Complete Wedding Planning Guide During COVID 19
By Rina Chandarana, Zardozi Magazine
You might have been dreaming about your big day since you were a little girl, but the last several months have thrown off so many of those carefully thought-out plans. Now with the temperatures cooling off and socially distanced indoor gatherings becoming even smaller and tougher to navigate, many are still choosing to celebrate and get married. Safety is an utmost priority, so every step of planning should consider what is best for you and your family and friends.
We recommend hiring a wedding planner. With the myriad of changes involved in planning a Covid-era wedding, you need someone who is on top of all the changes and can ensure your guests are following the social distancing requirements and are at their safest. Even though you may not be able to have your big dream wedding, or perhaps even your smaller dream wedding, there are still a few wonderful ways to celebrate your happily-ever-after with these helpful Covid-19 wedding ideas and suggestions.
Name Your Price
Last year, the average wedding in the United States cost around $33,900! Covid has certainly shifted the size of allowed gatherings. Guest count is a significant factor to consider in your wedding budget. Setting a budget is important, probably the most prominent aspect to consider when wedding planning. Here are a few questions to help you identify what your budget for a Covid wedding could include:
- Who is financially contributing and how much?
- What are the top three priorities for both the bride and groom?
- How does Covid-19 impact a reception tradition?
Let’s dig into that last one a little more. Cutting the cake in front of a big crowd is an expected reception tradition (pre-Covid, that is). But what about individually portioned desserts brought to tables by servers, or even little boxes of delectable treats already set at the table?
Here are some other ways to maximize your wedding budget during the pandemic:
Rings might be pricey, but the reception venue is one of the most expensive costs when wedding planning. Now, weddings are generally smaller to follow CDC and local health department guidelines. Knowing the local restrictions helps you decide if you should postpone, cancel or reduce the number of attendees at your wedding, which will help you narrow down your venue choices. Finding a smaller space with enough room for social distancing leaves brides with some budget-friendly options. Here are a few other favorites: barns, art galleries and the beach (outside events are ideal).
Yet another costly chunk of your wedding budget, hiring a photographer or videographer doesn’t have to be so expensive with a Covid-era wedding. There are some less expensive, yet fun and crowd-pleasing ways to capture your big day without spending a whole lot of money. Everyone has a decent camera these days built right into their phones, so instead of having one photographer, you have actually got many! Ask guests to share your wedding day snaps and videos on Instagram using a hashtag you provide. Or ask them to upload their pix and videos to an album onto their Facebook pages, tagging you. Go a little “old school” by placing a polaroid camera on each table or at an entrance table, and coax guests to capture candid moments. You’ll have a lot of perspectives and there may be a higher chance you’ll catch precious moments.
Once a decision on the type of wedding is made, there are a few considerations like the costs and of course the style. All those pretty floral arrangements can sure add up! Cut that cost by finding a reception venue with a garden, or just host your wedding outdoors, instead. Think outside the box. Consider zoos with gardens or book a botanical garden. Or how about one of the many greenhouses in the area? Parents have a green thumb? Transform their backyard into a wedding wonderland, even if it’s wintertime All you need are some space heaters or a tent – if the space allows – to create a warm, toasty and very cozy winter wedding. Pro tip: wedding venues are getting booked up well in advance, so thinking outside the box will give you far more options.
Unexpected financial surprises are not pleasant. Rules around deposits and even cancellation fees are changing all the time, so be sure to have a heart-to-heart with your vendor to get the fine details of the payment process. Nothing is certain when it comes to a pandemic, so better to get everything down on paper, in writing. This includes extra costs like the caterer, travel arrangements and even the valet. Make note of every single vendor’s cancellation plans and fees. The last thing you want is a vendor asking you for unexpected fee payments at your wedding.
Say Yes to the Dress
There are so many ways to find your perfect dress which don’t involve your traditional wedding dress shops. First, consider the type of wedding you are planning to have. There are a lot of ways to get married nowadays, from Zoom weddings, to going to the justice of the peace or an intimate gathering for 30 guests or so (depending on current recommendations). Zoom weddings don’t really require cute shoes, since no one can see your feet. If a justice of the peace wedding is just you and your groom, then you might set aside your wedding dress budget for a bigger bash at a later date. There are so many retail shops that make pretty wedding dresses now, too, so you can still look like a bride without too much of an expense. A lot of smaller brands are struggling right now. Instead of going to the big brands, do your research and find local boutiques that may have been hit harder by the pandemic to source your wedding dress.
It’s tough not knowing what’s going to happen next month… or even tomorrow. But with a little help from your team of wedding vendors, family and friends, you can still have a happily-ever-after pandemic-era marriage. Getting married during the Coronavirus outbreak doesn’t have to be all bad. Brides and grooms are getting super-creative to make sure they make it down the aisle – showing us that love really does conquer all!