I never thought I would be writing a blog post like this, but I know none of us expected a global pandemic to come our way when we looked out at 2020. But here we are. We are all doing our best every day to show up to the people in our lives, and I know I’m doing my best during this time to spread light and help photographers, creatives, and brides navigate this season!
This week, I was asked by Syracuse.com to contribute my best advice for brides and grooms navigating this season. It is a LOT of work to plan a wedding in general, let alone deciding if you need to reschedule such an important day in your lives with tons of moving pieces!
Adjusting our dreams to something new is hard for all of us – but one thing I’m learning is, these times require creativity and an open mind.
So here are my best pieces of advice for couples navigating the planning process during COVID-19! We will get through this TOGETHER. Because right now, it’s the people you have beside you and behind you that make all the difference in how we get through this!
1) My first piece of advice is to stay updated on government mandates that limit gatherings and how long they are projected. Right now gatherings are limited to 50 people until May 15th, but it is suggested that we gather with no more than 10 people. This mandate may not continue after May 15th, or it may. Stay tuned to the news (even though I know we all need some healthy distance!) just to know what is mandated and beyond your control for your particular wedding date.
2) Next, reach out to your Venue immediately and ask about what dates they have available to reschedule (I know March-May brides are already taking some of the fall dates) – and ask what they have available in case you need to reschedule.
3) Then, reach out to your Photographer and ask if they have the same fall dates available as your Venue. These two steps are SO important because one combination of Venue-Photographer may have more dates available than another, so you may have to take rescheduling action before or after other brides because of this factor.
4) Also reach out to any other essential business that you NEED to be able to reschedule with you. You may not get ALL of your dream team vendors together again, so make sure to take time to make a list with your fiancé of a few vendors who are MOST important to you as a team!
5) Re-read your contracts to determine the cancellation/reschedule policies of each vendor. What deposits are non-refundable? And what additional payments are refundable or non-refundable? That’s important to know with whatever decision you make going forward!
6) Try to reschedule and not cancel your wedding! Cancelling your wedding hurts small business and the economy dramatically. But another thing to think about is mentally, cancelling and not having something to look forward to during this time may do more harm than good. If you are able to reschedule and still have something to look forward to, that may help you during this time!
7) If you are not able to reschedule with your ideal vendors, but still want to be married this year, consider an elopement and having a party in 2021, or adjusting your wedding guest list to an intimate wedding celebration if gatherings under 50 people are allowed for your wedding date.
On a personal note, my husband and I rescheduled our own wedding from our initially agreed upon date 2.5 years ago, from June 4 to October 29th, due to personal circumstances we were going through as a couple. That required adjustment of our plans and a longer engagement. During that time, I moved to his city (we were long distance) and we used that time to focus on our relationship and building a strong marriage.
8) Use this time to build a foundation for your marriage, because navigating a hard time together will be something that will last for both of you throughout the rest of life. What you build now together WILL last, and this time together will not be wasted!
I know you may not feel affected yet, 2021 brides, but unfortunately you are being affected by COVID-19 due to the ripple effect happening to your vendors’ calendars. As 2020 weddings push into 2021, the dates available in 2021 will disappear faster!
So here is my advice to YOU!
1) Reach out to the Venues you’re considering booking immediately and ask what dates they have available!
2) Reach out to the Photographers you’re considering, and ask what dates they have available, and schedule meetings with them to get the ball moving forward!
3) Reach out toDJ/Bands you are considering immediately and ask what dates they have available.
These 3 vendors are the most often “first booked” because of how far out in their calendars they book. You can take time considering your other vendors, but if anyone comes up for you both as a “MUST HAVE,” whether it’s a florist, cinematographer, hair/makeup artist, cake artist, rentals, photo booth, etc. do not hesitate to contact them immediately.
4) Then take a breath and enjoy the planning process and, like I said for 2020 brides, building a foundation for your marriage that will last for many years to come.
I am in community with a ton of FABULOUS vendors and people! And we all have a heart to help! Here are 2 resources I am giving to my own brides right now as they are navigating this process!
My planner friend Events by Carianne is giving away several FREE 30 min consultations with brides navigating rescheduling! Sign up here NOW to save a spot for yourself:
I teamed up with another planner friend of mine, Kate Brown from LoveWell Weddings, along with a group of long-standing wedding professionals, and we started a Facebook group to help couples navigate and overcome these times! If you want to join us and ask questions and overcome together, here is the link to JOIN us!
Hope that’s helpful – know I’m always here for you, and I’m cheering you on this year as you overcome this together, stronger than when you started!
Know you are not alone in all this – I’m here for you and sending you a big internet hug!!