There are always a lot of moving parts when it comes to planning a wedding. Add a pandemic to the mix, and it can easily feel overwhelming. That said, many couples have proven that with a little ingenuity, flexibility, and a few precautions, it is possible to pull off a beautiful and safe wedding, even in the face of extremely challenging circumstances.
You too can make a success of your wedding during COVID-19. To do so, BBB recommends the following tips.
COVID-19 Wedding Planning Tips
- Follow government guidelines. Don’t go with your gut feeling when making important decisions on how to keep your guests safe. In the United States, read Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Considerations for Events and Gatherings and Travel During COVID-19 for guiding principles to help you make wise decisions for you and your guests. In Canada, check out this resource on Canada.ca about celebrations. Don’t forget that each state and province may have its own guidelines and restrictions on quarantine, travel, and gatherings. Use the CDC’s directory to find the link to your state’s Department of Health for the latest news on restrictions regarding travel and social events.
- Come up with a COVID-19 plan. You want your wedding to be memorable and fun, but most importantly, you want it to be safe for you and your guests. Right away, decide how to protect the most important people in your life by setting up some clear guidelines and then stick to them. Take the time to sit down with your partner and make tough decisions about social distancing, how many guests to invite, and whether to wear masks. If you need to dramatically reduce your guest list, think about what workarounds you might be able to implement.
- Come up with a “Plan B.” Despite your best laid plans, things may still go awry with ever-changing restrictions. Come up with a plan B you really love. For example, many couples have chosen to have a tiny backyard wedding with immediate family members while planning a larger gathering for later. Other couples, who don’t want to skip the big wedding, have decided to get legally married now and celebrate later or simply postpone their wedding to a future date.
- Hire an event planner. Event planners can be invaluable at this time. They have open lines of communication with wedding vendors and venues, they keep local restrictions in mind, and likely already have experience planning a COVID-19 wedding. Get recommendations from friends and family who have used a wedding planner in the past or look up wedding planners on BBB.org to find local event planners that run BBB Accredited Businesses. Be sure to research each company’s business rating and read consumer reviews as well.
- Always read the contracts. Reading contracts is critical during a pandemic. Fortune.com reminds brides- and grooms-to-be that in today’s fluid situation, it’s important to check with vendors and venues to find out “what the cancellation and rescheduling policy is, when you have to make the decision, and whether your deposit will transfer over to the new date.”
- Communicate with your venue and vendors. With florists, photographers, DJs, caterers, venue staff, and many other vendors to take into account it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to your big day. Only hire vendors who have good communication skills and talk about the big what-ifs up front. What will the vendor do to ensure everyone’s safety? What is their reschedule policy if you or your partner are exposed to COVID-19? What is the vendor’s backup plan if they are exposed to COVID-19? What will happen to your deposit if governmental restrictions force you to reschedule? Make sure you understand and feel comfortable with a vendor’s answers before you hire.
- Order everything you need well in advance. The pandemic has affected shipping times for many companies, so if you’ll be doing the bulk of your purchases online or at stores that need to place an order, start early. Experts recommend ordering wedding dresses, for example, at least six months early, which will allow plenty of time for a return, exchanges, and/or alterations.
- Give guests safe gifting options. An online gift registry will allow guests to purchase gifts from the safety of their home and ship them straight to yours. If you postpone or reschedule your wedding and you are already registered at a store, WeddingWire.com offers excellent advice on registry etiquette during COVID-19.
- Go virtual. One way to keep your guest list large without endangering anyone’s health is to host a virtual wedding. Virtual parties are gaining in popularity as the pandemic drags on and can be a fun and safe way to celebrate your marriage with the ones you love.
- Keep your guests in the know. Let your guests know about any changes to your wedding plans as soon as possible. In addition, be completely transparent about the number of guests that will attend your wedding as well as the safety precautions you’ll be implementing during the ceremony and reception. This will put your guests at ease and give them the information they need as they decide whether or not they will attend.
- Stay positive. The pandemic hasn’t been easy on anyone, so if you start feeling down when you have to change your plans yet again, know that you aren’t alone. According to The Knot’s Official Guidebook for COVID-19, 35% of couples who had upcoming weddings have postponed to 2021 or later. Remember, your wedding is just the beginning – you still have plenty of meaningful milestones ahead that you will be able to celebrate with all your friends and family.
For More Information
Read BBB Wedding Tips and visit The Knot’s Official Guidebook for COVID-19 Wedding Help for more helpful tips.