Most engaged couples since March of 2020 have dealt with some uncertainty and have had to reimagine what they thought their wedding would be like. They have had to deal with what no couple wants to as they are planning a wedding - the unknown. The good news is, after eight months, many couples have had successful, safe weddings and have great Covid-19 wedding advice for couples still in the planning process.
We were able to ask some of our past brides about their experiences with planning and how they shuffled things around so they were still able to get married and celebrate. Here are three different experiences and solutions to the Covid-19 bumps while planning a wedding.
Let's Meet the Brides!
Kari originally planned to have her wedding on May 16th at Avalon Legacy Ranch. Instead of rescheduling the whole wedding, they decided to go ahead with an intimate ceremony and plan the big celebration later, on September 5th. They preferred to keep their original date and were eager to get married, even if they couldn't have all their friends and family present at the ceremony. They later celebrated at Avalon Legacy Ranch with friends and family.
Skyler had planned her wedding to be on May 31st at The Emerson. They were eager to get married and so they decided to have an intimate ceremony at The Emerson on May 31st with close family and their wedding party only. On August 16th, they had their wedding reception at The Emerson with the larger guest list.
Mattie decided to stick with her original wedding date, August 29th, but scaled it way back to an intimate ceremony at her mom's house. They had their ceremony in the back yard with only close family and had dinner to celebrate. They kept the majority of their original vendors except for their venue.
How Did You Make the Your Intimate Ceremony Special?
"I found a simple white dress online to wear, the florist made me a beautiful bouquet, the bakery made us smaller versions of our cakes and we opted to keep our videographer and photographer booked for the day as well. It was intimate, meaningful, and sweet. Looking back now, I can see why people do the micro-weddings and elope."
"Our venue was gracious enough to allow us to have our ceremony in their space, and our photographers were there as well to document the occasion. We are SO thankful that we were still married in the place we dreamed it would be and every moment was captured by our lovely photographers!"
Mattie kept the majority of her vendors, including her florist, rental company, photographer, bakery, and caterer, but scaled it back. With their help, she had a micro wedding complete with ceremony arch, chairs, and full dinner set up! "The intimacy that we created with the help of our vendors made it special. The day, while not what we had planned or envisioned originally, was so special. We were really pleased with how everything unfolded."
How Did You Make a Larger Reception Safe for Everyone?
"Lots of hand sanitizer, we spaced the tables way out, we limited to 8 per table, had social distancing signs up, all food and drink stations changed to full service rather than self-serve. The groom's party was nervous about the number of people attending, so they wanted to leave right after pictures, which meant changing the schedule and moving up the best man toast."
"We put in every safety measure we could think of to make our guests feel as comfortable as possible. Upon entry, each guest's forehead temperature was taken, we ordered custom masks for them to grab as the night went on (required to wear when inside not eating, optional outside), we kept cocktail hour/bar/dancing outside for fresh air and room to roam, all servers wore masks and gloves and handled all the food/plates, sanitizing stations throughout, and the max at a table was 10 people, with tables being 6 feet apart."
How Did You Come to the Decisions You Made?
"We didn't really have a choice! We decided that if it was possible to do the wedding safely, we wanted to move forward with it, knowing we would have to take more precautions. The thought of moving the big day to next year sometime just didn't appeal to me. There is so much unknown about where we will even be next year with all of this covid stuff, so I couldn't imagine going through all the planning and replanning next year as well. We were just ready to celebrate and start our lives."
"At the end of the day, we wanted people to enjoy themselves and not be anxious about someone touching their plate, or being cramped inside. So, every decision we made was purely about how to give everyone every opportunity to feel secure. Megan, our wedding planner, was invaluable in helping us determine and decide what measures we wanted to take. We couldn't have done any of that without her support and direction!"
"It was a very difficult decision. We of course wanted our close friends and extended family members to attend but being smart and safe was our top priority. We made the decision in late June as the number of COVID cases reported in Dallas county were extremely high on a daily basis. We were able to have friends and extended family be there via a live stream platform which turned out to be a big hit."
Is There Anything You Would Change About Your Experience?
"Now that I've been through it, I wouldn't have stressed so hard about the finite details and put so much pressure on myself and the day to be perfect. You can't control everything that happens or how people act, so being flexible on the day was key."
"No one could have planned for a pandemic, but moving forward we will be very cautious about signing vendor contracts, making sure there are clauses that protect us (the consumer) if something like this happens again. Make sure you ask all your questions up front and get responses in writing. Also, if able, have lawyers review the contracts before you sign as well."
What Advice Would You Give Couples Planning Their Wedding?
"Don't let COVID-19 scare you away from moving forward with your plans- it can still be done and be amazing! Just be flexible and know that, pandemic or not, things happen. When you hit a roadblock and what you want doesn't work out, just do the next best thing. It rained on both of my wedding days (that means double the luck right!?!!) and I was upset that I didn't get to have my outdoor garden wedding. What I got was a beautiful alter with twinkly lights, standing under a chandelier dripping with flowers and it couldn't have been more beautiful! Trust your planner and your vendors to still deliver. Your day will all come together, you just have to let yourself let go of the expectations of perfection so you can enjoy your day.
The other thing I would say is that if the idea of pulling off a big wedding during this time is overwhelming, consider a micro-wedding. You can have your vision and go all out on flowers, food, champagne, and decor, just on a much smaller scale. You still get the incredible day, with your most important people and it might end up being more enjoyable than stressing over a big event. It also lends to more opportunities for your photographer and videographer to get more artistic shots of the day and really spend time documenting every detail. And hey, throw the big party in a year to celebrate making it through your first year of marriage during a pandemic!"
"You have to think about and take into consideration all your guests and family and changing restrictions and opinions — but at the end of the day, this is about you marrying your best friend. That's it, plain and simple. It is so hard to give up control or change what you've worked hard on or feel like you're losing what you envisioned for months or years. When it's all said and done, though, you will be SO happy to finally be married and starting your lives together, and you'll look back on that day (or days) and know that it happened exactly how it was supposed to. If anything, having to alter our plans made our ceremony and reception even more full of love, clarity, and joy."
"Depending on your situation (age, lifestyle, etc.) consider getting married on the date you originally picked, even if it's at the courthouse or a family or friend's house. Saying your vows and making a commitment to each other is still the most important part of this whole process. Read all your vendor contracts before contacting them about rescheduling. Be very careful about using the word "canceling." Be prepared to lose some money if you opt to reschedule. While that sucks remember you are likely keeping people from contracting COVID-19, even preventing death."
Were There Any Details Related to Covid-19 that you Felt Were Especially Helpful?
"The guests all really appreciated the personal hand sanitizers at the table and the signs around the venue to remind people to social distance. We had two "safety tables" for our more sensitive guests that were positioned in the back, away from the bulk of all the other tables, but still able to see and hear and be a part of everything. We had guests come, sit and stay for the evening at those tables who were only going to come to the ceremony, but were pleased that we had an area to accommodate them that was still inclusive in the party so they could stay and enjoy themselves.
My situation was especially challenging because we had to navigate 2 totally different family feelings and sensitivities about Covid-19. We had to look at the wedding day in pieces and work inward to a solution that makes sense. We also had to be realistic to know that we could not please everyone and accommodate everyone's feelings. It's not about who shows up to your wedding day it's about who pours into your life."
"EED's Covid-19 resources are completely invaluable in terms of all the options you can take in making your day that much safer. Having our planner, Megan, be there every step of the way through this is something we would never ever give up — without having someone who could guide us to make informed decisions (even before the pandemic!), I have NO idea how we could have done all of this!
Beyond that, communication is absolutely key. This is such a confusing time, so it's essential to be extra communicative. We were super clear with everyone on when and why we moved the reception, what safety measures we were taking, and most importantly, that if they did not feel comfortable coming they 100% did not have to. You have to let them know that it's based on their comfort level and you completely understand."
If you need some guidance and Covid-19 wedding advice to help navigate your wedding planning, please reach out to us! We are always happy yo make planning easier for you and to share our resources to make it less stressful!
The Each & Every Detail Team