We’re sending out a big virtual hug to all the 2020 brides out there because we know things are tough. Wedding planning on its own can be extremely stressful and then to add COVID to the mix – take a deep breath sis!
It seems like every week numbers keep getting worse and restrictions keep changing. The reality of the situation is, things don’t seem to be changing anytime soon. So what’s a bride to do? Is it even considerate to still have a wedding at this point?
This is a very personal decision between you and your fiance, but we can give you some things to think about when making your decision. You essentially have three options when it comes to your wedding plans during COVID, so let’s take a deeper look at each.
Option One: Proceed
If you just can’t bear to change your wedding date then depending on your state’s restrictions you may be able to proceed with some pretty significant modifications. In most cases, you will need to severely cut down your guest list. Some venues are only allowing gatherings of 50 people or less and in many states that number is restricted to 10 guests or less.
This might mean only immediate family or close friends will be able to attend. Guests will still need to be 6 ft apart and you might need to consider a venue change if you were planning to get married inside. With the restriction on numbers, this might also mean that you choose to no longer have a wedding party.
If you plan to proceed you need to make sure you provide the safest possible environment for your guests. Will your guests and bridal party wear masks? Will there be hand sanitizer readily available? Will the venue ensure thorough cleaning and sanitation of the facility before guests arrive? How will the food and drink service be handled differently? (Avoid buffets!) Work with your venue to make sure you can make the necessary modifications to protect your guests. If your current venue cannot accommodate these modifications, then unfortunately you might need to look at other venue options.
Even if you plan to take all precautions, you should be open and understanding of the fact that some guests, even bridal party members, will not feel comfortable attending, especially if they are part of the at-risk population. Remember, it’s not a matter of them not wanting to be there for you, it’s a matter of safety and comfort level. This will vary for everyone and you have to respect those personal decisions.
Communicating any updates with guests is extremely important. If you need to pair down your guest list you should contact all guests as soon as possible and at least six weeks before the wedding. This gives guests enough time to change travel plans if needed. Rescinding invitations should be a personal conversation if at all possible. Try to reach out via phone call. Feel free to outsource some of the lists to your wedding planner or bridesmaids to make it easier for you. If you aren’t able to call everyone, make sure to draft a detailed email correspondence. If you need help with your communication plan including email text, website updates and phone scripts etc. reach out to us! We would be happy to help you come up with personalized messaging and make this time less stressful for you.
Some creative ways we have seen brides proceed with their weddings are limiting guests and having most join virtually or from a distance (i.e parking lot). We have even seen brides host their wedding at a drive-in movie theater where guests join in their vehicles. Many photographers and videographers have the technology to live stream the ceremony so guests can still hear clearly from the safety of their car or home. We know these aren’t necessarily ideal, so if you are set on having the big wedding you have always dreamed about then maybe postponing is a better option for you.
Option Two: Postpone
One of the most popular choices has been to postpone your wedding until a later date. You can either choose to postpone the entire ceremony and reception for a later date or you can choose to get married now and then postpone the reception.
A few things to keep in mind when postponing. Work with vendors who are willing to be flexible with date changes and who over-communicate in times of uncertainty. Again, let all guests know at least six weeks in advance of any changes. Be mindful that because you are changing your date, some guests may no longer be able to commit to attending. Many people are rescheduling weddings and major events so make sure to double-check with close family and friends on your new date before you solidify plans.
We aren’t certain at what point COVID-19 will be under better control. If you are postponing because you want to be able to move forward with your wedding without any of the above-mentioned modifications, then you should potentially think much further down the road, especially if the majority of your guests need to travel by plane to get to your event.
Out of consideration for your guests, you should only postpone your wedding twice. If you need to adjust the date after the second postponement then you should consider another alternative for your wedding (i.e. virtual ceremony).
Option Three: Cancel
If all this seems too stressful, and you are already over it, you may consider canceling altogether. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still get married! Of course, you could go to the courthouse, but some brides are choosing to have a ceremony with just their officiant and the couple in a simple place like their backyard and re-purposing wedding funds as home funds, etc. Don’t forget to still splurge on your photographer and videographer to have professional keepsakes of the day!
If you do decide to cancel your wedding, you should let your guests know immediately so that they can adjust any travel arrangements.
Again, we know these times are tough. Let us know how we can help you! Brides, what other questions do you have about weddings during COVID-19?