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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To all my NY-based friends posting insufferable inspiring pictures of recently acquired diamond rings, I have a warning for you. You better make that marriage work, or the ring is going right back in your boyfriend’s pocket. (You hear that, Lala? Hold that $150k engagement ring CLOSE.) At least, that was the case for New York woman Jennifer Rutten, who was court ordered to return her $40,000 engagement ring to ex-fiancé Rodney Ripley last week. The couple split back in 2011, after being engaged for a little under a year. But due to some extremely
brilliant shady evasion tactics by Rutten, it took Ripley nearly five years in court to get this result. (I wouldn’t have spent five years in court with my ex for anything less than a million, but to each their own.) So, how did this get so drawn out? Let’s dig in.
From all accounts, it sounds like this couple was OD dramatic with everything they did. They fell in love while being halfway across the country from each other (Ripley in Wisconsin, Rutten in New York), but decided to get engaged anyway. What could go wrong, right? Rutten balled out on a 3-carat cushion-cut ring, and staged a proposal on the Brooklyn Bridge, a place that’s probably now ruined for both of them and makes inter-borough travel very difficult. For unknown reasons, they broke up less than a year later. Ripley asked Rutten to return the ring; Rutten’s response can essentially be summed up like this:
Rutten came up with a number of excuses over the years for why she wasn’t returning the ring. First, she claimed that she was “dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy” and didn’t have time for her former fiancé’s “harassment.” This could be very sad and true, but given the extent of Sandy’s damage is probably just a ridiculous lie, unless Rutten was living out on Long Island or in Jersey. But whatever, if given the option, I would definitely use a natural disaster as an excuse to hold on to jewelry too.
Rutten then tried the argument that the ring wasn’t worth enough to warrant legal action. But Ripley had taken out a $40,000 insurance policy, so she was kind of out of luck. Finally, she claimed in court that “ became more typically abusive, emotionally abusive” as the relationship went on. While I always want to take claims of abuse seriously, whether or not Riply was abusive has no bearing on her legal right to keep the ring. Finally, Rutten stated plainly that she was “angry” and “didn’t want to return it.” There it is. Don’t get me wrong, feeling angry and vindictive is v understandable, but most of us would just bury those feelings in ice cream instead of legal fees for a case you will almost definitely lose.
Ultimately, the judge ruled that she has 45 days to either return the ring or pay her ex the equivalent. If you learn anything from this, it should be following. According to NY state law, engagement rings are conditional gifts, and “if no marriage occurs, they must be returned.” So if you’re out there dating with the sole intent of putting a year’s salary on your finger, just make sure you actually get to the “I do.”
Images: Giphy (2); Jasmine Wallace Carter / Pexels