What a time to plan a wedding, right? Covid-19 has thrown a wrench is so many couple’s wedding plans. Ceremonies and celebrations that were scheduled during the height of lockdown were completely up-ended. And 2021 weddings are sure to look different than a “normal” wedding season.
From coast to coast (and continent to continent), couples are faced with a choice: cancel, postpone, alter or forge ahead as planned.
If you’re getting married during Covid-19, you’re not alone. I’m here with a few tips to help keep you sane while navigating this wild world of pandemic wedding planning.
1. Go Ahead and DO the Planning!
If you’re engaged and ready to start planning your wedding, then do! If a 2021 wedding is your dream, then plan for that. And if you’re planning beyond 2021, congratulations – you have a little extra time.
First things first. Set your date and book your vendors. Be sure to read your contracts carefully and have frank conversations about the “what ifs”.
Before booking, ask you vendors:
- What is your cancelation policy?
- Do you have any special Covid-19 related policies that will affect what we can and cannot do?
- What are your Covid-19 safety policies?
- What’s the deposit? When is the rest due? What happens to my deposit if I or you have to cancel?
- What happens to my deposit if your business closes?
Deep breath. I know that’s a lot and some of those questions are rather anxiety-inducing. My motto during Covid wedding planning is hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
2. Have a Plan B. Or, Several.
The advantage that you have over couples who had to postpone their wedding in the spring and summer of 2020 is that you know what could happen.
Even though you may want to, do not bury you head in the sand. Prepare for a worst-case scenario – let’s say a national lockdown or Covid outbreak in your wedding party (eek!) – as well as not-terrible-but-also-not-great scenarios, and then make contingency plans around them.
Possible scenarios might look something like this:
- Covid Improvement: If the world begins to feel “normal” again, do our plans change at all?
- Covid Remains Steady: If we see no improvement, does that change anything for us?
- Covid Risk Increases: If there’s a community Covid outbreak, do we need to change anything?
- Covid Risk Hits Close to Home: If we have an outbreak in our family or wedding party, what do we do?
What do Plan B, C and D look like? That’s up to you. For some couples, it might mean postponing their wedding to another date, or even another year. For others, it might be holding a minimony with just your closest loved ones and celebrating with a reception at a later date. And for some couples, it might mean canceling your huge wedding altogether and eloping instead!
3. Create a Timeline
Make yourself a decision-making timeline. This will help you feel in control and may help your middle-of-the-night racing thoughts ease up a bit.
It might look something like this:
- 12 Weeks Before Wedding: Do a gut-check. Has anything drastically changed? Right now, is there anything preventing you from having the wedding you’ve planned?
- 8 Weeks Before Wedding: Gut-check #2!
- 6 Weeks Before Wedding: Gut-check #3. Check in with your vendors. Communicate any changes to your guests.
- 4 Weeks Before Wedding: If you’re thinking about a Plan B, now’s the time to make the decision.
- 2 Weeks Before Wedding: Final big check-in. You’re almost there!
4. Communicate With Your Guests
Along with your timeline, put together a plan for communicating any changes to your wedding guests.
- A Change of Plans: If something fairly minor has changed – such as your wedding venue – and your wedding invitations have already gone out, communicate the change on your wedding website. It’s also a good idea to enlist your friends and family to spread the word through phone calls, emails and text messages.
- Wedding Postponement: If you’ve decided to postpone your wedding and reception to a later date, get the word out as soon as you’re able to. Again, your wedding website and word of mouth is a good option. Once you have your new date, send an official Change the Date card to each of your guests.
- Wedding Cancelation and Small Ceremony: Canceling your planned wedding and opting for a small ceremony is something we’ve seen so many couples do this year. If you’re canceling, make a phone call to each of your guests and let them know. They’re sure to be bummed to miss out on the fun, so send a wedding announcement and share your news once you’re officially married!
- Wedding Cancelation with a Reception Later: Lots of couples are holding a small ceremony and planning a wedding reception at a later, to-be-determined date. If this is you, send your wedding announcement and explain this to your guests. Once you have your reception date set, send a save the date followed up by a wedding reception invitation.
5. Be Flexible
And finally my best advice of all – be flexible. I have a feeling that if you’re planning a wedding during a global pandemic, you already possess this skill. In the end, you will be married! And, you’ll have a great story to tell!
Happy planning, brides and grooms! xoxo