WEDDING PLANNING: COVID-19 ADVICE FOR COUPLES
2020 for me was looking like my busiest year yet in my business, it an epic year for couples to choose for their weddings. I looked at my calendar full of incredible wedding days, amazing couples and a number of my favourite venues and many I had been looking forward to working at for a really long time. Then covid-19 hit….
The global pandemic has affected us all, Chris and I are delayed on our house purchase and we don’t know when (or even IF) we will be able to get our house now. I’m honestly feeling the stress, uncertainty and overwhelm that everyone planning their wedding during this all, but for couples getting married in 2021 are facing a lot more challenges and anxiety than I am.
I wanted to write this post to offer couples advice on how to move forward with planning weddings. April, May and June were my busiest months this year with about 50% of my work this year being postponed I’ve already been working with around 20 of my couples with their postponements.
As much as this virus has put a hold on your wedding plans, it can’t put a hold on the love you have for each other. Don’t cancel your wedding plans, hold onto that love and know that you WILL get married.
As the situation and advice is constantly changing, please make sure you keep up to date with factual and up to date information on staying safe and preventing the spread. Keep up to date by checking the UK Government , Scottish Government pages and World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO’s COVID-19 myth buster page is great also.
WHAT TO DO NOW IF YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED IN 2020
TAKE SOME TIME OUT TO ACCEPT YOUR FEELINGS
If you are planning your wedding in 2020, there is a lot of uncertainty right now as to when we will be able to have social gatherings again; as well as how those will look and feel when we can have them again. Planning a wedding is stressful enough with out a pandemic leaving your plans up in the air. Take a deep breath, take time to grieve and accept your feelings. Your dreams and ideas of how you thought your wedding was going to be may not now happen, it’s okay to feel upset and disappointed.
THINK ABOUT DIFFERENT WAYS YOUR WEDDING DAY COULD LOOK
I would suggest that everyone getting married this year to sit down together and think of all the ways you can move forward with getting married. Love my dress blog talked about the concept of parallel planning. This is something that has helped me to be able to deal with the stress and anxiety of our house purchase, we sat down and thought about all the things that could happen and made a plan for each eventuality.
Think about how getting married at a different time of year could look; could you have a smaller wedding, are there things that you no longer feel you need for your wedding day? Figure out what is really important to you both as a couple and what things you could change. Your wedding may end up looking different to how you thought it might do, but it will still be just as special.
CELEBRATE YOUR ORIGINAL DATE
If your original date falls whilst the lockdown measures are still in place make sure you take the time to celebrate it as a couple. This is especially true of your date falls on an anniversary together or has meaning to you both. You could get dressed up and play your wedding day in your house, video call your friends / family (you could even have a friend officiate a ceremony), oder in a nice meal and party in your kitchen. If the lockdown measures are eased, you could also have a ‘should have been our wedding day’ photoshoot to mark your date.
HOW TO MOVE FORWARD WITH GETTING MARRIED
ELOPE THIS YEAR AND PARTY NEXT YEAR
In Scotland, we are lucky that we are free to marry anywhere with a registered marriage celebrant and two witnesses. As the lockdown measures are eased you could look at having a small outdoor elopement this year followed by a party next year.
If you are planning a wedding later into the summer of Autumn this year you may be able to move forward with your ceremony once small gatherings are allowed. Your wedding venue may not yer be able to hold your day, but you could still get married on your date.
If you are thinking about this; speak to the person who is marrying you, contact the district registar office where your original wedding was due to take place who will be officially registering your marriage (you will have send them your m-10 forms and paid them your fee money). The paperwork and notice forms will need to be changed if you are moving to another location or date, you need to give a minimum of 29 days notice to marry in Scotland. The National Records of Scotland do state that in exceptional circumstances less than 29 days notice may be needed, chat to them and see what your options are. You can find more in depth information about eloping in Scotland over on this post.
Have a chat with your suppliers about how your plans are changing if you need to alter packages and services with them. If you are eloping with just witnesses or a small number of guests, you could look at live streaming your ceremony or hiring a videographer. Let me know if this is something you would like to add to a package with me as I can offer this for you.
Think about your party next year, how you would want this to look and feel? Would you want a ceremony? Could you have a friend officiate it for you to make it more laid back, could you have your celebrant for your ceremony? Do you want your reception and meal as you planned for your original day or do you just want an evening party?
SCALE DOWN YOUR WEDDING TO A MORE INTIMATE DAY
As lockdown measures are lifted, you may find that you are able to move forward with your original date as planned but with fewer guests. Reach out to your venue and caterer to plan out how your day would look. You could look into options on having your ceremony outside, and how you can space guests for your ceremony, meal and if you still want to go ahead with your reception if any restrictions are still in place.
If you still wish to go ahead with you meal, speak to your caterer if you are hiring in a company to do this for you. Check with them about timescales for notice for confirmation of your numbers, as well as t&c on your balances.
POSTPONE AND MOVE YOUR WEDDING TO 2021
Are you worried about how your day will FEEL with social distance measures still in place? Are you anxious that social distancing measures will still be in place? Are you worried about people not being able to make your day? Do you want to be able to relax and really enjoy tour day? If so the best option would be postpone. If you want to have your wedding as close to how you originally planned this may be the best way to move forward with getting yourselves married up!
You may still need to compromise on some aspects of your day. Many venues and suppliers are likely to be already booked for similar dates next year (especially with the number of postponements we are all facing at the moment) so you may need to consider a different season or a mid-week wedding. Guests will still LOVE to celebrate with you and will be understanding of your reasons for postponing (plus it means more of them can be there as some may already be attending other weddings or have holidays planned).
HOW TO PLAN A NEW DATE IF YOU ARE ELOPING OR MOVING TO 2021
REACH OUT TO YOUR SUPPLIERS AND CHECK AVAILABILITY
I would advise doing this as soon as possible, even if you think your may be able to go ahead as planned. With must of this wedding season being postponed to 2021 availability for most suppliers will now be limited. Check contracts and postponement procedures in the T&C. Make a list of the key ones you want to make sure you can keep and send out a poll to suppliers with potential new date to see who is availilbe. Doodle Poll is a quick and FREE option.
SPEAK TO YOUR GUESTS WHO ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU
Start a wedding Facebook or WhatsApp group so you can keep everyone posted on what is happening. Communicate about potential new dates and make sure they can all with with you to celebrate. If the anxiety of messages is getting to you, a wedding website is another option; Wix, and Squarespace are all great with free options. They are a simple way to keep everyone in the loop about your plans with minimum stress, you can even use a service such as Mailchimp to set up a email list to send updates to your guests.
CONSIDER DIGITAL CHANGE THE DATE NOTIFICATIONS RATHER THAN POST
Speak to your wedding stationer about helping you to create a new invitation or save the dates. An easy option for this is to do this digitally, although in these times a posted invite with a personal message could be a lovely touch.
Digital save the dates are also a great and environmentally friendly option to consider. When looking at paperless invites; Paperless Post, Greenvelope (they also offer RSVP tracking) and Minted (they also do wedding websites) are all great. If you want to go with an online website style invite Wix, and Squarespace are all great with free options too.
TAKE TIME TO MAKE YOUR DECISION
Lastly, don’t feel like you need to rush and make a decision. Take some time to really think about what is really right for you both as a couple. Friends and family may be asking what is happening, and venues are booking up quickly, but don’t feel pressured and make a snap decision.
Weddings are going to be EVEN BETTER than ever once this pandemic is over, we have all realised the importance of connection with others around us with this time apart from others. Those key moments in life, and celebrating them is going to mean so much more.
If you are a bride and groom, and in need of help with your postponement plans. Please reach out!
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links in this post. If you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.