios, where we need to get clever,” she says. “Some couples are opting to reprint their main invitation with the new date, while others are OK with an insert stating the new date.” Goldberg relays that one of her favorite executions of this route involves using an annotated overlay. “We essentially “mark up” the invitation, cross out the old date, and print the new one on a 100% clear transparency that lays over the entire front of the invitation. This is a bit more on the fun side, but we’ve had a few couples go this route, and it’s been very well-received.”
And then when it comes to invitees, here’s who Goldberg says should get the stationery:
For couples with a postponed date (and a wedding of roughly the same size): “Everyone who received the save-the-dates the first go-round should be getting the change-the-date as well,” Goldberg advises.
For couples who want to scale back the celebration altogether: “In some instances, couples are opting to keep their original date, but instead going more intimate, with immediate family only,” she explains. “In this case, of course the change-the-date goes out to only those in the intimate group, but additionally, a follow up wedding or ‘elopement’ announcement should be sent to the rest of the guests. Share a photo and have fun with it, because at the end of the day, this alert really helps to make your friends and family feel connected to an event they were originally invited to in-person!”
And if you still want to save money, stay formal, and get things out f*ckin’ fast, you can always consider a postponement announcement from a place like Paperless Post or Greenvelope.
Paperless Post is rallying hard with the “love is patient” point of view during this COVID crisis, and not only are we obsessed with their dynamic designs, we’re also loving on their well-rounded wedding extras for after the postponement.
“With digital wedding postponement cards, you are able to upload a copy of your email list and send it to your recipient’s inbox in minutes,” reassures Paperless Post. Then, “Once you’ve ironed out a new date, let friends and family know it is time to get together again. You’ll have the option to send out a new design from our online wedding collection or update your postponement announcement with the new event details. If the latter, you can use our follow up tools to send a message to your guests letting them know it’s officially time to RSVP.”
We get it, it’s a lot to postpone your wedding, but if you’re making it through quarantine with your S.O., you’re doing amazing, sweeties… You’ll get through this too!
Images: Unsplash; Basic Invite; Suite Paperie; Greenvelope