How about them 2020 weddings, huh? Thanks to the Virus That Must Not Be Named, celebrations of all kinds look different this year. With state regulations and new reports coming out each day about hotspots and sick celebs, it’s clear COVID is not only here to stay, but it’s here to f*ck with your big day for a long time as well. Because for couples getting married during a global pandemic, pre-wedding stress is at an all-time high.
Not only do engaged folks have to budget for things like gloves, makes, and hand sanitizer, but chances are they’ve had to postpone their events (multiple times, in some cases) and the end results don’t look anything like the celebration we all dreamed off since watching Bride Wars when we were in middle school. There are a lot of aspects that majorly suck, but one of the biggest is the fact that some of your closest friends or family might not get to be there on the big day.
Whether they’re high risk, morally opposed to big gatherings during a pandemic, or can’t risk catching anything due to work or their general love of being alive and not ill, odds are there will be a few VIPs who have to change their RSVPs from “hell yessss” to “uh, actually. No.” As someone who’s recently faced a lot of “you’re the worst” backlash after RSVPing “no” to every wedding in 2020 (with plenty advance notice, mind you—I’m not going texting the bride the day before saying I can’t make it), here’s how to deal when your guests decide that your big day just isn’t worth it rn.
Remember: There’s A Literal Pandemic Happening
Not to state to obvious here, but like, the whole coronavirus thing is still a big deal. As bars, restaurants, and sex clubs open back up, you have to remember: It’s not because we’re any safer. It’s because places need to make money. Your friends who are diligent about avoiding crowds, keeping their distance, and staying home when possible aren’t being dramatic. They just like, you know, want to stay alive and want to keep their friends and family alive and healthy. While it might seem like a personal affront for them not to risk their safety to watch you marry some guy you drunkenly met at a college bar, it’s not. It’s a literal matter of not wanting to catch or spread a potentially deadly disease. Keep that in mind before giving them the cold shoulder after they give you the news.
Keep Your Cool
Yes, your guests choosing not to go to your wedding is upsetting. But the thing is, they’re not wrong here. Having an event—any event of any size—is a risk right now. Your guests wanting to stay home aren’t in the wrong here. While people always have the option to RSVP “no” to weddings, the whole virus excuse is a really good one—and the fact that they’re courteous enough to (hopefully) politely tell you they can’t attend without lecturing you about safety practices is a win. Remember: They could send you pages of data about why having a wedding rn is risky, so consider yourself spared.
So, instead of bitching out your friends who don’t feel comfortable attending, trying to remain calm. Tell them you’re bummed but understand (assuming you understand, of course) and take some time to mourn. It’s a really hard time to be getting married, but creating strife in your relationships won’t make things any easier. Be kind and compassionate and chances are they’ll still send you a gift.
Offer Virtual Options
I know Zoom weddings seem sooooooo summer 2020, but not only are they still a thing, but they’re a great option for guests who don’t feel comfortable celebrating in person. Make sure to set up virtual links so anyone who doesn’t feel great about being in crowds can still be a part of the big day. No, it’s not ideal, but as someone whose maid of honor couldn’t be at her wedding pre-COVID due to pregnancy complications, the event can still be just as special. Make cardboard cutouts of your non-attending VIPs. Set up multiple Skype stations that guests can access so they can see different parts of the party. FaceTime any besties who can’t make it as you’re getting ready. This way you can still feel the love, and your guests can feel included from home.
Keep Your Priorities Straight
I know I’ve said this before, but if you’ve scrolled through Instagram, chances are you’ve seen people living their lives like a virus isn’t still running rampant through America. Yes, weddings are about dresses and flowers and attention, but mostly they’re supposed to be about marrying the person you love. Well, that and getting a KitchenAid mixer, of course. The point is, it sucks that this once-in-a-lifetime event is happening during a pandemic, but you still get to get married (something generations of people in interracial or same-sex relationships didn’t have the option of doing), you still have friends (unless you’re a total monster to everyone who says they can’t attend), and you’ll still get to rock that overpriced diamond band. If you can make it out of this with your relationships intact and your romantic bond strong, you’ll be able to get through anything.
Plan An Event Post-COVID
It won’t be the same as having the giant wedding you originally planned, but let’s be real: The world is going to look different after this. No one is used to going into an office anymore and we haven’t worn real pants in forever so like, yeah. That ship has sailed. With so many couples having to downsize their weddings, vow renewals or post-wedding parties are 100% going to be a thing in a year or two (just like how babymoons became something to do). If you shun everyone who didn’t come to your covid wedding now, you won’t have nearly the guest list you’d like when there’s a vaccine and you can have another party.
The point is: Yes, this sucks, but your friends aren’t bad people for not coming to your wedding rn. Don’t be a d*ck and hopefully, we can all go back to grinding on the dance floor to “Get Low” while our grandparents watch in horror someday soon.
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Image: Analise Benevides on Unsplash; betchesbrides / Instagram
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
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.”
Images: Natasha Fernandez / Pexels; Britelitetribe.com; @betchesbrides / Instagram
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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)
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
Every bride dreams of the moment she’ll step onto that pedestal at the bridal salon, tears in her eyes, as she tells her friends and family this is the dress. Unfortunately, with everything going on, that’s not a possibility right now—at least not in person. On the bright side, at least we don’t have to go hunting through racks and deal with bridal entourages who feel a little too comfortable speaking their minds, but in all seriousness, it sucks not having the wedding experience you’d been planning out since you were little. But just because you can’t step foot into the bridal boutique you’ve been stalking since before you got engaged, doesn’t mean you’re going to have to get married in your pajamas. (Unless you want to, in which case, respect.) In light of lockdowns and social distancing orders, many bridal companies are now offering virtual bridal appointments. Here’s everything you need to know about ordering a dress during the pandemic.
Speak To A Stylist
At the very least, now you have extra time to scour Pinterest and bridal sites to really pinpoint your preferred style and silhouette. Tara Healy, Co-Founder of LA-based bridal brand Tara Lauren, says brides-to-be should “take advantage of all of the extra downtime at home to sit with a bridal stylist, chat about your personal style and gather ideas on what you’re liking.” She adds, “Even if you’re not 100% comfortable with making your purchase remotely, it will give you a much clearer idea of what you’re leaning towards so that when you’re ready for that in person appointment you have your top picks ready to go and a clear plan.” So don’t worry about your screen time usage increasing 150%, since it’s all in the name of research.
Set Up A Virtual Appointment
If your wedding is coming up later in the year or next year, you can still purchase a dress even though bridal boutiques in your state may not be open, as many shops are offering virtual consultations. Bridal retailer Brideside launched virtual styling appointments for bridal parties, allowing clients to video chat with a stylist to look at swatches, see gowns, go over mood boards, and discuss fit.
At Lovely Bride, a bridal shop open in 18 cities around the country, virtual appointments kick off with a mood board, and although trying on dresses in-person isn’t possible right now, founder Lanie List says, “if a bride is on a tight timeline, we can ship her the #1 pick on her wishlist. That way she can make the decision without the stress of long gown lead-times.” It may not be the picture-perfect moment you had envisioned, but companies are devising ways to find you your dress and retain as much of the in-person experience as possible.
Know Your Options
The biggest overarching theme here is that brands and vendors completely understand that nothing is business as usual anymore, and are adjusting their policies to account for all the chaos. For example, Birdy Grey, a direct-to-customer bridesmaid dress brand, has extended their return policy until the end of May for their brides. They’re also offering free color swatches delivered straight to your door to help choose color palettes. Brideside will also send color swatches to all clients who book a virtual styling appointment at least five days in advance. Lee says that, “Unlike most bridal brands that are made-to-order, we hold inventory, so our dresses are in-stock and ready to ship,” adding, “Thankfully, we haven’t experienced any COVID19-related disruption to our shipping lead times, so all of our bridesmaid dresses deliver in 10 days (or less!) worldwide.”
Try On At Home
This should come as a surprise to no one, but many bridal brands and stores are now offering try-at-home options. Grace and Ivory, an online ecommerce bridal brand, launched a try-at-home program “so brides have another option when shopping for their wedding dresses,” says Founder and Creative Director Tina Wong Zysk. For $25, you just pick your style and size range and the gown comes with clips, measuring tape, a try-at-home guide, and a prepaid return shipping label when you’re ready to send it back. If you love the dress and decide to purchase it, Zysk says, “we follow up for measurements and custom options and your dress will be crafted and delivered in just 3 to 4 months.” Keep this timeline in mind when ordering your gown. She advises “that you order 5-6 months before your wedding so we can ensure you have the dress 6-8 weeks before your big day.”
If You Already Ordered A Dress Before COVID-19
If your dress is delayed due to COVID-19 and you’re worried it won’t get to you in time for your big day, don’t worry. Bridal companies are going above and beyond to accommodate brides who are in need of wedding attire in the next few months. The first thing you need to do is review the shop’s policies, as many are likely to have systems in place for these types of situations. If not, due to the crisis, bridal companies are more likely to work with each client on a case-by-case basis. If you have a wedding planner, definitely reach out as they are more likely to have the resources and contacts to help you in this scenario.
Jeannette Tavares, Principal and lead wedding planner of premier event planning company EVOKE Design and Creative, says planners are going above and beyond for their brides, working with their industry contacts and “accessing floor samples, rushed alterations, borrowed gowns and more.” If your dress will not be coming in time for your wedding day due to issues caused by COVID-19, Tavares proposes, “Reach out to family and friends that have their wedding dresses in boxes and ask them to pull them out just for you!” It might be even more special that way. She adds, “Once you receive them, set up virtual try-on sessions with everyone (a fun way to include everyone that has come to help you).” If borrowing a dress isn’t something you want for your special day, or none seem to fit, Jeannette recommends getting family and friends together to help you create your own dress. If you have the time during quarantine, how special would that be? Tavares suggests “find someone who can sew and create your own beautiful gown. There is something pretty special about a ‘something borrowed’ wedding dress.”
If there is no way your dream dress will come to you in time, take the time you need to mourn. While this isn’t ideal and we know you were beyond excited for that dress, there are alternatives you can look into. One option is BHLDN, an online and in-store wedding shop by Anthropologie. For brides in a time crunch and who need their dress ASAP, or their dress is delayed and will not come in time, BHLDN offers an entire collection of last-minute wedding dresses that are ready to be shipped. Each dress offers a detailed style guide as well as an option to speak with a stylist to help find your perfect size. In addition, the site offers a style guide video explaining exactly how to measure yourself for their dresses. All you need is a measuring tape. The dresses are guaranteed to ship to you within 24 hours and they do offer an express overnight option. You can wipe the sweat off your forehead now. Phew.
Above all, Shelley Brown, Senior Fashion & Beauty editor at The Knot, says, “The most important thing to remember during these unprecedented times is that communication is key. If you’re just beginning the shopping process, contact your local bridal salon to see what options they have available. Local bridal salons are doing everything in their power to continue supporting brides during this time, from hosting virtual consultations to sending dress samples for at-home try ons. If you’ve already ordered your dress, check in with your salon regarding arrival date and inquire about options for alterations during this time.” You’re not going to be left hanging, so just reach out and ask.
Images: Jonathan Borba, Charisse Kenion, Tron Le, James Bold / Unsplash