Juggling dates, negotiating with suppliers and glued to TV news? If that sounds familiar then you are one of the many couples who got their wedding plans caught up in the COVID-19 global pandemic.
You might be distressed and frustated to face the re-planning of your wedding and rightfully so when it took so long - years some cases - to get here. If you're in this unfortunate situation then let me share you the key elements you would need to think of for a less painful outcome and to keep the ball rolling.
Planning a wedding is not easy in normal times when you have to keep a lot of plates spinning at the same time:
book a venue, quest invitations, registrar, suppliers... and all that needs to come together at the same time.
With the lockdown measures in place and social distancing in mind all these are influenced by things out of your control. And the plates are smashing all over the floor...
Some couples just hang on to the last string and hoping the restrictions are going to be lifted in time. Some others are booking backup dates which leaves them with more options, but also with more uncertainty.
Good news is that there're a way to manage all this, so you don't have to endure that helpless frustation. As with every plan in life you need to take considerations for those risks out of your control, certain events that might happen like changing your date. Under normal circumstances the need for changing a date is very unlikely and usually does not need to be considered, but the last couple months changed that.
The best way to overcome this uncertainty is make a backup plan anyway. Better to do it rather soon, because the more you wait for the news from government and your venue to ease the restrictions the closer you get your wedding and that just pushes all your planning in small window, where more likely your supppliers won't be available or your guests able to make their arrangements in time to attend.
With a backup plan you can secure a later date when things are a bit more calm. That leaves you some more time for work things out, make all ends meet and you can just lean back a bit knowing that whatever this global crysis brings upon us you can at any point trigger your backup plan, with most of the legwork already done.
To do list for plan B
- Venue and Registrar/Church: get a backup date from these first that fits your plan the best. Don't worry to push back if the offered dates don't suit well, remember that venues will try to steer you to a set of dates that are unlikely to otherwise fill, but may not be your best options.
- Suppliers: work with your suppliers, check availability, try to secure your new date you got from your venue. Good suppliers will book both your original and backup date. That's what I do at StevenK Photography to support my couples. You will also need to let them know your latest no-go date (see below).
- Guests: let everyone know that your're going ahead with a plan A and plan B, so they can make their arrangements knowing in advance what might happen.
- Go/no-go date: this is important as this is the last chance to pull the trigger on you plan B safely if things go sideways with plan A. Most venues should let you know what this is, as they won't hold both dates booked indefinitely as they too need to plan their work, staff, etc.
- Asses time of the year: if your new date is in a rather different time of the year, then you will need to consider the weather changes or the daylight available as shorted days will not just affect your schedule, but the colder weather might change your catering options, etc. Also let your suppliers know about all the changes they might need to cope with.
With these key points sorted out you can just relax a bit, monitor the global news and decide before your go/no-go date whether to go ahead with your original plan or shift things onto plan B. If things look promising and the resctrictions are lifted up, then you may want to stick with plan A, but please take into consideration how the guidelines change on gatherings as you may find yourself in a rather awkward position if it is causing problems even after the lockdown is lifted. Yes, I'm looking at you social distancing and people limit.
If things still look too uncertain then you may just want to go with plan B instead. Yes, that can be disappointing but at least you can start looking forward to it again and with the work you already done it will be much easier to re-plan your wedding.
Remember there is no good or bad choice here, both plans will serve you good, so don't be afraid to make up your mind. But once you decided to go with the backup plan, then just forget about the original! There is no point to be upset a bit later when you feel the original plan could have worked after all, because if you didn't make that call in time you could have ended up with much more stress and uncertainty.
Work around problematic areas
Book a Celebrant rather then a Registrar
If your registrar is not available at that time you want, not all is lost. It is just a small part of your day, but it could affect the running of the day for a late ceremony would mean a long way to travel for your guest for only a few hours.
One way to work around this is to book a Celebrant instead on you wedding day and just having a small ceremony a later date or before.
There's advantages to this as there are a lot more celebrants than registrars so you could find one easier to fit in your schedule and they're less restricted with legal legislation on how and where the ceremony must be held, but technically you won't be "married" on your wedding day.
If you'll have a church wedding then there are a few options here as well if the numbers are limited even after the lockdown.
Vicals will often allow to make your vows on the date you originally planned, and then re-run the services at a later date and repeat your vows in a past tense. This would also allow you to have your anniversary date on the day you originally planned if there is a significance to it.
Your photographer is not available
You cannot proceed with your wedding without your chosen photographer capturing it, right? Of course that is not true. That's why I do all I can to assure my couples that I'm going to shoot their wedding regardless what the world is coming to. Even where this is not possible, most good suppliers will work with you to find someone just as good.
This applies to all suppliers, even venues! It would be a shame not to have your day in place you've set your heart on, but in reality there will be other venues which can offer a similar look and feel. If that means that other suppliers, family and guests will all be there then this is something worth considering too.
Postpone your wedding
For some this could be the go to solution taking they hate risks and the uncertainty around it all, and just be like waiting till it's all over and back to normal. Just abandon the original date and go for a new date. Period.
This is a personal preference, for some people the uncertainty would be worse than the idea to abandon the original date, and then just start to look forward to it all again without the threat of a curved-ball coming their way. Also if you're so far advance in your planning then you wouldn't need to start it over from stratch, as you have done a lot of the planning work already to make it easy for a new plan.
Yeah, it is not ideal. Nobody expected the world going nuts all of a sudden, but there are measures you can take to reduce the impact on your plans. Also your don't have to do it on your own, as there are many people who can help your through it. Most of your suppliers are experts in planning already, like your venue is likely well used to the juggling with many things at once, and will be able to give a good advice.
Or if you'd like to have an input from me, then just feel free to get in contact and I'll be more than happy to give guidance as well whether you've already booked with me or not yet.
All stay well and healthy.
- StevenK Photography