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
Once upon a time, the most challenging decisions a bride had to make were who would be a bridesmaid, who would walk her down the aisle, and how to get out of inviting her annoying college roommate who always dresses way too provocatively at events. Granted, none of that was easy and even back in the pre-coronavirus days, the wedding stress was out of control. Now, however, brides are faced with new hurdles after already going through the previous ones, the biggest of which is whether or not to have a virtual wedding, and how to go about doing it.
Since no one can go anywhere or be near each other, those 100+ people weddings are obviously out, but a virtual wedding isn’t necessarily cut and dry either. For a legal marriage, you need the essentials (license, officiant, exchange of promises, signatures, and sometimes witnesses). If you’re considering tying the knot on-screen, however, you might be confused about how to go about making that happen.
Since more and more couples are opting for virtual nuptials, we’re breaking down the hows, the whys, and the whats you need to have a legal and memorial Zoom wedding. “Everyone deserves to be excited and celebrate this most important milestone,” says Caroline Colavita, the director of e-commerce for Adrianna Papell. “You’ll want to feel like The Bride, not just another Zoom happy hour attendee.” From the legalities to the psychology behind ceremonies, here’s how to make your Zoom wedding feel just as, if not even more special than the in-person one you originally planned.
What/Who Do You Need
Wedding 101: Every state is different surrounding the rules and regulations of marriage. As any bride will tell you, part of the process is digging deep and figuring out what, exactly, you need to be legally wed in your state (or in the state you’re getting married in) because making it simple is not part of the process. Still, most places adhere to the basics. According to Martha Stewart Weddings, “A legal ceremony includes a signed, state-issued marriage license and ‘an exchange of promises.'”
In order to make that happen, you need to obtain a marriage license, have an officiant conduct the ceremony, exchange promises (this is usually where the “I do” portion of the ceremony comes in, but this could also be exchanging of rings or doing a handfasting), and getting the necessary signatures on your license before mailing it in. In some states, this means you need to have a couple of in-person witnesses there as well to sign your license and confirm that both parties actually like, want to get married. You know, the whole signed, sealed, delivered? That’s basically the essence of what’s got to go down to make your marriage legal, whether it’s virtual or in-person.
Where You Can Do This Virtually
The hurdle couples are currently having to face is that with courthouses and other state facilities closed, obtaining a marriage license and/or having a ceremony with a legal officiant can be difficult, if not impossible. Some states, like New York, are changing the rules to allow couples to have legally binding virtual weddings, in light of the pandemic. On April 25, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order which allows New Yorkers to not only obtain marriage licenses remotely, but also allows clerks to perform ceremonies via video calls.
In addition to New York, couples in Colorado are now able to apply for marriage licenses online, and couples in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County can obtain their licenses via video call in special circumstances. Some states have select drive-in hours for obtaining licenses or having a ceremony conducted by a clerk. Call your local office for your location-specific info.
If you managed to obtain your license before the world ended (and it’s still “good”—some last only days and some last months), you can have a willing family member or friend become ordained online through the Universal Life Church or the American Marriage Ministries. This will give them the authority to legally marry you in a non-denominational ceremony. That said, depending on your state’s regulations, your officiant and/or witnesses may need to be in person. (Just please, adhere to the six feet apart rule!) Call your local clerk office or visit their website for your county’s regulations.
A Commitment Ceremony
If your state has a freeze on marriage licenses or their doors are closed (and obtaining one virtually à la New York isn’t an option), that doesn’t mean you can’t have a ceremony to celebrate the big day. Just like your birthday month, when you’re a bride, you get to have as many GD celebrations as you want. That’s just like, the rules of marriage. If you can’t get the license but want to still make a commitment on your original planned date, have a ceremony anyway.
Without a license, you can have a commitment ceremony that feels just as magical, just be careful with how you word it. “A commitment ceremony, while lovely, is not legally binding and has no requirements. It is important that the couple or the officiant not use language to imply a legal marriage is occurring, as this can be construed as fraud,” Diane Smith-Hoban, executive director of the non-denominational officiant group Journeys of the Heart explained to Martha Stewart Weddings.
The only difference between the two ceremonies is that a commitment ceremony isn’t legally binding. But if that’s the day you want, have a ceremony and then sign the paperwork once you’re able. Just because it’s not at the same time, it doesn’t make it any less official. There are tons of tips online about how to have a commitment ceremony, but basically, you just can’t use language that says “you’re married.” Bonus? You don’t need an officiant or anything particular to make it work—it can be entirely your own.
How To Make It Special
View this post on Instagram
remember when our hardest decision was who to invite to our weddings? Now it’s which online streaming platform to use.😫 beautiful lake house corona elopement story submitted by @waverlyrood: “Our big wedding was planned in Savannah for April 18th but we had to postpone due to corona, so we had a tiny ceremony at my groom’s lake house – his brother officiated and just our parents were in attendance & friends over zoom!! We are so happy and can’t wait to celebrate with everyone in September.”
So, you’re having a virtual commitment ceremony, whether legally binding or not. THIS IS EXCITING, and don’t let anyone tell you any differently. “We are living during a key point in history and one of the most important moments of your adult life,” says Louisa Rechter and Alessandra Perez-Rubio, the Founders of Mestiza New York. “You will want to document every moment, tell your grandchildren about what happened that day, and pull out the dress you wore as a cherished family heirloom! It will be incredibly special and memorable.”
Utilizing rituals and wedding traditions, such as dances, music, dressing up, and dining, will literally help your mind understand you’re starting a new stage of your life.
Dress The Part: Whether you wear ~the~ dress or order something new, this is the time to get full-on glam. “Do a try-on session with your mom and/or maid of honor. Get their input just as you would at your local bridal salon,” suggests Colavita. Don’t be afraid to wear a non-traditional gown—this is about YOU feeling bridal. While Amazon has delayed shipping for non-essential items, other retailers, such as Rent The Runway, Adrianna Papell, and Mestiza are still fulfilling orders in a timely manner so you can get a gorgeous look in time for your Zoom ceremony.
Set The Stage: Pull out those Christmas lights, order some flowers from a local nursery, have some mimosas while getting ready, and light allllll of the candles. Just because your wedding is different than you originally planned, it doesn’t make it any less special. In fact, considering you’re facing the GLOBAL F*CKING PANDEMIC together and making the best of it, that kind of makes this even more special if you ask me. You’re like, very brave and very pretty. So, live it up! Decorate your space, put on those false lashes, play that perfectly curated prelude music.
Keep The Traditions: Always dreamed of having your dad walk you down the aisle, having your first dance with your hubby, or cutting the cake together? There’s no reason you can’t do all of those long-loved (or hated) traditions. Hell, being at home means you can be even more creative and do exactly what you want. Have a cardboard cutout of your dad made so he can walk down the hallway with you. Sew some dog bones on a garter and toss it to you’re pups after your S.O. removes it. Have a literal cake fight in your backyard. Do it all and do it exactly how you want because the only people that matter are you two.
Document The Experience: Zoom weddings are all the rage right now, so don’t hold back from documenting your day/prep just as you would with an in-person ceremony. Have a hashtag, have a bachelorette party, and spam your feeds with photos just as you would have originally. “Get a selfie stick with a tripod and timer so your significant other can capture the evening. You will want special photos to look back on,” advises Colavita. Just because the celebrations might look a little different, it doesn’t make them any less Insta-worthy.
Soak It Up: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This is still your day. This is still your wedding. This is still your marriage. Get dressed up, decorate your space, and have a staycation honeymoon right after. It might feel silly, but go over-the-top making your day feel memorable from home. Someday when you look back, you’ll remember how you started your love story during a very dark time in our history, and honestly? I can’t really think of anything more romantic than that.
Images: Eliza Szablinska / Unsplash; Giphy (3)
In this time of unprecedented uncertainty, at least one thing’s for sure: it’s not an easy time to be planning a wedding right now. Spring and summer brides are canceling or postponing their nuptials, but for brides with wedding dates further out into the future, wedding planning presents a different kind of challenge. Venues aren’t open, brick-and-mortar bridal stores are shuttered—but for those of you who cannot sit still and need to be doing something productive, never fear. In light of shelter in place orders, many bridal companies are offering ways to continue supporting their clients and help them plan for their special day, just virtually. From seeing full venues on your computer, getting free swatches, and even having a tux or gown delivered right to your front door, there are a number of ways that wedding vendors are adapting to these crazy times. Since there’s nowhere to go besides the couch, what better way to take advantage of your extra time than to plan your dream wedding? Whether you had to postpone your event, or your special day is in the near future, here are some virtual wedding planning tasks you can cross off your list without leaving the house.
Virtual tours provide the opportunity to tour venues when you’re unable to view them in person, like for instance, right now. Jenna Miller, Creative Director at Here Comes The Guide, says that during the COVID-19 quarantine, many wedding venues are offering personal site tours via FaceTime and Skype. She explains, “You can virtually ‘walk’ through the event spaces with the venue’s on-site coordinator, talk through what your wedding could look like at their location, and ask questions as they come up in real time.” If you don’t feel like talking to anyone or dealing with yet another Zoom call, Here Comes The Guide offers many virtual venue tours on their site with 360-degree videos that allow you to get a virtual feel of the space. I don’t know about you, but seeing venues from my couch with a glass of red seems pretty nice to me.
According to Kristen Maxwell Cooper, Editor-in-Chief of The Knot, bridal salon owners and designers are continuing to go the extra mile for their clients: “they know that shopping for ‘the dress’ is a special experience, and one of the most anticipated and exciting moments of wedding planning.” That’s why thousands of local bridal shops around the country are holding client meetings through FaceTime, Zoom, and Google Hangouts where they discuss the bride’s vision and virtually take her through the store. If you do have that “say yes to the dress” moment, many stores are offering to ship gowns directly to your home, if your wedding is taking place within the year.
Bridal retailer Brideside is taking the virtual shopping experience one step further with virtual styling appointments over Google Hangouts, where stylists will pull mood boards and can show swatches, screen share, and even try on gowns for brides to give them an idea of fit. Clients who book a virtual appointment at least five days in advance will get mailed complimentary color swatches to have on hand. And if you’re freaking out about your wedding budget getting totally nuked by the pandemic, don’t worry—Brideside’s virtual services are free (you just have to pay for shipping if you’re getting a try-at-home box delivered).
When it comes to fitting for a suit or tuxedo, Generation Tux offers a virtual fitting process that creates your fit using your specific height, age and weight, traditional pants size, age, and body type. These new virtual tools make getting your suit or tuxedo easier, and faster, than a traditional fitting. It’s already hard enough to get your fiancé out the door to try on suits, this way he doesn’t have to worry about doing anything other than picking out something
you like he likes.
I know this may not be the way you expected to plan your special day, but thanks to these amazing new technologies and companies, you can still plan your dream wedding while quarantined and potentially spending way too much time with your soon-to-be husband. Hang in there. You’ll wear that gorgeous gown for real soon enough.
Images: Louis Paulin, Shardayyy Photography, Charisse Kenion, Jason Briscoe / Unsplash; betchesbrides / Instagram