pro tips: navigating covid-19 and weddings

As we type this post, the world is shrouded in uncertainty but we’re seeking out the comforts we can and remaining positive. 17+ years in business, we’ve not seen anything like what’s happening, but we want you to know that we are here for you in any capacity we can be and are writing this to be supportive, helpful, and positive to wedding and event creatives and to couples in the middle of planning their weddings.

In the past week we’ve shared our advice with countless media outlets on what to do if you’re a small business or planning your wedding – we’ve been tapped by BRIDES.com, Carats & Cake, The Knot Wedding Pro, Aisle Planner, and many more. This post is a compilation of our advice from those articles, and we really encourage you to click the links to see more from other industry leaders. This is an unprecedented time, and we’re working hard to provide insight and tips into how to navigate these uncharted waters.

First and foremost, we feel so strongly that no couple should cancel their wedding or event. This big time of joy for you shouldn’t succumb to a pandemic, and below you’ll find some ways to best navigate this time and to move forward with a postponement if necessary. Here are some questions we’ve been asked frequently:

How do we decide and let our guests know if we need to postpone? As is the case with so many weddings right now, CDC guidelines and the safety of others means weddings in the next several weeks need to be postponed. We suggest emailing guests as soon as you know you’re postponing (if you don’t have a new date just yet, let guests know you’re working on it). Tell them how excited you are to properly celebrate with them and that details are forthcoming. If guests aren’t email savvy, call them. Tradition would have you mail out an announcement stating such but we give you grace here – emailing is just fine to get the word out quickly.

Why postpone instead of cancel? We never want a couple to have to cancel their wedding. Cancelling means you are losing out on the happiest memory. You will likely lose out on countless retainers and deposits paid and due, whereas postponing means you can parlay monies paid into another date and have the wedding you’ve dreamed up. Creative artists encourage you to postpone and not cancel and should work hard to make it happen. If timing is difficult to find, think about an intimate ceremony right now, and then plan for a beautiful reception in the fall with your loved ones.

How to we communicate the need to postpone to our vendor team? Go into this as organized as possible – print out all of your contracts, your timeline, your design plans, menus – really everything that you can so you’re ready to ask and answer questions. It’s like your own Captain’s log or dossier. If you don’t have a planning team, take the reigns and call your creative team – starting with the venue/catering team. Ask them how you can parlay this into a new date and gather several dates in the fall or winter that would work. Then bring these dates to your photographer/videographer, designer, etc., etc.

What is the best way to switch everyone to a new date? Follow the steps above and provide 2-3 ideal dates and hope that your creative team can all transfer over. Vendors should then send over an ammendment with a new date. Then get your guests an updated save the date or invitation (see below for printed versus digital).

Do we need to send new invitations? If your invitations were already mailed out and you’re postponing by a month or two, we give grace to the traditional etiquette and suggest having your designer create a new digital suite. Now, if you have a new venue or your wedding will be in the fall or winter with a slightly different seasonal feeling, you can create a new suite with your designer that you mail out to guests. Be sure to direct guests to your wedding website to watch any changes.

Our wedding is in July – do we need to postpone?  At this point we don’t believe so. We suggest sending your guests an email or calling guests saying how excited you are to celebrate with them and tell them you are keeping an eye on the CDC guidelines. That time may come, but we’re all holding hope that this passes and we can gather soon!

We were getting married in Europe – should we still? As much as we want to say YES!, no one knows what travel ramifications will look like in the coming months. As we look into 2021 we certainly hope that you can celebrate with a destination wedding in Europe and hope to support the beautiful properties and creatives there. If you are getting married this year or postponing until later this year, consider a gorgeous US destination wedding – Washington State has incredible islands that are so serene, Napa Valley can feel like the French countryside, Charleston is steeped in charm, and New England is just spectacular in the fall. Broaden your vision a bit and think about what seasonal location stateside would be easier for guests to travel to.

And here are 6 things you can do NOW to keep the planning process fun and rolling along!

Work on your wedding play list! Open a bottle of bubbly and map out what kind of music you want to weave in through each chapter of your day. Hop on a call or video with your DJ or band leader and get excited about music!

Update your website: plug in photos and more of your story. Add in restaurants you support and love and must-see things you want guests to experience

Schedule a Zoom call with your entire wedding team!  schedule a happy hour with your planner and creative team and share what you’re excited about!

Daydream about the flow of your day:  now is a fantastic time to talk through how you’d like your wedding to flow. Pepper in fun activities, think about what cocktail hour will look like, and create a timeline frame.

Get on Pinterest!  We encourage our couples to create a wedding board on Pinterest that is inspired by architecture, colors in nature, and travel, not just photos from other weddings. Pin food styling ideas and cocktails that appeal to you. Share these images with your creative team on your Zoom call!

Sample cocktails!  What better time to plan your happy hour menu than now when you’re home? Get some great recipe ideas from your catering team or bartending service or hop to Food & Wine to find recipes you can mix and sample at home together.

All photos by O’Malley Photographers || Stationery: Grey & Cake

We’re all in this together – let’s continue to support each other. Leave a comment if you have other ideas for how to keep planning!

 

  • Jessica said:

    Thank you for the reassuring tips.