Dear 2020 Bride…
Seven Tips for Navigating Your Wedding During a Pandemic
Dear 2020 Bride,
I know you’ve poured your heart into creating a beautiful, memorable wedding day. Nothing could have prepared you for this. You’ve lost bridal showers, bachelorette parties and other pre-wedding events you were looking forward to. I’m so sorry. Please know it is okay to mourn what you’ve lost. No one can understand how this hurts until they are in your shoes. Give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling. When you’re ready, take a deep breath and start making an action plan.
But before we talk specifics, remember that disruptions to a wedding event are only that. A disrupted event. NOTHING has changed in regards to your love and commitment. You’ve probably watched multiple family members and friends get married over the years and now that it’s time for your wedding, a pandemic happens. It doesn’t seem fair and maybe you’ve had the nagging feeling that “weddings are not for you”. If so, don’t believe it for a minute. This crazy circumstance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get married. Your family and friends love, support and celebrate your life together. Marriage is GOOD and BEAUTIFUL no matter how a wedding does or doesn’t look. Some savvy navigating is needed right now for modifying or postponing your event, but in the end I promise it will be okay.
Here are seven of my best tips for navigating this successfully.
1. Wait until at least 8 weeks out to make a decision. Emotions are at an all-time high and fear has spread faster than the virus. Restrictions are changing at different rates in different states. By waiting to make your decision you’ll have a better and clearer idea of what you need to do.
2. Make a Plan B now. Even though you are waiting until 4-8 weeks out to finalize a decision, create an alternate plan that can quickly be set in motion should the need arise.
3. Communicate with your vendors before choosing a new date. Your venue is your first stop, then photographers and other high-value vendors. Find out how they are handling postponement requests. Read your contracts. It would be so sad for you to lose a non-refundable deposit because you didn’t choose a new date within your vendor’s parameters. Most wedding vendors are doing everything they can do keep 2020 weddings within the 2020 calendar year or shortly after to preserve the 2021 wedding season and keep their businesses afloat. If you want to move to a prime summer date in 2021 expect to pay an additional fee as there are only so many summer weekends to go around. Consider Thursday or Sunday weddings, as availability for those dates will be much higher.
4. Determine your comfort level with modifications. Our states of North Dakota and Minnesota are loosening restrictions at different rates. If you’re getting married this summer it’s likely that you’ll face some sort of restrictions on your wedding day. Possibilities include lower guest count, individually packaged meals and no official dance floor. (Dance by your table instead?) you’re willing to be flexible and make these modifications, your team of vendors will be there 100% to support you. Your venues will figure out seating requirements, your photographer will help you make a portrait plan and your DJ will keep the music going and come up with creative ways to keep your guests entertained. Wedding vendors are the most flexible, adaptable group of workers on the planet. We are used to rolling with the punches! I truly believe creativity will be one of the biggest gifts of 2020 weddings as we find ways to celebrate and show love to each other in unique and meaningful ways.
5. If you’re postponing, sign all the rescheduling contracts first and then inform your guests. You want to be 100% sure your new date is locked in with your vendor team before doing a news blast. If you’re eager to get word out sooner rather than later, simply communicate with your guests that you’ve decided to postpone but the new date is yet to be determined.
6. It is possible to get excited about a Plan B! Even though what you originally envisioned might not happen, allow yourself to dream up new ideas. Picture each part of the wedding day and allow yourself to get excited about the possibilities. Those gorgeous bride & groom photos? Those can still happen regardless of how big or small your wedding day is.
7. Lastly, when communicating with your wedding vendors, keep in mind that each one is a local small business that has been navigating the situation right along with you. They have been flooded with a huge increase of emails, phone calls and uncertainty and have been juggling dates for their couples. They will be as quickly responsive as possible and are happy to help because they care so much about making your wedding day a success!
And a bonus tip: if you’ve had an extra long day, spring for the take-out, couch, cuddles and Netflix. This isn’t easy on you. When the time is right, you have a community of people EXCITED to celebrate with you!
Abby Anderson is a Wedding & Portrait Photographer in Fargo, ND + Moorhead, MN
Vibrant Lovestories, Modern Fairytales // www.abbyanderson.com