2020 began joyfully for many; my family was lucky to gather and celebrate in Miami with all four of my kids! I was happy that my forthcoming 2020 season was already nearly fully booked. There were many exciting destination weddings in Italy and fabulous weddings in New England ahead for me and my couples. I was planning to develop my skills further and signed up for two international conferences. I planned to finally visit London to see my eldest daughter, and then my brother and his family in Paris. My husband and I even had trips booked to China for his work!
And then, everything changed. What first felt just like a bad dream gradually became the realization that this would be our new reality. Among other things, the pandemic tremendously changed our approach to weddings and wedding planning.
Below is what it taught me, your wedding planner:
1. Flexibility. As much as we love to create a unique vision for your wedding and stick to it, we need to have multiple contingency plans. Once we accept that things are uncertain right now, and prepare accordingly, the process is much more comfortable.
2. Grievances. Couples have the right to be angry and unhappy, as their wedding date was canceled or postponed. It is OK. It is also OK to feel desperate and seek sympathy from your family and friends. However, it doesn’t happen all the time, and many brides and grooms felt a lack of this essential support. My advice is: talk to your planner, who is your constant support; surround yourself only with people who share and understand your pain. Become a part of a Facebook group, such as this very supportive and smart group: Wedding Disaster Support: COVID-19. It is essential to understand that you are not alone, and others are sharing your feelings and offering support, and quite often smart suggestions. Many couples do seek some therapy and feel that it helps them to adjust to the new reality.
3. Safety. Make sure that you work with vendors who are professional and take all the restrictions very seriously. You may think about supplying your guests with masks and sanitizers, but safety goes well beyond that. The number of the guests/vendors, social distancing, temperature measurements, and even negative test results provided by all the participants ahead of time are now the entrance points. Many venues limit dancing; buffets and family-style food are not acceptable anymore. Our goal is to follow all the guidelines while creating a warm and happy atmosphere for you and your guests. Your planner is here to help you think it all through.
4. Inclusivity. Yes, even if your wedding is smaller in size than initially planned, you can live-stream your ceremony (or the whole reception) to your family and friends who are unable to attend in person. Multiple platforms are now offering live streaming services, it quickly gained popularity and is here to stay in the post- COVID era. We continue to see that this technology is an easy and affordable way to bring people together and make them part of your big day.
5. Attention to details. Details have taken on a new vital meaning among this pandemic: new social distancing rules may require you to change your floor plans; the flow of the day may make you change the place where your First Look may take place and how you will get ready. Please discuss these with your planner to make sure we can create a fun and beautiful atmosphere while safely navigating through potential obstacles. Planning smartly will help you and your guests to feel happy and relaxed and taken care of.
6. Protect your investment. Make sure you read your contracts attentively and understand the force majeure clause. Don’t hesitate to ask your service providers about their covid-19 cancelation policy! I also suggest that you research different wedding insurance options and talk to your insurance agent about the best ones for you. Destination weddings will require different approaches. The average premium for basic wedding insurance starts at$155 for basic liability and $130 for basic cancellation. Most wedding insurance will only cover losses that occur after you buy the policy, which is why you should get insurance before any wedding-related payments or reservations are made.
7. Reinvent what a “dream wedding” could be. It is helpful to have the right attitude towards your planning. What are the essential priorities? I always ask my couples to name me three essential things they want to have at their wedding. What we all learned this year is that these priorities shifted. Intimacy with your partner and your guests, an appreciation that you are surrounded by those you love the most, and the feeling that getting married is more important than having a big party. Many couples prefer to get married and even start a family and postpone their big celebration to a better time. Having a smaller wedding also leaves room to potentially save money while providing high-quality florals, food, etc!
8. Resilience. Now, when we are accustomed to this new reality, it should be easier to anticipate that things may not go as planned. In a way, it helps us to be more resilient and prepare ourselves for sudden changes. It teaches us to cherish what matters the most and be grateful for it. While we are optimistically hoping for the better, we learned to overcome difficulties and appreciate what we have. Resilience is required from the couples and everyone who helps them plan and celebrate their wedding: the wedding professionals and closest family and friends.
9. Joy. Small weddings bring beautiful memories and a special warmth to the couple and everyone in attendance. While some couples prefer to postpone and invite everyone they initially wanted, others don’t want to wait. Micro weddings have proven to be a successful alternative to big gatherings, filling people’s hearts with happiness, making them emotional, and warming their hearts. I had a few micro weddings this past season, and each of them was a pure joy to plan and participate in. I helped either scale down an initially big event or plan a small and intimate celebration in record times. Each of these weddings made me feel unbelievably happy – because I saw my couples, the tears, love, and joy in their eyes. It was such a relief for me; it filled me with this incredible feeling of happiness and understanding that what I do is worthwhile and especially so in these challenging times.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.
I hope that all of my couples have an enjoyable experience planning their weddings, and sincerely believe we will overcome these challenges!
I want you all to celebrate your important moments in life to the fullest.