Planning a wedding is already hard enough, amiright?! There’s so much thought and decision-making that goes into planning every little detail of a wedding. There’s the venue, location, time of ceremony and reception, preferred season of the year, color scheme, flowers, how many people in a wedding party, guest list, what kind of tone for the wedding party, music, transportation, food… Is that a lot? I’m just getting started! Am I the only one who feels this way??
And during a pandemic, there seem to be surprises around every corner that make planning a wedding different from what I had thought planning a wedding would look like.
The guest list… how fun is it to take a look at the list of all the important people in your life, and imagine them all in the same room. We got engaged just pre-covid, and were worried about how many people we had to cut from our guestlist just to keep it at a reasonably sized wedding. We had no idea COVID would end up cutting our guestlist for us and that we would have to make even harder decisions to make sure anyone attending would be safe. But the surprising thing about COVID was that we were, and I suppose still are unaware of exactly how long it’s going to go on for.
After the date for the wedding was set, we made our tentative guest list and 1) was surprised at how quickly it got so large and 2) sad about how many people we had to cut due to covid. How many people are actually safe to have in one room anyway? Ugh, the decisions were impossible. As this pandemic has raged on, we knew important people would not be able to join us due to the fact that it was a wedding during a pandemic.
The first thing we did then was make a secondary guest list of the people that HAD to be at the ceremony. This was mainly our immediate family and very close friends that we wanted to include in the wedding party. It broke my heart to see a list without everyone that I loved and had hoped could attend our wedding initially, but again, covid times mean nothing feels normal. Then, I called our venue would be willing to change our date if we needed to cancel due to COVID raging out of control. No matter how small the wedding would be, I wanted it to feel safe for the people who were there. Luckily, our venue was extremely friendly and would accommodate a change if need be, but all of our fingers are crossed that by our date the vaccines will have helped and our world will be a little bit back to normal.
Option to Add a Virtual Opportunity to Watch the Reception
Live Streaming a wedding became a popular option for many couples who decided to follow through with their wedding plans amidst the pandemic. We researched and looked into the best technology and best ways to make this possible for grandparents, out of state family members, and anyone who was more comfortable watching from afar than attending in person. Did I ever imagine a wedding where people wouldn’t be attending due to a worldwide pandemic? Absolutely not! But if we were to video stream the ceremony, I wanted to make sure that the quality of the video was top notch for those who would be watching.
We had to reimagine and remain positive
My fiancé and I have come to the realization that due to COVID and the fact that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, some things that were in our vision for our wedding simply might not be doable. We now realize that we may not be able to have three hundred people at the wedding or the buffet-style simple option for food has to be plated due to health concerns, or that our grandparents might not feel comfortable attending- but we are staying positive. Instead of being stuck in a vision or preconceived expectation—we have changed our perspective and are thinking of creative ways we can make aspects of our wedding positive, unique, and fit into a reimagined version of our previous vision of our wedding day. It can still be done!! It just might not look exactly like we had thought it was going to be when we got engaged.
Save the Dates / Invitations
In my mind we were going to send out printed, beautiful, fridge-worthy save the dates and invitations. But, as our wedding got closer, and COVID continues to loom in our world, we started debating what exactly to do in this situation. First, we decided that we were going to send out the Save the Dates through an image in a message through various media sources, the best ones for different people (Text message, Facebook message, etc). This saved us a lot of money and we had it in our minds that if COVID was going to change any plans then we could simply message those people if plans were forced to change. The list was small, so this was not difficult.
Instead of lavish and heavily decorated invitations we also decided to go with a simple design that focused more on the message of the invitations instead of the look of the invitations. The message these days is the most important, and simplicity is the name of the game. We mentioned we were extremely excited to celebrate our marriage and unity with our favorite people in the world, but that we were also hoping for grace and respect if plans were to change after the invitations were sent out due to COVID. We figured everyone would be respectful if that was to occur, but wanted to make it clear that while the date was set, it could be changed! Because in the world that we’re living today… rapid change is kind of the norm.
Almost everything can be done online.
The great thing about a technological world is that so much can be done online- in fact, almost everything can be done remotely. From a planning perspective, this is amazing. I read lots of customer reviews on vendors, venues, and planning services, and venue tours can all be done online now through videos and facetime phone calls. This enabled my planning process to go so much smoother than I had originally thought that it would, given that the world is now remote. I
I can’t make everyone happy…
Going into wedding planning, I definitely had rose-colored glasses on and I assumed everyone would LOVE all of my plans and think they’re as brilliant as I am. Alas, that was not the case. And there were plans and ideas that I had that weren’t great. Some advice was welcomed and taken in and adopted. And some wasn’t. When there are so many different types of people, and simply so many people, involved with a wedding, everyone has different thoughts on how things should go- especially during covid. The pictures should be taken before the ceremony. The pictures should be taken after the ceremony. Two photographers is safe vs if there are two photographers, guests won’t feel comfortable- more people is more dangerous. The decorations should be like this vs there should not be any decorations, these are covid times and things should be kept simple. At first, I tried to make everyone happy by listening to all of their ideas and incorporating them into my plan — but there’s only so much to be done. In the end, our marriage should be celebrated in a way that felt right to us- even during covid. The way the decorations looked or how the pictures were taken or if a better seating chart could have been created- these are just details, and I could only do the best I could. Our marriage is what matters!
Compromises, Compromises, Compromises
This ties into #6, but compromises were like snowflakes during a blizzard in this planning process. Compromises have been made with vendors on price, flexibility, my wedding party, my parents, my in-laws, close family members, close friends and… my fiancé. In my mind I thought that the wedding was supposed to be my day and all about me, but COVID has really changed the landscape, and the focus is more now on the safety and experience of my guests. My fiancé brought me back down to earth and do you want to know the silver lining in all of these compromises? My fiancé and I got closer as we created a plan that was safe and fun for everyone.
Sanitizers, Masks, Gloves, and Germ Control?
As much as I wanted to throw all of these things out of the window—they were a necessity in planning a wedding during COVID. How many sanitizer stations should there be? Where will extra masks be located? What were the venue’s rules and how did COVID impact them? Because we decided to go through with our wedding instead of pushing it, we hired someone through the venue who would be the mandated germ-control observer, making sure that people were following the rules, wearing masks while not eating, etc.
Creative Seating Chart (Socially Distanced Tables)
Our venue was in a barn and because we weren’t planning on filling up the venue completely we were able to work with the venue and come up with a plan for creative seating that would allow people to be socially distanced table by table. This, of course, impacted our seating chart in a major way. Because we decided to slim down the invite-list, we decided not to allow any short relationship plus-ones. By doing this we were able to have a smaller guest list and a better, safer seating chart.
Because nothing is certain, backup plans were essential. Talk to your venue about a date that would work IF the changes need to be made. Talk to the DJ, talk to who is officiating the wedding, talk to your family, talk to your wedding party, talk to EVERYONE about a Plan This will make your planning way easier if that change has to be made. And if the date change doesn’t have to be made, you’ll be ready to enjoy one of the best nights of your life and watch as your planning, hard work, and attention to detail come together!
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].