Wedding Planner

How Do You Plan a Wedding During Pandemic?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed researching covid wedding ideas, you’re not alone. The global coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all, but especially couples planning their weddings. 

Too busy with life to really plan your wedding in detail? Have someone else do it for you and check out our list of Wedding Planners in Melbourne to help take the stress away.

These couples are faced with unique challenges that are—forgive us for using this term—unprecedented. Our mission at Junebug is to help take the stress out of wedding planning so you can create a celebration worthy of your love. While we don’t have a magic wand to solve these extra complications, we want to offer some covid wedding ideas and tips for navigating this experience. Let’s take a deep breath and dive in.

Safety Measures During COVID-19

We’re wedding planning experts, not medical experts. For information on staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19, we recommend checking the World Health Organization (WHO)’s website for updates. Stay informed and avoid misinformation by checking in with WHO’s COVID-19 myth-buster page, specifically.

How should we proceed with planning our wedding during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Everyone’s question around the world is, well, now what? Giving advice seems so obscene nowadays, but we’re here to share a little expertise. 

The unfortunate reality is that we are still very much in the middle of a pandemic. A lot of 2021 weddings will be down-sized, scaled-back events. The future is still unknown, so go with your gut instinct and stay within your comfort zone. (If you don’t feel okay having 100 people in your backyard in June, switch your date, or make a pivot.) Until vaccinations are distributed, we look at a lot more of the same we saw in 2020.

If you’ve been planning your wedding for a few months:

Suppose you’ve been planning your wedding for the better part of 2020. In that case, you may already have dates picked out and vendors booked—if not for your actual wedding, then potentially for wedding-related events, like your engagement party, bridal shower, or bachelorette party.

If that’s the case, here are a few steps you’ll want to take as you continue to do your wedding planning:

  • Get in touch with your vendors if your wedding is short. If your wedding date (or any wedding-related events) is in the next month or two, you may need to reschedule. Get in touch with your vendors to talk things out and see what your options are. Also, make sure to postpone any wedding-related shipments (like wedding decor or bridal party favours) to make sure they arrive at the right time.
  • Get in touch with your vendors even if your wedding isn’t shortly. Even if your wedding isn’t quickly approaching, now is still an excellent time to chat with your vendors. Just keep in mind that wedding vendors are getting many cancellations and rescheduling requests right now, so if it takes them a while to respond, don’t take it personally. Patience is key!
  • Continue planning—be prepared to be flexible. If you’re already well into the wedding planning process, there’s no reason you can’t continue planning. It’s just important to be aware of the current situation and how that may impact the planning process (for example, longer response times for vendors)—and be willing to be flexible and patient as you plan.

If you just started planning your wedding a few weeks ago:

Suppose you’re just getting started with wedding planning, good news: There’s no reason to stop. But there are a few things you’ll want to consider as you move through the planning process:

  • Vendors may have longer response times—and less availability. With so many people cancelling their upcoming weddings, many vendors are overwhelmed right now, so it might take them longer than usual to get back to you. And because most of those couples are postponing their wedding to a later date, vendors may also have less availability than they usually would. The more flexible you can be with your dates and lead time, the easier it will be to connect with and book wedding vendors.
  • Non-essential businesses are closed in many areas, which may impact your wedding planning. Many cities and states across the US have ordered all non-essential companies to shut their doors until further notice. So, suppose you were planning to tour a wedding venue, do a tasting at a local restaurant, or try on wedding dresses at a wedding retailer. In that case, it’s going to have to wait until after things normalize and businesses are allowed to reopen.
  • Consider having a more prolonged engagement. The truth is, we’re not sure how long the coronavirus pandemic—and the accompanying social distancing and COVID-19 travel restrictions—are going to last. If you want to play it safe (and haven’t already booked a wedding venue or wedding vendors), consider having a more prolonged engagement and pushing your wedding a bit later than you initially thought it would be. The more time you give yourself to plan, the more likely the coronavirus pandemic will be more under control by the time your wedding date arrives.

If you just got engaged and haven’t started planning yet:

If you just got engaged, you’re probably excited to start planning your wedding. And there’s no reason you can’t get started right now. You may need to adjust your strategy a bit.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re starting to plan your wedding:

  • Start with the vision. With everything happening right now, it may be challenging to lock in vendors or a location. So, this is a great time to focus on the vision for your wedding. What’s your wedding colour palette? What kind of menu do you want to serve? What types of venues do you want to explore? Get on Pinterest and start looking for inspiration. Crafting the vision for your wedding is something you can do on your own, in your own time, from the comfort of your home. It’s the perfect way to plan your wedding under the current conditions.
  • Don’t schedule anything (or at least anything in person) too soon. You probably want to celebrate your engagement—but with social distancing and travel restrictions in full force, doing a big, in-person celebration isn’t possible right now. Consider pushing any engagement celebrations out at least a few months. Alternatively, if you want to celebrate now, schedule a virtual engagement party with your loved ones from a safe distance.

There are a few different types of couples out there, and they’re all in various positions:

  • Two thousand twenty teams who had to postpone their wedding, one, two, maybe three times.
  • Two thousand twenty-one couples are now panicking due to the unforeseeable future.
  • Newly engaged couples who just started planning for 2021 and 2022, lucky ducks!

The thing about love is it doesn’t stop for anything, and the world keeps on turning. So we’re here to help– let us give you some advice, strategies, and budgeting tips for navigating planning during this uncertain time.

  • Double, triple, quadruple check all of your contracts​. This is so important during this crazy time because, in small print, there is always a clause that states “what if” this happens. Know that this pandemic is not your fault – therefore, you should not be giving an arm and a leg to make changes or cancellations. When rescheduling with vendors and or your venue, get a new contract or an affidavit and ask for a clause that revolves around the current situation.
  • Go with your gut. ​If you are worried your rescheduled 2021 wedding will not happen and/, or you’re no longer comfortable with a large gathering, switch it up. Make you and your guests comfortable while still having the day of your dreams. It is possible!
  • You can always lower your guest count– make an A or a B guest list and go from there. Switch your venue to your backyard or another outdoor space– with the right vendors and support; your wedding will be perfect!
  • Confirm. ​There are ways to adjust, move your tables 6 feet apart, put extra hand sanitiser out with a cute acrylic sign, get a giant dance floor so that there are ways to social distance while dancing, add custom or coloured masks next to the welcome sign, etc. Ask your venue if you can switch to outdoors with a sailcloth tent; they’re stunning!

Couples planning for 2021

Wedding Planner

To the 2021 couples:​ Let’s expedite this planning process!

Make decisions. 

​Remember, as you’re contemplating, many 2020 couples had to push into 2021, so there will be fewer vendors available to choose from. Man, do their calendars fill up quickly! Get those contracts signed and deposits paid! You can check that off your checklist. Also, be flexible with your date; a Friday wedding is no longer a cheap way out and frowned upon; if that’s what’s available– GRAB IT!

Read your contracts. ​

Contracts are constantly changing now that COVID has hit full force. Hidden fees are being added – make sure you read them front to back and only sign agreements that you’re entirely comfortable with! Planning a wedding during a pandemic is no joke, so having good vendors on your team is crucial. If something in the contracts doesn’t sit right with you, maybe they aren’t the best option; keep on looking!

Talk to a professional. 

​Wedding planners have read over hundreds and thousands of contracts; they’re lawyers in the making. Speaking to a professional could get you the help you need, a different opinion, a third and unbiased party. Either get a wedding planner or a lawyer to look through all your official documents, should this ever happen again.

Newly Engaged Couples who have yet to start planning

To the newly engaged couples:​ Congratulations! This is the fun part!

Can you wait?​ Take your time! 

One of the biggest tips we give to our newly engaged brides is to enjoy it– being engaged goes by so fast! Also, because of all of this craziness, aim to pick a date in 2022 to be extra safe. You’ll get to enjoy bonus time being engaged as well as a slower planning process. The odds are 2021 will be booked up anyways, so picking a safer date that’s farther out may be the ideal situation.

Pick your venue now. 

​Venues are getting picked up fast and furious; pick your wedding venue now and save the other stuff later. Don’t forget, read that contract front to back, and yes, I’ll say it until it’s burned into your brain.

Could you take advantage of them now? 

​If you aren’t into all the glitz and the glam and want a micro-wedding, now is a great time to negotiate with vendors and venues. If you're going to press skip on all of the waiting, you can indeed find a date now and have a beautiful wedding at a smaller price. This is a very open-minded concept, and if you’re down for it, it could be the best decision you make!

Tips For All Couples Planning—At Any Stage

No matter where you are in the process, here are a few steps you’ll want to make wedding planning more accessible, more enjoyable, and less stressful for everyone involved. Check out our ultimate list of Wedding Planners in Melbourne to help you organise a stress-free wedding.

Don’t panic. 

With so much uncertainty, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and scared about how the coronavirus will impact your wedding. And those feelings are valid and justified! Just try not to panic; while things are uncertain at the moment, they will eventually normalize—and you will get to have the wedding you imagined. It just might be a little further in the future than you anticipated.

Practice compassion. 

This is a tough time for everyone. Make sure to practice compassion throughout the process, whether that’s compassion for yourself (for example, if you’re feeling sad about having to push out your wedding date or adjust your wedding planning process), your partner, or your wedding vendors.

Be flexible. 

The more flexible you can be with your wedding planning during this time, the less stressful it will be. Things are changing and evolving every day, so as much as you can, try to go with the flow and adjust your planning as necessary.

Find a supportive community. 

Chances are, you have many feelings around what’s going on and how that’s impacting your wedding and wedding planning. But you don’t have to shoulder those feelings alone! Finding a supportive community of other couples trying to plan a wedding during coronavirus can help you feel less alone. Plus, it can be a great way to get new ideas on navigating the wedding planning process during these unforeseen and unprecedented circumstances.

It’s Okay To Be Sad

Planning a wedding is stressful enough without a global pandemic in the mix. It’s okay to grieve your original wedding plans if you postpone or even cancel your wedding. Many hours, emails, decisions, and dreams went into the day you thought would be happening soon. Feeling disappointed or frustrated by the lack of control you have in the situation is normal. This is a great time to lean on your family, wedding party, and your partner as you make difficult decisions about what to do next.

Choosing A New Wedding Date

Now that you’ve taken the chance to grieve your original wedding date and plan let’s get to work. First, you’ll need to choose your new date. Here are the first people you and your partner should check in with before setting a new wedding date:

  • Your vendors. Get in touch with your vendors as soon as possible. If your heart is set on a specific month or season, you may need to be flexible about what day of the week you tie the knot as many vendors have filled up their Saturday openings. Keep in mind that your date change may impact the seasonality of florals and foods available, and you’ll want to discuss your options with your vendors as soon as possible.
  • The wedding party. Once you have open dates from your vendors and you know of any colour or theme changes you’ll be making, check in with your wedding party as you choose your new date.
  • Any must-have guests. As you work to trim your guest list, don’t forget that your guests may have different comfort levels during this time. If guests cancel, remember not to take it personally.

Communicating Your Date And Venue Changes

Wedding Planner

Once you’ve decided to cancel or postpone, send your guests Change the Date cards to give them all the information they need. This may include your new wedding date or a simple announcement that your plans have changed, and to keep an eye out for more details.

If you haven’t already, this would be a great time to set up a wedding website where you can provide updates to guests as they happen—don’t forget to include the URL on your Change the Date cards. Most wedding websites also allow you to contact your guests at once through your site, which is just another great reason to have one. Our friends at Minted have some helpful tips for wording your postponement cards, too.

How To Handle Vendors And Contracts

The first step of managing your vendors is to look at your contracts. Each vendor will have different stipulations about postponing or cancelling, so it’s essential to read the fine print. Your venue, for example, likely has a rescheduling clause that will help you avoid the costs of cancelling.

We recommend postponing your wedding date, if possible. Cancelling your wedding altogether can mean losing deposits you’ve made. Due to the weight of the circumstances, some vendors allow date changes without an additional fee, but be aware that dates outside of the financial year you booked initially may come with additional fees or rate increases.

Wedding Vendors Are Small Businesses

Keep in mind that wedding vendors are small businesses, and they have been severely impacted by COVID-19, too. Many vendors offer flexibility and credits for a transferred date or towards other services—photo sessions, floral arrangements, etc. 

We got in touch with Valentina Ring, the owner of London-based wedding planner The Stars Inside, to get a little more insight into how couples can communicate with their vendors through coronavirus. She recommends asking these questions when contacting your vendors:

Discuss Possible Alternative Dates Right Away

Have a backup plan ready so that you don’t need to decide without knowing the availability of your vendors and venue. Find out whether your deposit—or any other fees paid to date—are transferable to a postponed wedding.

Ask About Cut-Off Dates

For example, check-in with your florist and ask when the cut-off date is for their final order before your wedding. Your wedding vendors will work with you and be as flexible as possible, but there may be a deadline beyond which certain costs have to be recovered if the event doesn’t go forward. 

Discuss Reduced Headcount Policies

Once you’ve trimmed your guest list, opt for a micro wedding, or choose to elope and delay the reception, find out if there are any financial penalties for reducing your headcount.

Ask About The Indemnity Clause

The indemnity clause is the clause that covers what happens in the event of postponement or cancelling is triggered as a result of the government or local authority banning social gatherings. This will also cover illness on their side. It’s okay to ask if they have any contingencies in place if they cannot fulfil their obligations due to illness. They will more than likely be part of a more comprehensive network and can recommend an alternate for your date if they become ill.

What Are Other Wedding Options There?

If you’ve ever considered eloping, now is the time! There are no rules when it comes to weddings, and shifting your plans to an elopement can allow you to celebrate as planned without risking the safety of your loved ones.

Couples worldwide are also transitioning their weddings online with a Livestream of their ceremony or using Zoom or Google Hangouts to invite guests to digital reception. Everyone can pour their glass of champagne, hear special toasts, and enjoy an at-home dance party using the best wedding reception playlist!

If you do choose to elope, remember that you can always throw a wedding reception later when it’s safe to gather in large groups again. Planning a future reception is an excellent way to work with the vendors you’ve already hired as your deposit and payments can often be used towards the new event. Looking for the Top Wedding Planner in Melbourne? Look no further and check out our ultimate list of Wedding Planners here.

Wedding Planning During COVID-19

This is no easy task. It can be overwhelming, stressful, and confusing to navigate these uncharted territories. We’re here for you every step of the way. 

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