Covid Wedding Advice: What you need to know when planning or changing your wedding?

Before I begin… Let’s remember, the most important part of your wedding is that you are marrying the love of your life (I know you’ve heard this before… but its worth repeating, especially in today’s environment)…

Some of the most beautiful, most emotional, most heartfelt weddings that I have ever photographed…in fact, I am getting a little teary right now just thinking of them…are those that were preceded by stressful situations or times of great uncertainty. Some needed to happen much faster than anticipated to accommodate ailing family members… others were questionable if the bride would even make it due to health reasons. Ultimately, everything came together to create a celebration that exceeded the couple’s hopes and the gratitude that surrounded the event was more than could have been imagined! …even if it wasn’t originally what they had planned. Your wedding can be like that, too!

If you are getting married in 2020 or even 2021 then in my mind you are considered a Covid Couple. While that means that your wedding plans are likely to be affected by this pandemic, it doesn’t mean that you still can’t have a beautiful, amazing, gorgeous wedding…truly! It may look different than you originally envisioned, but dare I say…it could exceed your deepest expectations. Your vendors are here to make your wedding a spectacular celebration, but with so much up in the air, it’s important that you work with them to find solutions that are a win-win. Here are some fantastic tips to help you navigate through this unprecedented time…

Postpone Don’t Cancel: Practically speaking, you have likely paid several non-refundable retainers to your vendors. Cancelling hurts everyone. Not only has the vendor reserved your date making it unavailable for others to book, they’ve also (even though your event hasn’t taken place yet) been working behind the scenes to ensure that your event runs smoothly by creating timelines, placing orders, communicating with you and other vendors. A wedding is a production with many moving parts that begin behind the scenes the minute the vendors are booked.

Let’s talk dates: Saturdays are a hot commodity during the wedding season. Many 2020 brides are looking to postpone their weddings to the same Saturday in 2021, but 2021 brides are planning for these days as well. A dilemma arises when there just aren’t enough Saturdays to go around. I encourage you to think outside the box…or in this case…the date. Why not choose a Friday or a Sunday wedding? In a destination spot (like Mackinac Island), people are already taking a mini-vacation for your wedding, so these dates could be very workable possibilities. If people are flying, flights on those off-dates are usually less expensive and easier to book. Plus…you will get more personal attention from your vendors. Saturdays are often double or even triple booked at most venues…and this will definitely be the case for 2021. You can still have your dream wedding on a non-peak day…and it fact it might be better! (HINT: Ask me about my non-peak day incentive!)

Communicate with your vendors early on: These talented folks spend their professional lives making couples’ wedding dreams come true. From the flowers, to the music, to the planning, they are the experts in executing your vision. To stay in business and to keep making wedding dreams come true, they are currently trying to balance the needs of both 2020 couples as well as 2021 couples. Most of these small businesses can’t afford to simply move 2020 to the next year. The best thing you can do is to have open and honest conversations with your vendors as you are in the process of figuring out your plans. Remember they are in the process of figuring out the plans of several couples while maintaining a business. Ultimately, they want to help everyone…and there is always a win-win somewhere!

Think outside the ceremony… This is one of my FAVORITE IDEAS I’ve heard yet… You can still have 150 people celebrate your wedding…but maybe not all at once. A destination wedding usually means a rehearsal dinner, the ceremony and reception, and a brunch the next day. Perhaps you won’t be able to have 150 at all of those, but you could have 50 people at each. A split wedding divides your guest list among the different parts of your wedding weekend. BONUS: You’ll spend more quality time with your guests and they will have the opportunity to enjoy more of their mini vacation. (Maybe you can even enlist some local vendors in creating some fun discounts or packages for your guests to take advantage of during their stay!) Although your guests may not be at 1 formal event, they will all have plenty of time to gather together during your three day wedding weekend!

Interactive Entertainment… A crowded dance floor may not be a reality for a long time, but that doesn’t mean that your event can’t be a blast! Entertainment vendors are getting creative with ways for your guests to have fun while social distancing. From grids on the dance floor so everyone has their space, to karaoke, to line dancing (hey, don’t judge…you know you’ll get into it) to fun open air gif booths (like SnapThis), your guests can still have a ball. Depending on your venue, you can also create fun lounge areas where smaller groups of people can congregate away from the main group if they choose to social distance a bit more.

FINALLY … and most importantly… Making your decisions from the heart is the key….I have long believed that decisions based in love carry with them a sense of optimism and freedom… while decisions made in fear carry a sense of expectation and work… love each other, and remember that your wedding is going to be a celebration of that love no matter where and when it takes place!!

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