We know you probably never want to hear the words “coronavirus,” “quarantine,” and “unprecedented times” again, but unfortunately The Rona is still among us. Corona brides across the world are lost when it comes to what to do now that their wedding has been postponed or canceled. The days of saying “I do” in front of friends and family and taking shots with your bridesmaids at the open bar seem so distant, but we’re hopeful that the investment towards celebrating this new chapter in your life is worth the wait. For those of you that have officially made the decision to share your vows with your S.O. in 2021, you’re probably wondering WTF to do with all of your plans now? Don’t freak out, because we’ve gone ahead and asked the experts to share their thoughts on what couples can be doing in the meantime to ensure that all t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted before the big day.
Yes, you probably had everything planned out perfectly, right down to your personalized stationery before the virus happened, but now that your plans have changed, there’s some tricky re-thinking to do. “It goes without saying that trying to navigate the postponement of a wedding is mind-boggling, and it can be hard to know where to start, or better yet, figure out an organized way to keep track of your progress and your remaining to-dos,” says Lisa Bowser, Founder of Brite Lite, a company that makes LED neon signs. “Lists on lists on lists can be quite boring to look at, yes?” Um, yes! Bowser recommends the acrylic dry-erase Goals Calendar to eliminate your wedding stress. Bonus: you can still use it in your home after your wedding planning process is (finally) over.
Read Your Contracts
I know we’re all programmed to click “accept terms and conditions” without a second thought, but with circumstances constantly changing as our world adapts to the virus, it’s essential that you and your future spouse have your contingency plans up-to-date. As AJ Williams, Founder and Creative Director at Boston-based event planning company AJ Events, recommends, “When reading your contracts, make sure you have your planner and vendors develop a rescheduling contract or addendum, and to change the Force Majeure to include pandemics and decreased capacity due to government mandates.” This way, you won’t have to scramble to make things work any more than you’ve already had to.
See What Safety Precautions Your Vendors Are Taking
When you do end up walking down the aisle, you want to be sure all possible measures are put in place to ensure that your guests stay happy and healthy. AJ Williams reports that for all future events, his company “will require cleaning/sanitation measures from our vendors and venues working on our events and add sanitation efforts plus add supplies at attendee check-in to protect the safety of our work environment and your attendees while allowing us to continue to service our clients.” He adds, “We have created branded plexi walls on our bar and catering stations, adorable customized face masks with your favorite quote or funny message or emoji icon to include your signature style. Get creative while keeping safe.” So make sure you check with your vendors to see how they’re adapting to these (my brain: don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it) unprecedented times.
Enjoy Your Engagement
Though you’ve (understandably) been mentally designing your reception place cards since the moment you got a ring on your finger, take this unique opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy this extra time of being engaged to the love of your life. Of course, says Taylor Waxman of L.A.-based event design and production company KED & Co., “Changing your wedding date can be emotionally draining. Managing your friends and family travel plans, rescheduling your vendors to make sure everyone is available on the same day and overall reimagining a new date in a new year—you’ve been through it.”
When adjusting your wedding planning timeline, though, staying sane is essential. “Don’t over plan,” advises Waxman. “It’s very easy to focus on your wedding during this time, but our biggest advice is: don’t. Once you have your vendors and location rescheduled and all guests are alerted of the new date, take a step back to enjoy your engagement. Spend quality time with your partner, schedule outdoor picnics or Zoom dinners with family and friends, take this time to reconnect and appreciate what is around you.”
Make The Process Fun
Now that you’ve got some extra time to plan things out, you and your partner can hone in on achieving the wedding of your dreams. Sarah Kuhlberg, Creative Director at Colette’s Catering and Events, suggests that you “Cast aside what might be typical wedding traditions, and do what YOU really, truly want for your wedding. Explore bright colors, beautiful seasonal menus, wine flown in from your favorite winery, book a unique outdoor venue, mix and match your linen pattern choices, custom built backdrops from local artists, neon signage, etc. Now you have the time to really customize!”
While it’s easy to get overwhelmed with pressing health concerns on top of your color scheme choices, “Making the difficult decision to postpone your wedding should be the hardest part. Once you’ve done that, try to make the rest of the process fun,” advises Matt Ramirez, Senior VP of Marketing at Generation Tux. “Look at new wedding trends, new seasonal colors, and opportunities to update your wedding plans! Everyone in the wedding industry knows this is a tough time for couples, and we’re here to work with you. Take this time with your husband to design the look of your wedding suit or tux again, order some free swatches, and get a free home try-on delivered to the groom.”
If you want to get creative without overloading your plate, Taylor Waxman suggests designing your own thank you notes online, finding custom postage for your wedding invitations, registering for gifts, working on your wedding website, finalizing your guest list, and choosing meaningful songs to be played during your ceremony. She also suggested pulling inspiration images (as if you needed an excuse to add to the wedding Pinterest board you’ve had since college.). “Focus on your style and look, try not to go too deep in detail,” she recommends. “Keep this light and fun.”
Can’t Wait? Go For It!
As Nike says, “Just Do It.” If you and your S.O. are itching to get married ASAP, Sarah Kuhlberg suggests having a mini wedding and eloping in your backyard, and then scheduling a reception for a year later so you can celebrate your first anniversary with friends and family. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and feel free to “Create your dream celebration and know that this new wedding style is something we are all getting used to.”
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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
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)
Is it just me, or is 2020 giving a whole new meaning to the entire concept of anxiety? No amount of chronic overthinking could have prepared me for this level of chaos. Coronavirus is scary. Travel restrictions are scary. And a bride having to consider postponing her wedding due to these, or another related event? Downright terrifying.
We’re all dealing with a lot right now, but figuring out if you should postpone your wedding is another stressor that more and more couples are dealing with as the CDC recommends canceling any gatherings of over 50 people for the next eight weeks and travel restrictions continue to get tighter. We all want to keep our family, friends, and loved ones safe and healthy, and many couples are now grappling with whether shipping their wedding party to another country (or state) is in everyone’s best interests—or if it’s even a possibility anymore. Having to consider postponing and/or rearranging the biggest day of your life to date is sh*tty, and no one can deny that. But, if that’s the boat you’re in and you’re looking for some solid tips on how to get it all done, you’re in luck—a concept none of us have experienced since, IDK, last year?
Let’s start with the fact that if you are considering postponing your wedding right now due to concerns about COVID-19, you are not alone. Other couples are canceling and moving things around, and if you’re like me and truly believe that misery loves company, take small comfort in knowing that. And it’s not just couples who are dealing with cancelation and scrambling; it’s also wedding vendors.
World-renowned wedding photographer Lucy Cuneo had a highly-anticipated Mexico wedding postponed last week. Popular elopement photographer Anni Graham is based out of the hard-hit West Coast and has had two weddings canceled so far, both based in Patagonia, Chile, with more upcoming weddings that are at risk of being postponed or canceled altogether. We’ve gathered advice for you from both of these experts on finding the best way forward and discovering alternative options for every aspect of your wedding day.
First things first: couples have to decide for sure whether they’re going to postpone, adjust, or move forward with their plans, and a big part of that decision can be based on the type of wedding itself. If you have a huge destination wedding planned for next week involving international travel for a large amount of guests (or even a wedding with more than 50 guests), that’s looking less and less likely. On the other hand, if you’ve got a backyard soiree lined up with your parents and fiancé as the only attendees, there’s a good chance you can still make that happen. Or, Lucy Cuneo puts it this way: “If a large proportion of your dearest guests will have trouble making it to your big day, or perhaps they will be risking their health traveling to celebrate, you may decide it’s best to postpone the celebration.” Along with following the CDC’s recommendations, Cuneo advises, “taking into account travel needs, number of attendees and age of attendees will provide the most clarity on how you need to adjust your wedding day.”
Making the initial decision to postpone can be the hardest part, but she also thinks couples will feel much less stressed once they’ve nailed down whether they’re postponing or moving forward. She adds, “Making a decision with confidence will allow you to have the clarity to move forward with your plan, whether it’s an adjusted plan or not.”
If you do decide that postponing is in the best interest of you, your fiancé, and your guests, anxiety can spike again when thinking about what your new wedding date will be. On the bright side, you don’t have to choose one immediately. Cuneo thinks it’s totally fine to take some time to really decide when you want to move forward, saying, “I’ve been encouraging my clients to remember that it is okay to make the decision to postpone without knowing when the later date will be. Many have spent months planning this big day. You’re not expected to come up with a solution in one week!” This is super comforting for a couple who is in the midst of group texting everyone they know to try and keep everyone informed and also check everyone’s availability. Updating your wedding website is also crucial at this point. It’s one of the easiest ways to connect to a large number of people at once. Even as you figure things out little by little, keeping your website as up to date as possible as you navigate will help you efficiently communicate with all your invitees in a way that doesn’t make you want to yank your hair out.
Speaking of yanking your hair out, let’s take a second to acknowledge all the non-refundable deposits you’ve probably put down. This has to be one of the most difficult parts of being forced to postpone your date, and it may not seem fair, but try to keep in mind that no one, literally no one, could have predicted the current challenges facing couples with spring wedding dates, including your vendors. Cuneo assures brides, “While you have not experienced this situation before, neither have your vendors, meaning we’re addressing this on a case by case basis and we are all working on how we can best support each other during this time.”
The good news about that is your vendors are still there for you and they will do all they can to work with you on an alternate date. Anni Graham says, “Coming from the wedding photographer’s perspective, we absolutely want to shoot your rescheduled or postponed wedding if possible. It’s a huge dent in our projected income for the year which has to be carefully anticipated as the ebb and flow of wedding income is and always will be inconsistent.” Try to contact your most crucial vendors and see if they have any dates free that could work for an adjustment (another tip for your peace of mind: try calling it an adjustment, instead of postponement. It’s slightly less depressing.) If your photographer and videographer, florist, and food/drink vendors can all commit to a new date later on this year and your closest family and friends don’t have any immediate protests, you have a starting point.
Hopefully making progress on your new plans is encouraging and gives you something new to look forward to. But, if you’re feeling majorly down in the dumps after deciding to reschedule, I feel you. Once you’ve got some tentative options in place and are feeling less immediate panic, try to do something with your fiancé that isn’t talking about how crappy a situation this is. It can be something totally simple, like ordering a ridiculous amount of takeout from your favorite local restaurant (bonus points for helping your local economy), or planning an updated honeymoon later in the year to make up for everything you’re dealing with now. Graham says, “Couples who have had to change their date should try to make the most of it! Spend the weekend together, do something special, eat cake, or do whatever might help.” It may not be what you had planned for your wedding weekend, but it might be comforting to be reminded that even if you’re adjusting your wedding timeline, having someone who still wants to marry you when you’re stuck in a tiny apartment together during a pandemic is still a major bonus.
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If nothing else, remember that despite the completely overwhelming feeling all of this has unleashed, it’s still your wedding, and your decision. You can even take this situation as an opportunity to tweak some of the details you were less-than-thrilled with now that you have extra time. This is a time to think hard about what’s most important to you as a couple on your big day. If that means the two of you heading down to the courthouse and having an impromptu ceremony, then go for it. Maybe you can make a midweek wedding work for you later on in the year. Cuneo says simply, “In the end, the most important people who need to feel good about the celebration you and your fiancé.” If you’re feeling like your 300-person extravaganza just isn’t the best idea right now with all the restrictions and risks in place, but you can’t imagine your big day without having the biggest party ever, then postpone and find another date. I promise you that the ones you love and want there most will work it out, and you’ll just have a little more time to finalize your reception playlist. (Making the best of things is a skill that will serve you well in your marriage, too, so there’s that.)
This chaos is all temporary, and it will pass. The important thing is to keep your wellbeing and your guests’ wellbeing top of mind right now, and plan a celebration that will be just as special in a few months as it would have been this spring.
If you have more questions or need help with any aspect of your wedding, WeddingWire has also set up a hotline and email you can reach out to at any time: (833) 998-2865 | [email protected]
Images: Tiko Giorgadze / Unsplash; betchesbrides / Instagram