You are about to begin one of the most exciting journeys of your life, so have fun with it! There are so many boxes that can be checked off right from your couch, so we'll give you some tips on how!
Take a second. Breathe. Most importantly don't forget to celebrate! These are times where you focus on what is truly important - your love that can get you through anything. You. Are. Engaged! This is exciting! Don't let anything steal your thunder, and take this time knowing that you are stronger for going through it together.
Now that that's out of the way, let's look at the facts. Most importantly, your wedding will be wonderful—no matter when it is. We know you have faced uncertainty, delays, and more questions than answers. Whether you have been planning your wedding for a few months, a few weeks, or just got engaged, a reaching out to someone experienced in the wedding industry can help you navigate planning your wedding in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
2. SET YOUR BUDGET
You set a budget for a reason, stick to it! As we said in tip #1, this is an exciting time, and with exciting times comes the urge to get carried away. Set your budget by reminding yourself what matters most to you both. It is okay to be firm with your choices, and having a written budget is a great reference point to look back on when you need guidance. That way when your soon-to-be mother-in-law asks to import that one fancy Chardonnay you have budgetary backup to say no.
Setting your budget helps with more than keeping you from entering your next stage in life in debt, it also helps with the whole planning process! We recommend that all of our couples have a conversation about what a realistic budget would be, the time of year you want to get married (many venues charge different prices based on the season), and your goal headcount. Even though large gatherings are currently on pause, venues, caterers, and other vendors are still booking out 12-18 months in advance. Good rule of thumb is to move forward with a plan so you are ready for any curveballs that life throws at you.
3. GATHER INSPIRATION & CREATE YOUR VISION
Start with the vision. With everything happening right now, it may be challenging to lock in vendors or a location. So this a great time to focus on what your vision can be! Ask yourself questions like:
1)What’s your wedding color palette?
2)Do you have a vibe you are going for?
3)What kind of menu do you want to serve?
4) Are there any special requests you have not verbalized to your partner? Dance lessons? Nixing the garter toss? This is your time to communicate with what your ideal day is.
Once you have your vision laid out, then you can remember Covid-19 exists and additional planning may be necessary with vendors. Just remember, if you think of the hurdles before you even have a chance to create your vision, you will feel only stress and your vision will never have a chance to come to life. So start on Pinterest, inspiration boards, even a basic internet search is a great start! Crafting the vision for your wedding is something you can do on your own, in your own time, from the comfort of your home. It’s the perfect way to plan your wedding under the current conditions.
4. PICK A DATE
Though it might make you uneasy to pick a date given the uncertainty of the pandemic, choosing a day far in advance will give you 2 things: vendor confirmations and something to look forward to! The beauty of a wedding is it's YOURS. Your schedule, your rules. Do not feel pressured to pick a date within a year of your engagement, just pick what works for you with your circumstances. The farther out the wedding, the more time you have to plan and let the current pandemic situation play itself out. Maybe you want the opposite, something small and intimate in the immediate future. This is great too! Once you set your vision (see Tip #3!), this will give you an idea of what date to pick and that will open the next steps in planning for you. Venues and vendors are still booking weddings no matter what, so as soon as you pick a date you can move forward with planning duties.
5. HIRE A PLANNER OR DAY- OF-COORDINATOR
Let's break down a common misconception: a wedding planner and a wedding coordinator are two different things. Many people think hiring a wedding planner is something "extra" only needed for the most extravagant weddings, but it could not be further from the truth! Mainly in the middle of the pandemic, a planner is simply a guide to help you navigate something completely new, helping you arrange your perfect day in a way that is the most efficient and safest for everyone.
A day-of coordinator is a service where you have someone there to help you the day of your event. In traditional wedding duties, this can cover everything from decor set up (since you'll be busy getting ready for the big moment!) to helping clean up at the end of the night post send off. In the world of Covid-19, this can also mean setting up your hand sanitizer stations, helping place masks for guests, or even making sure your ceremony chairs are socially distanced.
If there was ever a time to hire a planner or coordinator, it’s now. You hire a planner for the exact circumstances we are in currently- when everything is hitting the fan and nothing makes sense. We have been advocates for countless couples in battling venue restrictions, reworking contracts, and redoing timelines with unpredictable guests counts.
Whether you decide to go with a wedding planner or day-of-coordinator, you will get some valuable assets for your day:
1. Experience of an expert to help you navigate the uncertainty that is the pandemic
2. Planners and Coorindators will fight for your wedding vision and keep everything on track
3. Planners in particular will save you tons of money by not making costly mistakes (see Tip #2 on Budget!)
4. Planners and Coordinators gives valuable advice and guidance in tricky situations
5. You will have someone there for you the day of to serve as a point contact. While you are living your best life, someone else will be worrying about taking out the trash, maintaining CDC guidelines, and everything else that comes with a wedding.
6. BEGIN MEETING WITH VENDORS VIRTUALLY
You are not the only one having to adjust to the "new normal" (we hate that saying too), vendors also are having to modify contracts and their way of going about business. Some vendors may have longer response times—and less availability. With so many people cancelling or postponing weddings, many vendors are overwhelmed right now with adjusting their calendar, so it might take them longer than normal to get back to you. The more flexible you can be with your availability, the easier it will be to connect with vendors.
If you’re currently working with a vendor and trying to figure out a new date, details, etc. try to be patient. They’re likely doing this with many clients and are navigating the situation as best they can. However if they make accommodations that you are not satisfied with, make sure you make your opinion known so you can both come to a better agreement together. Flexibility on BOTH sides is important, including contract updates to accommodate the Covid era. Our first suggestion is to read the entire contract as thoroughly as possible and ask as many questions as you need to until you understand everything clearly. If you’re not comfortable with a portion, make your opinion known.
"But how can I do all of this while quarantined?" Virtual meetings are a lifesaver! Organize virtual meetings with all of your vendors so you can still have that face to face interaction while maintaining space. Being able to talk with them will help you make an informed decision on the best pros for your wedding day. Once you have your vendors secured, continue meeting with them virtually to ensure communication is consistent, which is a key step in planning a wedding during Covid-19.
For vendors, one of our biggest recommendation is ask all of your important questions from the very beginning. For example, ask questions like "What if our date comes but we are only allowed X number of guests?" (this is a big one for caterers!) or "what if we have to postpone again?" Your vendors are here to stand by you, and they should e ready with answers to those questions. While the future is still uncertain in the industry, it's best to address any possible issues upfront to eliminate any miscommunications down the line.
7. REMAIN OPTIMISTIC
This rings similar to Tip#1. Do not give up hope! Follow the tips on this list, create your perfect vision, and walk through the steps to make it happen. Just because there are unexpected twists in the road does not mean it has to be a negative experience. The planning process doesn’t change, and it can still be just as fun. Just remember, you can still have an amazing photographer, florist, caterer, etc. no matter the size of your guest list. It’s important to focus on the real meaning of the day, marrying the love of your life! We promise, the process will all be worth it.