In times of change, we look towards the experts of our world for guidance. Covid-19 has and will continue to impact the wedding industry in a myriad of ways – and no one knows that better than couples getting married in 2020. Even in the best of times I always recommend hiring a wedding planner, but during the Coronavirus pandemic it is essential. A planner will guide you through the process and will ensure that you are safe, secure, and that, in the worst case scenario, you’ll not only be able to postpone your wedding easily and efficiently, but that your postponed wedding will truly be even better than you had initially planned. To lead you through this process, the incredibly talented destination wedding planner, Rachael of Rachael Ellen Events, has graciously put together this comprehensive Coronavirus Wedding Planning Guide to help make sure that your wedding is perfect – no matter what.
Rachael Ellen Events explains, “With so much uncertainty in the world, so many brides are left wondering what to do next and when to do it. When do they need to make an official decision on keeping their date, postponing it, or switching to an elopement? What is the correct work flow when changing your date? We break it all down for you below.
While there are no concrete answers, we recommend making a decision on your wedding date – to postpone or to notify your guests of a change (elopement, small family celebration etc.) – three months before your planned wedding date. While certain circumstances may arise causing you to make the call on a shorter time frame, we feel that 3 months allows the proper amount of time to reschedule with your vendors, let your guests know, and make a new plan.
We are advising many of our clients to have a plan A, B, and C (and sometimes D) in place. If your wedding is taking place in 2020, keeping your date would be plan A. Plan B would be a postponement for later in the year of 2020. Plan C would be a postponement for 2021. And Plan D would be changing the plans entirely. Even if you settle on Plan A, be sure that you have Plans B-D in place so that if the occasion arises, you can plug in that plan and press go. Meaning, know your vendor’s availability for the later date in Plan B. Know if they will allow you to push to 2021 for Plan C. Know what it would look like for each vendor and plan if you changed your wedding scope entirely. Create a breakdown that factors in all of these details – cost, availability, pros and cons, immediate action items within each plan and go from there. Knowing what your options are and what it’ll take to pull them off will be hugely valuable when making the call.
If you do decide to postpone, change, or cancel your date, what do you need to do first?
The first thing you need to do is check with all of your vendors. Presumably, at this point you have a good grasp on your contracts with each so you know if they are allowing you to postpone with no penalty. I recommend making a chart that lists each vendor and possible date. With each available date, fill the box with green and fill each unavailable date in red. This way, once you have the available dates from each of your vendors, you will have a clear visual which dates work for everyone or almost everyone. As soon as you have that set, move forward with contract revisions. Even if your vendor doesn’t require a new contract, we recommend requiring a new signed agreement for your new date.
If you are postponing without a concrete new date, we recommend working with your invitation designer to create a digital announcement to send to all of your guests letting them know of the change. As soon as you have the new date, you can send a new paper invitation or another digital announcement. If you know your new date off the bat, notify your guests as soon as you can via email or formal invitation and keep your wedding website updated.
So now, you have your new date, with all of your vendors (hopefully,) and your guests have been notified. With the logistics out of the way, you have many things to consider! Scroll down to continue reading our Coronavirus Wedding Planning Guide.
First and foremost, decide if you want to get married now or later. Just because your wedding celebration is postponed doesn’t mean your marriage ceremony has to be.
If you are opting to go ahead and get married minus the big celebration for now, you can still make the day feel special by including elements from the wedding you originally planned (flowers, cake, first dance, wedding song, etc.) We love the idea of creating an alternative wedding concept for this type of marriage ceremony. Save your dress for your planned reception later on, but find an awesome short dress to wear for the ceremony. If you were opting for a lush, full bouquet for your planned party, choose a petite posy bouquet for this private event! I suggest making this all about love, spontaneity, and your personalities. Don’t make this a lesser version than everything you had planned. Find a way to make it feel special and embrace how different it will be from your eventual larger celebration. Take photos, dance to your favorite song, try out a bridal makeup tutorial, wear awesome impractical shoes, and make the most of this ceremony without taking away from your plans for your other celebration.
Coronavirus Wedding Planning Guide Pro Tips:
- If you are sharing this special day with a few close family members or friends and you want to celebrate with dessert, wedding cake might not be the most sanitary pick. Consider your favorite cookies, macarons, or mochi to commemorate the occasion.
- Focus on what matters the most and the commitment you and your spouse are about to make, at the end of the day that will mean the most.
- Virtually include extended family and friends by using Zoom or Facetime if you are okay having your ceremony broadcast. If not, connect with family members after to introduce yourselves as husband and wife.
- Make sure to have a photographer and videographer present no matter how small the celebration. These will be the items you can share with family and friends to include them if they can’t physically be there.
Or, if you are opting to wait this out and continue with your celebration plans for next year, this can be a beautiful opportunity to re-evaluate what you want with your wedding. Were you planning a huge wedding with hundreds of guests? If you sit back and realize that no longer feels right to you, you have every right to condense to a smaller destination experience. Just because you are pushing your date back doesn’t mean everything has to stay the exact same. Inviting and hosting a smaller group of people to the French Countryside, a Villa in Tuscany, or an Island hopping experience in Greece could be just the right fit for you! Consider what really matters and what you were most disappointed about missing from your original plans and find a way to fit it in!
Alternatively, if you choose to keep your plans the same just at a later date, you will have ample time to make sure those plans are perfect! Perfect that getting ready playlist. Schedule those bi-weekly facials leading up to your big day – no matter what it may be, you have the time so take advantage of it! Below are a few of our favorite ideas of how you can continue to plan and enjoy even if your planning is already complete!
- Perfect your wedding getting ready playlist
- Write personalized notes to each of your guests and vendors thanking them for their support, love, and talents
- Break in your wedding shoes! Dancing around the house in your wedding heels will make a much more comfortable experience for your actual wedding day. Your feet will thank you!
- Take on a beauty regimen you didn’t have time to before. Maybe it’s a plan to glowy skin! Or possibly you give your lashes and nails a break from faux additions for a few months. Use this time to feel like the best version of you!
At the end of the day, your wedding will be one of the most special days of your life no matter when or where it takes place. Allow yourself to feel all of the feelings. You can be disappointed! This is a really tough situation. But also allow yourself to see the silver lining. That can come in many forms – a new amazing private elopement dress, changing plans to a destination experience, the change to save up one more year for your dream honeymoon… the list goes on! Find the little places that you can continue planning and enjoying your time as a bride. It will make your day that much sweeter when it comes and however it comes. At the end of it all, you will be married to the love of your life, and nothing can stop that.”
A big thank you to the amazing Rachael Ellen Events for creating this incredibly helpful and comprehensive Coronavirus Wedding Planning Guide. If you are planning a destination wedding and looking for an incredible wedding planner to guide you through every step of the way, reach out to Rachael today!