Wedding Planning Pandemic Style
It’s now 100 days after lockdown and we are starting to emerge, hopefully like beautiful butterflies from a chrysalis. During these strange and sad times, it has been heartbreaking listening to personal wedding circumstances and receiving messages from Brides and Grooms, and those within our little happy family of the wedding industry too. Countless sad stories of all the wedding plans broken and devastated by this disease and the daily uncertainty we are coping with. One minute you were in wedding planning mode, you had the venue booked, the invites sent, you’d got the dress, and then the pandemic happened!
We say, this is not about cancelling your wedding, it’s simply postponing it. Believe it will happen!
We have had our own very sad bride to be within our studio. Claire’s wedding was one of the first to be postponed way back in April, but now with new government news on weddings of 30 people or more, she is now able to reignite her enthusiasm and excitement for the incredibly romantic and beautiful day she had planned to share with her family.
As butterflies go through a metamorphosis, I hope we all can too. I know these are early days but I keep looking for the light and the good positive things that we can all do, and things we can help couples with when planning their wedding while still in lockdown.
We’ve had to quickly adapt for these new times, with Brides and Grooms postponing dates, moving a wedding to a new date and sometimes venue, and most of all reassuring our couples. The unknown is the most concerning and worrying, and the big question we were all asking – when will weddings start again?
With all the queries and questions buzzing in my head, the ones I know every couple will be asking, we’ve put together some advice for Brides and Grooms to offer some guidance and tips for brides replanning weddings in the current climate under the government guidelines, with help from our own bride to be.
Three Stories To Tell
Three options to consider, to suit you, your marriage or civil partnership.
1. Make It Simple
If you had a guest list of around 100 people and you’re struggling to cut down your numbers, you could dare I say, scale back your whole wedding. You may have a life plan which you don’t want to put on hold, you’re planning a family and having a baby, moving and buying a new house, or perhaps a whole new career life change! So why not simplify with an elopement or plan a last-minute intimate celebration as a way to honour your original wedding date while you wait until it’s safe to gather all your loved ones for a larger ceremony blessing and celebrations. Cut numbers right down to one witness each, that way, no one is offended at having not made the cut. Then book a registry office, and have a big party next year.
A lovely touch for all your original guests would be to send them a photo from the day and combine this with an invite to next years celebration.
2. Cut Those Numbers
As weddings can only be held with no more than 30 guests in attendance, it’s all about being brutal and only inviting those who are really dear to you. This is hard, there may be people in your life who mean more to you than a relative you barely see. You just have to go with your heart. For plus-ones, make it “no ring, can’t bring” and you don’t have to invite people to your wedding, just because you went to theirs. Nobody should be offended by this, some may be upset but cutting numbers isn’t your fault, the pandemic made this decision for you! Do make sure that those on your edited list can make your new date, not everyone can under the pandemic rules are going to be able to come, they may be shielding.
3. Move It On
If you’ve always dreamed of the big wedding and you’ve invited 100 guests or more, you’re going to postpone. With the help and support of your church or venue reschedule the date and let your guests know as quickly as possible you’re moving the date. Those close around you will know you’re planning, but let others know. You could email or call, or send ‘Change the Date’ cards quickly.
How To Make It Special
With 9/10 couples still going ahead and not cancelling their wedding plans, many may be reviewing the budget. With people across the country possibly facing financial hardship, it’s really positive to hear that around 70% of couples have not reduced their wedding budget. In times of economic crisis, it appears that weddings are still seen as a valuable event, with couples not wanting to compromise the budget they saved for and set aside for their special day. If numbers are cut then couples are planning to treat there chosen 30 to an extra special day, with a socially distanced meal with a menu full of delights and lots of luxurious goodies throughout the day. Just remember no singing, no shouting and no blowing your trumpet!
Wedding Pic Priorities
No cutbacks here, this is a must! In years to come, you’ll want to look back together and remember your day. You may have children and grandchildren who you want to share these special memories with you too. A videographer may be a lovely addition, to keep this memory alive and share with others who couldn’t make your day. Making a list of key photos, the ones you really want is a great idea. You want photos you’ll cherish, you don’t want to look back and say I wish we had one like this.
As the over 70s are still advised to stay at home, you may want to consider live streaming the wedding so those elderly and dear to you can be a part of your wedding too. If you have chosen a remote or rural location make sure you test the wi-fi signal first. Otherwise, a good videography company can make a beautiful video. You could put a message on your wedding website saying – “Change of Date for next year, we’ll have big a celebration soon!”.
As group singing is not allowed, and you can’t have wind instruments, you could hire some live music such as a string quartet or a guitarist. I had a string quartet at my own wedding, playing as I walked down the aisle, they played Here, There and Everywhere by the Beatles, it created such a beautiful atmosphere. If you can’t have them in your church or venue due to numbers you could ask them to record music for your day. The government guidelines allow one singer, so you could book a soloist, or maybe a lovely touch, a friend could sing.
Embrace the fact that you’re getting married in a pandemic. You could have face masks made for your guests in the colour of your wedding! It’ll make a great photo. At present in England venues are encouraged to mark 2 metre distances on the floor, (which may move to 1 metre), so why not make this part of your plan and have your initials marked on the floor too. You can check social distancing with ribbons in your wedding colour too!
Your rings should be handled by as few people as possible and when you exchange rings you’re going to have to sanitise or wash your hands before and after. So have your anti-bacterial gel in a gorgeous bottle and embrace the whole pandemic wedding with a photo of your rings. It’s one to remember and giggle about later!
Track and Trace
One to remember.. in order to support the NHS Test and Trace programme, your venue or place of worship will ask for all your guest contact details (name and telephone number) recording times entering and leaving, so make sure they are happy before you pass these on.