Planning a Wedding During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Here’s What You Need to Know

If you are currently experiencing the emotional rollercoaster of planning your wedding during the COVID-19 pandemic (or wondering if you need to consider rescheduling) know that our hearts go out to you and that we are here to help. 

We chatted with the experts for guidance on what couples can do during this difficult time. Here’s how to make the wedding planning and postponing process a bit easier.

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Be Proactive and Open to Change

Continue to monitor the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and local government protocols. Every day is changing and advised gathering sizes and travel advisories are being altered. If you are unsure whether or not to postpone, air on the side of caution and begin the process of postponing. It may seem like a travesty to postpone the celebration you’ve put so much work into, but we can assure you that having your over-capacity wedding broken up by police (yes, that’s happening around the country) or putting your guests and elderly relatives at risk will feel much worse than having to change your date.

Bride and groom elope with VW bus
Image credit:  Eliza Szablinska

Decide When You Want Your Marriage to Begin

You may not be able to celebrate your wedding the way you planned, but the good news is that the wedding is just one day in the lifetime of your marriage. Even if the party can’t take place on the date you planned, it doesn’t mean you can’t tie the knot with an officiant and witness socially distanced six feet from you. You can even invite all your wedding guests to watch the nuptials on Zoom.

“Consider eloping or still getting married privately, and then rescheduling your big celebration for another day,” suggests Jessica English, editor of Apple Brides, a wedding resource publication in the Pacific Northwest. “You can tell people you married, or keep it between the two of you, but making it official may give you some much-needed celebration and make postponing the reception slightly less painful. Many vendors are offering small elopement packages or services for couples opting to do this.”

Planning Doesn’t Need to Wait

If COVID-19 has put a damper on your to-do list of wedding planning tasks, see what tasks you can move online, even if it means altering your planning timeline so that in-person tasks are saved for last. Sure, you can’t taste cakes over the Internet, but you can review photographer and videographer portfolios, have video calls to nterview potential vendors, take virtual venue tours, and so much more.

Shopping is one of the wedding planning experiences that can be modified to fit the online climate. You may not be able to get your wedding party together to hit the bridal salon for a “say yes to the dress” moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find the dress of your dreams from the comfort of your couch. And with so many people home and attached to their devices, you can send friends photos and screenshots of dresses you love from online wedding dress retailers such as Nearly Newlywed.

Struggling to figure out accessories? Try on jewelry, veils and more from the comfort of your own home with the Send Before You Spend box from Happily Ever Borrowed (Facetime try-on sessions welcome).

Send before you spend box
Image credit: Happily Ever Borrowed

Contact Your Wedding Planner

If you already have a wedding planner, be sure to keep in contact with them. They will assist you in communicating with your vendors and making sure you have all the information you need to make decisions surrounding choosing a new date.

“My method was we reached out to all the vendors to ask if they could give us new availability and then we compiled a color-coded list of everyone’s availability so (couples) can see what their date options are all the way through the end of the year,” explains Tabitha Roberts, owner of event planning company Roberts & Co. “Originally we were giving new dates beginning in June, but we’ve pushed that back to August just for safety reasons.”

All your previous vendors may not be available on your new preferred date. If you find this to be the case, start thinking outside the box to incorporate the vendors from your original date into your new one. Would moving your wedding from a Saturday to a Friday open up more availability? Could your double-booked vendor still find a way to play a part in your wedding day even if they can’t be there the day-of?

“The person we’re having the most trouble moving in all our weddings is entertainment, DJs and bands,” shares Roberts. “What couples did in these cases is when they looked at the list, we had to talk about what’s the easiest one to move or replace. For one of our weddings, the DJ wasn’t going to be able to move but he had other DJs in his network so we’re keeping him for lighting and tech and then we’re subbing him out for another DJ. Even though I don’t want to do that, the other vendors can move.”

Get Wedding Insurance

“It’s always a good idea for everyone to have wedding insurance, many venues and planners require it of their clients,” advises English. Wedding insurance providers such as WedSafe help protect couples from financial loss due to a wedding mishap or vendor incident. Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, insurance providers may be currently unable to offer event cancellation coverage. Be sure to continue to monitor policies for your wedding insurance provider.

Wedding guest sparkler exit
Image credit: Fábio Alves 

Alert Your Guests

You want to give your guests ample time to cancel any travel plans they had made for your wedding. If you do have a new date chosen and scheduled on the books, let your guests know. No need to reprint and send invitations, an email invite works just fine.

“The health and safety of our guests comes first,” states Christina Farr, reporter at CNBC, whose wedding date had to be postponed due to COVID-19. “We used our wedding website, Zola, to send them a mass message. We sent out another one on Thursday to make sure they saw it. I’ve also been texting and calling our guests, and sharing the news on Facebook so that everyone hopefully has seen it by now. So far, we’ve received a lot of positive feedback. Our guests have told us they’re happy to rebook for the new date if they’re able to.”

Remember It’s Okay to Be Upset

Every day comes with a mixed bag of emotions. With the news changing rapidly and plans needing to be altered constantly, it can be overwhelming and upsetting to reschedule your wedding. It’s okay to take time to grieve your original wedding plans, even if you feel like you shouldn’t because there is worse happening in the world around you.

“The hardest part has been to dismantle it,” shares Farr. “Once we made the call, it was easy to let everyone know. And we felt sure that it was the right thing to do. We gave ourselves a few hours to take it all in, and then started making lists of vendors we needed to contact and got on the phone with our wedding planner.”

Plan an at-home date day to celebrate your original wedding date as it passed. Dress up, dance around your living room, and have your very own party with the love of your life.

at-home date to celebrate your wedding
Image credit: Jonathan Borba

Be Kind and Compassionate

This is a tough time for everyone, couples and vendors alike. While stress can cause tension to rise, there has never been a more important time to be an understanding human being. “Your vendors are working SO hard behind the scenes, and they truly care about you and want to do right by you,” reminds English. “Vendors are small business owners that are going to take a HUGE hit because of this, they want to find a way to work together so that everyone wins as much as possible, so take some solace in knowing that.”

Has your wedding planning been impacted by COVID-19? We want to hear what changes you’ve had to make in the comments below.

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