You’re newly engaged, on top of the world, and ready to start planning the magical wedding you’ve been dreaming up in your head (and your heart!) for years. Except, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and while there seem to be better days on the horizon, we still find ourselves in a time of uncertainty. Wedding planning looks completely different than it ever has before. You once thought landing on a color palette would be your greatest challenge, and now you’re tracking pandemic variants. Goodness, you deserve a hug and a cocktail.
It’s a heavy feeling of worry and disappointment to plan your wedding not knowing for certain that it will actually happen on your original date of choice or with your original plan, especially amidst the larger concerns of health and job security during a pandemic.
If you’re newly engaged and riding this roller coaster of emotions, first and foremost we want you to know that our hearts are with you! It doesn’t seem fair that the fun, customary wedding planning experience you always envisioned has been greatly altered. However, if you feel up to it, your wedding planning does not have to come to a halt. It’s okay to hold on to hope and optimistically plan for the fun to come. What better use for (what we hope is the end of!) this social distancing time than to plan a joyful occasion, giving yourself something to look forward to?! When you’re ready, let’s start planning!
Step 1: Gather Your Thoughts and Inspiration
Now that you’ve had some time to grieve the traditional planning experience, start focusing on the day that you have been envisioning and what you CAN control! Work with your future Mr./Mrs. to develop a budget and determine what aspects of the day are most important to you two. We always recommend having a heart to heart (over a bottle of wine is always nice!) and each listing out your top three “must haves” or “biggest wishes” for the big day. It’s ok to have different answers but it’s a helpful guide during your planning process to check back in and make sure the day reflects BOTH of you and you don’t lose focus during planning based on too much outside input from well intentioned friends, family and others!
Start a Pinterest board or save images you come across on Instagram. Consider all of the color palettes, florals, tablescapes, cakes, and other design ideas that catch your eye and take some time to enjoy the “pretty phase” of wedding planning! Chat with your fiancé about venue styles and go online to look at those in your area, making a list of venues you’re most interested in. Many venues are offering virtual tours right now which is super helpful if you’re not visiting them in person yet!
Select your wedding party and invite them to be a part of your special day. This doesn’t have to be elaborate or over the top gesture, but it will certainly make you feel more supported and enthusiastic to have a team of friends cheering you on as you waver between all the emotions of planning in the coming months! We guarantee that it will be a bright light for them during this time as well!
Step 2: Hire a Planner or Coordinator
We may be biased that hiring a wedding planner has always been the best decision a couple can make in the wedding planning process, but it’s even more important now. Experienced full-service planners have navigated the postponement process this last year for couples already affected by COVID-19 and we have become well-versed in how to plan during the pandemic. Moving forward, we also know what to look for in vendor contracts to protect our future clients. It’s our job to be your advocate and help you make the best decisions possible that will save you TIME and STRESS.
After determining your budget and style, research wedding planners in your area and set up consultation calls or video chats. Decide which planner that you vibe with best and book them! If a full-service planner is not in your budget, secure an event management package (sometimes known as “month-of”) or partial wedding package, many of which also provide couples with a great base of recommendations and information to begin the wedding planning process.
Step 3: Select a Date and Secure Big Ticket Vendors
The reality of 2021 is that vendors are already booked through the rest of the year due to all the weddings that have been postponed, so the first availability will likely be 2022. Work with your planner to secure a venue and date and consider that if you want to get married in 2021, Fridays and Sundays could be great options if you weren’t originally considering them! Your friends and family that LOVE you will show up to celebrate no matter what day of the week it is, we guarantee it!
Once a venue and date have been decided on, share all your saved Pinterest boards and other inspiration with your planner. Your planner will be able to take those ideas and vet vendors that match your style and budget and are available on your date. Start scheduling phone calls and virtual meetings with the “big ticket” vendors that book up the quickest such as photographer, videographer, entertainment, hair/makeup, and officiant.
We’ve heard from couples who are hesitant to start booking vendors out of worry about losing deposits in the worst-case scenario that their late 2021 or early 2022 weddings won’t happen with their desired guest count. While we understand that concern, working through a wedding planner with experienced vendors will ensure you are booking reliable and trusted companies. Work with your planner to examine contracts and the financial penalties for postponements in regards to travel and/or gathering restrictions due to the pandemic.
Spring is already a peak wedding season and the industry has had plenty of postponements into spring 2022 as well. We expect these vendors that typically only take one wedding a day to fill their availability quickly. We encourage couples to start seriously considering and booking those vendors now!
Step 4: Continue Planning and Stay Optimistic
Create a registry, start your wedding website, and select save-the-dates. Continue planning the details of your day such as wedding party attire, catering, florals, etc. as if it is guaranteed to happen. Hold off on ordering any items, for now, that may be personalized with a date *just* in case. We recommend couples not make any decisions on postponements until 8-12 weeks out (unless there is an obvious decision imposed by state-ordered restrictions at the time).
While things are unknown, you don’t want to find yourself rushed into planning a wedding or missing out on your choice of vendors because you held off too long on booking. And the worst case? If postponed, your wedding is already entirely planned! You’ve booked a solid vendor team that will work with you to determine a new date and you can focus on enjoying the remaining time of your extended engagement.
Y’all, we get it…this is all much easier said than done! But let’s not stop dreaming and planning these beautiful celebrations with your closest friends and family. We are already seeing positive trends for the future of events, and we can’t wait to get back to the weddings we knew before this pandemic!
If you have any questions about planning right now, please reach out to our team. We are still in the business of love and remain SO excited to assist couples in their wedding planning journey!