For the time being, COVID-19 has got all of us at home far more than we are used to. If you are currently engaged and living with your fiancé, that could mean a lot of time spent together – perhaps more uninterrupted time together than ever before! Even if one or both of you are still going into work for a job that is considered an “essential” service, you are still likely home quite a bit in your off-work hours. For couples who work from home regularly, this could feel like the norm, while it could be a big adjustment for others. We’re here to provide you with tips for making the most out of your time spent in quarantine, especially if you are in the midst of planning a wedding.
Depending on when your wedding date is set for, this entire situation may either come as a massive headache, or an opportunity for you to breathe a sigh of relief. If you are somebody who has had to reschedule your big day on account of COVID-19, see our recent blog post here, for tips on what to do. If your wedding isn’t until later this year, or even in 2021 – congrats! You have some spare downtime to think about your wedding without dealing with the phone calls and headaches that come along with rescheduling. Whatever your situation may be, we recommend taking this opportunity to make the best use of this time in quarantine.
Obviously, we encourage you to stay at home as much as possible to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably caught up with old friends via video chat, held a virtual happy hour or two, gotten around to some cleaning/decluttering, and likely binged a Netflix show (or two, or three…Tiger King anyone?). In the midst of such an uncertain time, it is perfectly normal to face some feelings of anxiety. In addition to your normal rotation of at-home activities and work, you may find that planning the details of your wedding, can help keep you in a positive headspace and take your mind off of the pandemonium of the outside world for a bit.
Devote Some Time to Inspiration
Wedding planning is the ultimate excuse to spend a day browsing Pinterest for big day ideas. If you’re just getting started with wedding planning, you can take advantage of the site to figure out your theme, colors, wedding party attire, and bridesmaid/groomsmen gifts. Now, you likely have a little extra time to devote to DIY projects as well – instead of opting for the store-bought option, you may instead choose to save some money, and try your hand at DIY-ing different projects suited for your big day. From favors to centerpieces to bouquets, you’d be surprised at what you can handcraft with the time and energy to devote to it.
If you have already chosen your dream venue, this downtime allows you and your future spouse some time to really deep dive into options like caterers, DJs, photographers, etc. You can spend a little more time reaching out to your circle for recommendations and comparing and contrasting different options. While it’s unlikely that you can visit anything in person (like a venue, catering tasting, etc.), you may call around to more places/individuals, read more reviews, and reach out for more recommendations than you would have if the world was operating at normal speed. Plus, as most small and events-centered businesses are at a lull right now, they will likely be happy to return your calls quicker, spend more time speaking with you, or even negotiate on pricing.
Solidify Your Budget
If you haven’t done so yet, this is the time to really get into the nitty gritty of your wedding budget to devise a plan that you can realistically stick to. Take time to research costs to make your budget as accurate as possible, and work together with your fiancé to figure out which aspects of the wedding you each value most, and consequently, where you are willing to spend a bit more, as well as places where you may be willing to skimp on costs. To make this especially easy on you, technology comes to the rescue yet again – as there are a variety of wedding planning/budgeting apps out there to help you stay on track.
Create/Edit Your Guest List
This guest list can be one of the most difficult parts of wedding planning. Does that third cousin from out-of-state that you haven’t seen since 1997 really need a spot on your wedding guest list? Your mom may think so. Take this time as an opportunity to evaluate who makes the cut. If you have not started a list yet, sit down with your fiancé to form the first draft of your guest list. It will probably be helpful to run it by close family members like your parents to ensure you didn’t forget anyone crucial- and in doing so, they may realize that in the interest of keeping your guest list reasonable, your third cousin isn’t a priority.
Narrowing down your guest list can be really difficult. This is your wedding day, and you want everyone to feel included. It’s nothing personal, but in most cases who gets an invite will come down to a matter of finances, and how big you want your wedding to be, as well as venue capacity (if you already have a venue). Drafting your potential invite list with an approximate number in mind first, that you and your fiancé have agreed upon, can make this task easier.
Plan Your Honeymoon
It goes without saying that there is a lot of uncertainty in the air surrounding when the travel industry will be up and running again. The good news is that due to COVID-19, many airlines are offering the opportunity to make changes any flights booked now, through a certain date- like, October or November. So, if you book your flight now for your honeymoon in the fall or early spring, you could postpone if necessary without change fees. In addition, and depending on when you book and where your destination is, that could mean discounted airfare and hotels for your trip. Once you have figured out your overall honeymoon budget and destination, look at various dates and airline policies, and book hotels and activities accordingly. Having a trip to look forward to will help keep you positive and looking forward to the brighter days ahead.
Discuss The Practical Aspects of Married Life
Did you know that couples who frequently discuss finances have significantly more successful marriages? That’s where a prenup can help. Rather than functioning as a death sentence for a marriage, prenups can be thought of like a life insurance policy for your marriage, and an opportunity to discuss finances and future plans. If you and your future spouse have already agreed on getting a prenup, now is a great time to get to work on the ins and outs of the document, without ever having to leave the house. With the help of HelloPrenup, you can draft a legally binding prenuptial agreement that is suited to your relationship, completely online. If at any point you would like to employ the advice of an attorney, you can do so, and will in turn save yourself significant legal fees by bringing to your attorney your already drafted prenuptial agreement through HelloPrenup. And if you don’t plan to hire an attorney? You are not required to.
If you have yet to speak to your fiancé about a prenup, this could also be a strategic time to propose the idea, as long as you think it through the conversation practically first and go in with a game plan. We’ve written about ways to make the conversation less awkward here and recommend giving it a quick read. Focus on the benefits that a prenup can provide to both parties, especially in today’s world as more engaged couples are burdened with significant student loan debt. Similarly, as the average age that people get married at rises, naturally, individuals also tend to have more assets and earning power to protect, including stock options, or a condo/home. Prenups are a logical, financially sound decision that allows your marriage to start off on the right foot with an open discussion about finances.
Do Something Memorable
Yes, we’ve been preaching productivity in this era of excessive downtime. However, “making the most of your time” isn’t always synonymous with constant productivity. It is likely that the world will remember the 2020 COVID quarantine for years to come, so be sure to make your own special memories with your future spouse during this time. To ensure you keep the days separate from one another, try something like journaling for yourself, or writing dated notes to each other about what you are most excited about for your wedding. This is also an excellent time, especially as the weather warms up, to embrace the outdoors. As long as you are in an area that isn’t especially crowded and can comfortably remain 6 feet away from others, this is a glorious time to explore hiking trails, visit parks, get in shape for the wedding together, and more. If you’re not a particularly outdoorsy couple, exploring and cooking new recipes together can be a great way to spend some quality time on an activity together. And hey, you have to eat in anyway, right?
Needless to say, this feels like a very odd time for many of us. If you’re currently engaged, this could be a defining period of time for your relationship moving forward. At the very least, this is a time that we will always remember as a society – we are all going through this strange time in history together. Whatever the future holds, this situation will likely lead all of us to be a bit more grateful for the little things in life, as well as those closest to us.
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].