How to plan your wedding during a pandemic
While weddings for the time being do look very different during this unprecedented pandemic season, it doesn't mean planning or marrying your best friend is cancelled. You just have to go into this planning season ready with a few plan B's. These plans are what it would look like if restrictions did affect your wedding. Being prepared going into this season means you will be more equipped to handle any changes that might affect your day, and also put you at ease because you've done the right thing mentally preparing yourself in having a solid plan.
If you prefer video you can watch the one above otherwise I have written out all content in the post below.
1. Plan for a weekday wedding
If you are planning to have your wedding in the next year or two I would recommend you go with a weekday wedding. It may sound strange at first, however it's going to become a lot more popular in the next two years. Why? Many couples might be in the same position as you, wether recently engaged and planning for the first time, or having to postpone. Many couples have already taken up a lot of the popular Friday, Saturday and Sunday dates for next wedding season. Note that because it is becoming more common it's not going to be out of the ordinary if you are inviting people to a weekday wedding.
A major highlight of a weekday wedding is that it's most likely going to give you all your preferred vendors, with many already getting booked out on popular wedding dates, this leaves them free during the week (for you!). This also increases the chances of you getting ALL the vendors you want and love for your day.
If you are postponing your wedding and already had vendors booked, this helps a ton. With many of them being inundated with being booked up most of their weekends already due to the pandemic, a weekday wedding means you still get to likely keep them and the money you have already spent on them.
2. Create clear communication with your guests!
(orrrr just get rid of the guests and elope - you know I'll have your back 100%)
You're navigating a lot during this season, don't put yourself in the position to answer every text or DM about your wedding. While you love everyone invited, it's not fair to put yourself in the line of questioning while you are at the same time trying to figure everything out yourself. You can create a way to have open and constant communication with those you are inviting, without having to chat to each person individually.
A very popular way is to create a wedding website, It's essentially for all your guests to click on and find all the information about your wedding, including FAQ's and any changes. I believe you usually have to pay for them so an alternative option is to create a facebook group or even a private instagram for your guests to follow and receive fun updates.
Keep in mind that not everyone uses social media, but everyone has an email. So another way to navigate this is to get an email list of your guests (potentially in the RSVP process) and update them that way. Flodesk is great if you want to create custom practical emails, that are pretty at the same time.
3. Deal with your emotions (& come out stonger)
This isn't an easy season, but you are doing so so well - how do I know that? Because it's not everyday you are faced with a worldwide pandemic (definitely not usually on the list of things to potentially go wrong on your wedding)
ANY feelings you have are completely valid and I want to highlight that. You are allowed to care about your wedding and a global pandemic at the same time, and you should feel zero guilt (if you feel any) about how it has affected your wedding. It's really important for you to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about how you are going.
Just listen to each other and make each other feel heard, understood and validated (even if you don't understand their point of view! everyone processes differently)- there's no right or wrong way for how you are feeling emotionally and it's good to get it out there, the sooner you do this the sooner you can keep moving forward and create a positive situation in light of everything (if you can't change it, beat it - am I right?)
5. Find a venue that offers outdoor options!
Opt for a venue that offers both indoor and outdoor options and create a wedding layout for both, so either one could work for your day. This helps you to be prepared in the face of any potential restrictions, or changes from your government & gives you peace knowing you are setting yourself up for success.
Some couples are opting to save their main (and larger venue) for 'post-pandemic' celebrations, and having a minimony (mini ceremony) or eloping now. You can still get a beautiful location for your elopement, and not have to spend a lot of money. In instances like this, I highly recommend booking an Airbnb, it will be a lot cheaper than a venue and also gives you outdoor + indoor options in case of weather change. There are some pretty spectacular Airbnb's out there, and even the expensive ones will be the fraction of a cost of a wedding venue. You could then go ahead and hire a private chef and make the day super special for you two.
6. Plan to have a sit down reception!
This is really helpful for reducing physical contact between your guests so everyone isn't touching the same serving plates and utensils. While it is usually cheaper to hold a buffet or cocktail style reception, restrictions might reduce the amount of guests you can have anyways. Causing you to have less guests and evening out to the same amount as if you had a buffet (or just reduce your costs all together if you planned a sit down dinner initially).
The second and crucial part of this is; seating. While normally seating charts might be based off friendship groups or families, it's now less social and more about keeping people safe who may have weaker immune systems or work in jobs that put them in contact with people who do. For example not seating someone who travels frequently for work next to someone who works in aged care. You can ask for details like this in your RSVP and if you have a planner - pass them onto them. Your guests will appreciate the extra care you are taking to ensure everyone feels safe.
7. Give out identifiable labels for people who want no physical contact
And no - I don't mean tacky name labels like when you have Uni orientation haha.
Have the option for guests to pick up something like a flower they can pin to their clothes, or some ribbon they can wear around their wrist. These identifiers can mean 'I'm happy to talk but please keep your distance.' At a wedding it's inevitable there will be people who aren't going to fully abide with social distancing, especially with lots of friends and family around.
Giving out an identifier like this will help ensure the people who don't want physical contact are respected. This stops people needing to ask each time they start a new conversation and also helps people to be more aware when interacting with others, once again just creating a safe and caring environment for all your guests.
8. Shift your timeline if you have rescheduled to another season
If you are now doing your wedding in a different season (eg. your wedding has moved from spring to summer) make sure to re assess your timeline to accomodate. Sunset will be a few hours earlier or later depending on the season, so make sure you haven't used your summer timeline for a winter wedding (or you might find ourself saying your vows in the dark!). Check in to make sure your venue and vendors know the new timeline and are able to accomodate for the change!
9. Set up a live stream for those who won't be in attendance.
Prepare to live stream your wedding for people who potentially won't be able to come because of travel bans or people who can't put themselves at risk because of their jobs, or health. If you chat to your videographer they should have a really great solution with many companies adding on live streaming to their packages in the current climate.
If you haven't planned for a videographer it's a simple workaround, get a tripod for your phone and live stream on facebook or instagram. Also note that you can expand live streaming past your ceremony and into the reception so people are able to experience the whole day with you.
10. Hire a good videographer and photographer to tell your story well for the people not present!
In a time like we are now it is so important to hire a professional team who can capture your wedding story in it's entirety. These are the memories you are going to get to show your friends and family who couldn't make it, to show people your love made it in the face of a pandemic! Photo help you capture still images that you can print out and hold tangible memories to pass down to your kids. While video will be able to tell your story in an emotive way, so those who weren't there, feel like they were.
I always love to tell people that their photos and videos appreciate in value over the years, the price you pay will not matter because at the end the memories are priceless to hold onto and celebrate years down the track. Do it. Invest in yourself. It will always always be worth it. Feel free to reach out to me using the button below if you want someone along on your day who will be able to tell your story the way it deserves to be.
11. Use your wedding stationary to set expectations on how your day will run!
Wether you have an online RSVP or physical invitations, incorporate and extra page that will go over how you will be ensuring that social distancing will occur at your wedding. For example if you plan to use the 'label' tip earlier in this article and you are going to have something for your guests to pick up to show they don't want any physical contact, include that in the sheet.
This is going to help set expectations so guests know how they should approach your wedding and it also will help give peace to those who might be worried about the current climate, ensuring they also feel looked after.
You've got this. Make sure to work through your emotions about having to postpone or push back your wedding, so you can then move forward in a positive light. Many of the changes might be affecting the "aesthetics" of your original wedding plans but at the end of the day it is stripping it back to reflect and think about what is most important.
You are doing this in the first place because you love each other and want to celebrate that, together. With many couples opting for smaller ceremonies it is putting that focus and that value on their relationship as a first priority to them. Then they can celebrate later with friends and family which can be a second priority - making the celebration all the more sweeter as many people will be looking forward to it.
"Melissa is an intimate wedding and elopement photographer based in Melbourne Australia. Regularly featured and praised for her candid and emotion filled photos, she is a must to book for your celebration"
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