Months of planning and then 2020 gets hit with a pandemic. We know couples are devastated and overwhelmed right now as they contact their vendors, arrange new plans, and make some difficult decisions. For the most part, many of our couples are choosing to have a small, intimate wedding ceremony now and postponing the reception until next year. Some couples are also choosing to postpone their weddings until next year while others are choosing to cancel all plans and to move forward with a smaller wedding. There is nothing wrong with any of these options- what’s important is that every couple makes this decision for themselves. For those planning to scale back and do something small now, we wanted to offer some tips on how to approach re-planning your wedding as a more intimate day.
1. New Vision
Having a more intimate wedding does not mean couples have to ditch all aspects of their big wedding vision. Yes, some ideas may have to be scaled back or canceled, but you can still pamper yourself and wear your dream dress or still have that gorgeous floral ceremony backdrop. You and your partner should go through your wedding list and decide which ideas you can still incorporate. You may also decide to add some fun and more personalized touches. Splurge on some things that you may not have originally such as personalized guest favors, signature cocktails, day-of stationery like menus and place cards, more floral decor, upgraded food selections, or rented furniture and dinnerware sets.
For those who will be canceling the venue and hosting an intimate backyard wedding instead, our friends at Rustic Elegance is making this an easy option! They now have a new rental package for 50 guests or less that includes tents, chairs, table, and more! Also, if you need help putting together your new outdoor plans, their team can also help plan and coordinate your event!
2. Downsizing Guest List
This will probably be one of the more difficult tasks as couples adapt to the pandemic wedding planning changes. While it may be hard to uninvite people, know that by doing this, you are keeping you, your partner, and your loved ones safe by limiting potential exposure. Your new list will most likely have to be fifty people or less, but we advise regularly checking and following CDC’s event suggestions.
As you create a new guest list, start by making a list of people who you absolutely cannot picture your day without such as your immediate family and wedding party. It’s also important to have a conversation with guests you’d still like to invite about if they feel comfortable attending. Elderly grandparents, immunocompromised guests, or healthcare workers may understandably make the hard decision to decline your invitation.
3. Communicate with Your Vendors
No matter what your plans are, it’s important to communicate with all of your booked vendors about your new vision. If you are planning to do something smaller, ask your vendors if they are now offering new packages for 50 people or less events. For those planning a smaller ceremony now and a larger reception later, ask your venue if they would accommodate for a small ceremony and if other vendors such as your photographer, florist, and beauty squad would be willing to provide services for both events. As the weather warms up, you may also want to consider utilizing the backyard or another open, outdoor space to decrease COVID-19 risks.
4. Safety Protocols
It goes without saying, but you and your partner will need to make decisions that past wedding couples have never had to consider. Your vendor team will have new safety protocols and precautions in effect to keep their staff, you, and your guests safe. We absolutely advise couples to educate their guests and instruct them with any expectations. This may mean telling guests that masks will be required. New guest favor idea? Mini hand sanitizers! You may also want to consider social distancing, how to keep high-contact areas sanitized and cleaned, and any other protocols your venue or vendors may require.
5. Tech is Your New MOH
Typically wedding vendors encourage guests to unplug during the ceremony, but as you continue planning your wedding, technology will probably be your best friend. Since you had to uninvite guests, you may want to consider having a “Zoom Wedding” or using Google Meets. Perhaps you may even want to assign a guest to Livestream the ceremony. If you don’t want to stream your wedding to all of your Facebook friends, you can create a private Facebook event and livestream to only the people on the event page. This way those who couldn’t attend in person can still be apart of your special day. If possible, you could also take time throughout the week of your intimate wedding to video chat guests who could no longer be present to show how much you appreciate them. If you received gifts off of your registry, you could even open the gift from them during the video chat.
6. Keep Guests Informed
As your new plans come together, keep your guests informed on the changes. Whether the wedding was postponed or if your plans were canceled, it’s worth finding a good way to keep them updated. If you are postponing your entire wedding or just the reception, it’s a great idea to send out postponement cards. We also suggest updating your wedding website and calling or emailing guests. If you don’t already have a wedding website, consider making one so that you can have a dedicated online platform to post all updates. Your guests will appreciate this so they don’t have to search through social media posts for information.
Keep in mind that during this uncertain time, uninvited guests will absolutely understand your change of plans. It’s important to be honest and tell these guests something like: “We had looked forward to celebrating our day with you, but unfortunately, the pandemic has forced us to make some difficult and unavoidable changes to our wedding day. We will no longer be able to host the big bash we had envisioned, and will instead be having a more intimate celebration with only our immediate families and wedding party.”
7. In the End, All That Matters is the “I Do”
This has been such a stressful time, but if you and your partner can get through a pandemic and quarantine- you can get through anything! Our most important tip is that you two remember your wedding day is about your relationship and your love. If you are canceling your big wedding and having a smaller wedding instead, still find ways to use your favorite wedding must-haves. If you are postponing, we still encourage you to do something special on your original wedding date such as a mini wedding cake or dress up and do an engagement session!
We know the last thing an engaged couple wants is to delay their wedding or let go of their dream wedding vision. It’s okay to have the wedding blues, and be a little sad about having to change your plans. But don’t let the Plan A vision keep you from enjoying Plan B!