Hi friends. In the past few weeks, our lives have changed and it sometimes feels like our world has been turned completely upside down. As the situation regarding COVID-19 changes daily and picks up speed, so many of us are facing uncertainty surrounding our work, our social lives, and our future plans — including weddings.
I’ve been a wedding planner for almost a decade, and in the past I’ve joked that it takes a LOT to surprise me in the wide world of weddings, because “I’ve seen it all.” But COVID-19? This has surprised me.
Before I go on, I want to say that it’s OK to be scared. It’s OK to be frustrated. It’s OK to be sad. Pushing down and avoiding those feelings may be tempting for a moment, but unless you face those feelings, name them and deal with them, they might bubble up and erupt when you are least expecting it.
I’ve made a career out of helping my couples know what to expect from wedding planning, but in this time where no one knows exactly what to expect, I’m working on helping my couples make the next right choices, since that is all we can really control these days. So with that said, here are some of those “next best things” you can do if you are planning a wedding in the time of COVID-19:
Connect with your partner
Now more than ever, it’s important to invest in your relationship with your partner, remind each other why you are so excited to marry one another, and do everything you can to keep your relationship solid.
Talk about your wedding plans together and get on the same page about what you might want to do next: how do you both feel about postponing the wedding until next year? Would you want to have a small civil ceremony sooner in that case, and just postpone the celebration aspect of the wedding? What elements of your wedding plans are you OK with changing should the need arise?
Being on the same page, seeking to understand each other’s feelings and being a unified front when communicating your plans to your family, friends and vendors is more important than ever right now. Spend that time.
Review your contracts
If you have already signed contracts for your venue and for other vendors for your wedding date, review those contracts carefully. Make a list of each vendor’s due dates, deadlines and cancellation policies. For many of my couples, their final counts, final payments and other final deadlines tend to start coming due about 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding. Given that, I’ve encouraged my couples to try to make important decisions about rescheduling or moving forward before some of these deadlines arrive.
Talk to your vendors
Keep the lines of communication open with your vendors, and remember that they are in the same boat as you are facing uncertainty, fearing monetary loss and missing out on projects they were so excited for. Ask them how they feel about rescheduling your date and how that looks for them. Ask your caterer if they might be willing to extend their final counts due date by another week or two while you reconfirm RSVPs. Consider this step simple data collection that will help you make good decisions in the future.
Check in with your guests
If this situation clears up soon and we’re able to go on having weddings in 2020, I think one thing we can count on is smaller-than-expected guest counts. Older guests or guests with compromised immune systems may not feel as comfortable traveling or gathering, and some guests may not be able to travel for events due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.
Be in communication with your guests. If you are considering a postponement, reach out to guests and let them know, and ask for their feedback. One of my couples set up an anonymous Google Forms survey for guests to fill out so they could submit their honest feedback about their likelihood of attending without feeling guilty for sharing bad news.
One “gift” COVID-19 has given us is time. While you’re hanging out in your apartment and trying to find ways to kill the time, here are a few wedding-related tasks you can take on that can be done from home:
- Make your family photo shot list. A lot of times your families will want formal portraits of your immediate family on the wedding day, and a great way to ensure this is done quickly and thoroughly is to make a list (with names) of the combinations you want. BONUS – click below to download my family photo shot list template for free!
- Construct your procession order. Who is walking in with who, in what order, and what song(s) are playing during that time?
- Make a KILLER dance floor playlist. Test out often if necessary.
- Choreograph a goofy first dance routine. Even if you choose not to do it publicly, time well spent goofing off with your person.
- Write thank you notes. If you’ve received gifts at this point, get those done!
But most of all, keep your eyes on each other
What matters most is that you’ve found your pandemic quarantine survival partner, and you’re in this together for life. And that’s pretty cool.
If you are struggling with wedding planning in the age of COVID-19, please reach out. We’re here for you and want to help as much as we can.
Corinne + the Canvas Weddings Team