Corona Chronicles: Ideas and Resources For My 2020 Engaged Couples
Guyyssss I have been trying to get this blog post out for DAYS! But do you know how hard it is to focus on work when there are three kids in the house 24/7!? In fact, as I put the final sentences together for this post, it’s 10:15 am and my kids are running outside in the rain. They’re going to be wet and have grass clippings all over their feet, and I’m going to need to step away and supervise, ugh. (It literally never stops, friends!) Anyways, this post finally finished and I hope my couples, along with some others, who are affected by the COVID-19 situation, will find this information helpful!
I must first preface it with the info below is just a list of my ideas and my suggestions! This info is not the end all be all, it is not set in stone and it is not the only option for you. What you’ll read is a result of conversations I’ve had with my brides and vendor friends, as well as what I’ve read online.
IDEAS & SUGGESTIONS IF YOU’RE CONSIDERING A POSTPONEMENT
First, POSTPONE DON’T CANCEL! You may have already seen this message floating around the wedding industry and while I don’t want to encourage any couple to plan (or re-plan) beyond their abilities, do anything they don’t desire and/or feel pressured, cancelling your wedding really doesn’t need to be the solution. And really, it makes me sad! You just want to get married, right? You put all this time and effort and money into planning your wedding and just because you can’t have it on your original date doesn’t mean it can’t happen! You really can still get married, friends…YAY!
So if you go through the steps below and find that the stars may be aligning for you, go for the postponement! Keep that vendor team together, keep your friends and family looking forward to that celebration, and keep planning your dream wedding!
Second, CONTACT YOUR VENUE! You can’t have a wedding without a date and location, right!? So I suggest contacting your venue first. Ask them if they’ve put a COVID-19 postponement policy into place for 2020 couples. Some venues are allowing you to choose a reschedule date, but you could have to forego your original date to do so. Other venues are allowing “pencil-in-dates” that accompany a deadline. You keep your original date and choose a back-up date, BUT you must make a decision on which to move forward with by a certain date. For example, I have a couple needing to make a decision by mid-May to either stick with their original June date or go with their “pencil-in-date” in November.
No matter what your venue is putting in place for postponements, their doings can give a solid starting point as you try to map things out moving forward.
Third, CONSIDER BEING FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR DATE! Postponing means you’re already being flexible with your date, but you may need to consider dates in a completely different season than initially planned, and possibly on a day of the week other than Saturday. Venues are releasing any and all Saturdays they had left (even beyond their “normal” scheduling calendar) because of COVID-19 and couples needing to postpone, so it may not be easy to find a Saturday for your postponement date. Heck, I’ve heard Fridays and Sundays are even hard to find in some places! But let me reassure you…non-Saturday weddings are completely okay! My husband Brian and I were married on a Friday and we hoped everyone saw it as a three-day weekend! I also now have a Monday wedding next year because of a postponement, and I’ve got a Monday wedding this year that was scheduled on purpose. Be different! Go for a non-Saturday.
Also, choosing a non-Saturday date for your postponement means you increase the chances of your vendors being available. Which leads me to…
Fourth, CONTACT YOUR VENDORS! Before I dive into this step, I must share what I’m hoping for from my couples as a wedding vendor myself…
I’ve got two goals in all of this: See my couples get married and fulfill the contracts we have together. The best way we can make sure we still work together in a postponement situation is to communicate from the start of the re-planning process. I am happy to share a giant list of available dates (all days of the week included) for the second part of 2020 and 2021 so the cross-referencing with other vendors’ available dates can happen immediately.
Okay, now for an overview of step four…
Hopefully ALL of your vendors would be able to move to your new date if you have to postpone. Your photographer, videographer, caterer, DJ, hair and makeup artists, florist, transportation, officiant…I suggest sending them all an email at the least and asking if they have any postponement policies in place. Better yet, give them a call! Getting on the phone, especially if it’s urgent, will prevent misinterpreted email tones and can speed up the process. It also just gives opportunity to have some raw, real conversation with some personal connection…and at a time like this, such connection can be so helpful. I’ve actually had so many wonderful phone conversations with my early 2020 brides…it’s actually been refreshing!
Ask your vendors for their available dates as well. If the stars align, you could find a date that works for ALL your vendors, from venue to officiant. (If you’re marrying at a venue that is sort of a “one stop shop”, this may be relatively easy!) BUT in the case that not all your vendors would be available for one date, you could consider making a list of those vendors who you absolutely don’t want to get married without and choose a new date according to what they and your venue have open.
PLEASE NOTE: Venues and even vendors may have reschedule fees, so just be ready for that! They want to be understanding and as flexible as possible during this time, but they’re also trying to run a business and stay afloat. I’ve decided, at least for right now, to not add postponement fees for my clients. Again, I just want to see my couples get married and fulfill the contracts we have together!
Fifth, TELL YOUR GUESTS! If you are postponing your wedding, tell your friends and family ASAP, especially if you’ve sent out save the dates, invitations and/or released a wedding website. If you’ve mailed something to them already, a save the date or invite, consider Paper Hearts Invitations’ solutions! My friend and former JFP bride Allison has put together some spectacular digital and paper options for couples needing to communicate changes with guests. She’s offering a digital graphic that can be sent to guests electronically, postponement postcards, and discounts on reprinting. She also just launched a giant collection of invitations that allow couples to get customized wedding paper goods easily. So whether you’ve printed invitations yet or not, she’s your gal!
If you haven’t set up a wedding website yet, this could be a good time. It’s an easy way to update a large group of people, and do it as frequently as needed without having to physically print anything, or send out individual emails and texts. I’ve also heard of couples putting together private Facebook groups and communicating with guests that way.
Sixth, GET MARRIED ANYWAY! Hold up, wait a minute. I am not telling you to ignore what our government officials are saying and get married during an unsafe time and in an unsafe way. This just means that you may still be able to get married on your original wedding date anyway, just in a very different way! Elope in the mountains or in your backyard with your officiant and photographer + videographer…go to the courthouse in the middle of the week. If you just want to get married dangit, do it! You don’t need to wait until the “big” celebration that’s being postponed. No one cares if you show up to your wedding already married!
However, this also doesn’t mean you need to forego those original, big plans. I have two couples who are marrying in a super small ceremony and then having everything they already had planned for their wedding, they’re just doing it in 2021 instead! Their venue, vendors, celebration goodness are all moving forward with them and the only thing that’s changing is the date.
BONUS: If you marry on your original date anyway (safely, as I mentioned above), any custom-printed details like signs, favors, coozies, etc. with that date on it can still be legit and true! I think you could even pull those things out on your postponement date as a reminder of the challenge you pushed through and to represent your real, first wedding date! I got this idea from my friend Brittany’s podcast, which you can link to below!
RESOURCES TO CONSIDER
Whatever you do, do not fall into the black hole that is the World Wide Web, ha! Googling, visiting online wedding forums, reading comment threads in Facebook groups…it could all lead to bad advice and send you into a spiral of panic and overwhelm. However, there is some good info out there that might be worth reading…
YOUR STATE: Check your state Governor’s website! Making sure you’re in line with your state orders on gatherings, staying at home, etc. is going to be important when figuring out whether or not you need to postpone. For my couples marrying at Deep Creek that are not from Maryland, you’ll want to check this website.
YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE: If you’ve already gotten a marriage license, you may need to get a new one if you’re postponing. The licenses are only valid for a certain amount of time, so calling the courthouse or clerk’s office should be on your list of to-dos. For example, here in Garrett County, MD, there’s a two-day waiting period to get married once the license is issued, but it’s only valid for six months. Our clerk’s office, which is where the licenses are given, is also closed for the time being so this is another hurdle you may encounter.
BURGH BRIDES: This Pittsburgh wedding blog has put together a nice overview of steps to consider if your wedding is being affected by COVID-19. I like it because it doesn’t recommend anything too rash!
BRITTANY ANNE’S EVENTS: My friend Brittany of Brittany Anne’s Events in Morgantown, WV shared a podcast episode all about COVID-19 and how it’s affecting weddings on So You Said Yes: The Do’s and Don’ts of Wedding Planning, the podcast she started last year. She talks about some of her clients who have had to postpone and brings in three wedding vendors to discuss their own experiences.
Beyond Brittany’s rentals and her podcast, she also offers wedding planning! If you have a wedding planner, you may even put them in line before contacting your venue. But if you hadn’t hired a wedding planner, maybe now is the time to consider!? Sure it could add an extra cost, but if you’re too stressed and/or busy to push through postponement plans, a planner could be a HUGE help! Give Brittany a call and I’m sure she can help relieve that stress and help with the steps above.
Whew! If you’ve made it through all of that info, a million high fives to you! I’m sorry it’s such a lengthy blog post, but I didn’t want to leave out any possible good piece of info! This may be an overwhelming, tiring, stressful time for your wedding planning, but with the right steps in place and no rash decisions, it is possible to still make your wedding happen, and do it in the way you originally planned and dreamed.
If I can help in any way, PLEASE REACH OUT! Let’s talk on the phone…let’s email! Let’s get you married!